Ask Dayton #120 on the G and T Show: “Dayton’s Ten Commandments of Writing.”

Three of these in as many weeks? GET OUT OF TOWN.

Tis true, folks! I’ve managed to answer a query for each of the past three episodes of the G and T Show for their irregularly recurring “Ask Dayton” feature. An actual question, answered like I semi sorta kinda maybe know what I’m doing.

(Psst. I don’t. Keep that to yourself.)

Hosts and friends Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros found a pretty good one waiting for them in the “Ask Dayton” mailbox this time around:

Dear Dayton 

As a, as Nick says, New York Times bestselling author, if you were to descend from the mount with stone tablets in hand, what would be your Ten Commandments for fandom/writing?


A Burning Bush (I really need an analgesic cream)

Shut. The. Front. Door.

A writing-related question two weeks in a row? Holy shitsnacks! Let’s not even waste a second of time and Nick’s voice with one of my usual longwinded ramp-ups before I finally get to the fucking point, and just get right on with it, amirite?


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October 23, 1983. Semper Fi.

In early 1983, the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit was deployed from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Beirut, Lebanon to take up post as part of the peacekeeping force originally inserted the previous year into the conflict raging there between Christian and Muslim factions.

On the morning of October 23, 1983, an explosives-laden truck driven by a suicide bomber destroyed the headquarters building of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, killing 241 Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers and wounding more than 100 others. Minutes later, a second truck drove into a barracks building housing French peacekeeping forces and detonated, killing 58 French paratroopers and wounding 15 others.

The bombing resulted in the highest single-day death toll for the Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, and the costliest day for U.S. military forces since the first day of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The harsh lessons imparted on that fateful Sunday morning in 1983 resonate today. They remain relevant even as American military personnel continue to stand in harm’s way around the world.

The following poem is cast in bronze at the official national Beirut Memorial near Camp Lejeune:


It does not stand in Washington
By others of its kind
In prominence and dignity
With mission clearly defined.

It does not list the men who died
That tyranny should cease
But speaks in silent eloquence
Of those who came in peace.

This Other Wall is solemn white
And cut in simple lines
And it nestles in the splendor
Of the Carolina pines.

And on this wall there are the names
Of men who once had gone
In friendship’s name offer aid
To Beirut, Lebanon

They did not go as conquerors
To bring a nation down
Or for honor or for glory
Or for praises or renown.

When they landed on that foreign shore
Their only thought in mind
Was the safety of its people
And the good of all mankind

Though they offered only friendship
And freedom’s holy breath
They were met with scorn and mockery
And violence and death.

So the story of their glory
Is not the battles fought
But of their love for freedom
Which was so dearly bought.

And their Wall shall stand forever
So long as freedom shines
On the splendor and the glory
Of the Carolina pines.

— Robert A. Gannon

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Cover blurb for Hearts and Minds, my next Star Trek: TNG novel!

Well, I guess “next” is something of a misnomer, as it’s actually the second of two Star Trek: The Next Generation novels I’ve got coming out in 2017. Given that we’ll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the TNG television series, I think that’s pretty dang cool, if I do say so myself.

(Wait…what? Thirty damned years? How the hell did that happen? Seems like just last month that I was sitting around in a barracks TV room, watching the premiere of “Encounter at Farpoint.”)


After Headlong Flight comes along in January, my next at bat for Pocket Books will be Hearts and Minds, which now has an official publication date of May 30th. What’s it about? Hey, I’m glad you asked:

An all-new adventure from the shadows of future history!

2031: United States Air Force fighter jets shoot down an unidentified spacecraft and take its crew into custody. Soon, it’s learned that the ship is one of several dispatched across space by an alien species, the Eizand, to search for a new home before their own world becomes uninhabitable. Fearing extraterrestrial invasion, government and military agencies which for more than eighty years have operated in secret swing into action, charged with protecting humanity no matter the cost…

2386: Continuing their exploration of the Odyssean Pass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise discover what they at first believe is a previously uncharted world, with a civilization still recovering from the effects of global nuclear war. An astonishing priority message from Starfleet Command warns that there’s more to this planet than meets the eye, and Picard soon realizes that the mysteries of this world may well weave through centuries of undisclosed human history…


As savvy readers may have already surmised, Hearts and Minds does indeed link to my earlier novels From History’s Shadow and Elusive Salvation. How thick are the tendrils connecting this story to those earlier tales? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Amazon, and Barnes and Noble are already showing pre-order links, or you could also pre-order it through your favorite local/independent bookseller. I’m rather fond of that latter option, myself.

So, have at it, yo! Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting here in the corner, muttering to myself and wondering how Star Trek: The Next Generation is already thirty years old.


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Coming soon: Star Trek – The Classic UK Comics, Volume 2!

It’s been not quite a year since IDW Publishing announced plans to collect and publish Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics. I vividly remember that day, as it was upon reading said announcement that all fluids simultaneously fled my body in a spectacular display I have yet to equal.

Or, something.

Anyway, what’s this all about? Back in the late 1960s, at the time the original series was on the air and the Gold Key Star Trek comics were being published, these rather unique strips were showing up in the pages of different magazines published in the United Kingdom. Never released here in the U.S., the strips represent yet another fascinating nugget all but forgotten Star Trek comics history. It took some serious effort over a lot of years, notably on the part of comics and Star Trek guru Rich Handley, to get these babies collected, along with someone with the will to make it all happen.

Enter IDW.

Seriously, read here to get a bit of scoop on the effort to get these collected. Then go to John Freeman’s blog to read even more.

The first volume of collected strips was released back in March, and the comics are as gloriously goofy and undeniably charming as advertised. They make the Gold Key comics look normal, yo.

And now? Volume 2 is almost upon us, due out in late November or early December:


If the first volume is any indication, this second collection will be equally awesome, and I can’t wait to add it to my collection. I mean, where else are you going to find stuff like this?

trekukcomics-sample01(Click to Biggie Size)

Yes, I know there’s a faction among uber-serious Trek fans who will not think highly of this rather stylized representation of Captain Kirk and the gang, but there’s no way I’m letting them dampen my fun. These quirky gems are gloriously goofy, and yet undeniably charming, just like the Gold Key comics and other odd bits of 1970s-era Star Trek merchandise.

Is it December yet?

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Ask Dayton #119 on the G and T Show: “Weather, or Not.”

Holy shit! Two weeks in a row!

That’s right, sports fans. For the second week in a row, the G and T Show had an “Ask Dayton” query for me. In the interests of full disclosure, they actually fed this to me a few weeks ago, but it along with last week’s question got stuck in my queue as my attention was focused on other writerly things. However, I was able to knuckle down and answer this latest entry, thereby giving show hosts and friends Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros, a chance to go to the bathroom during this break in their normal show shenanigans.

(That’s a lie, actually, since Nick is the one burdened with reading my answers on air.)

What did we have this time around? Check it out, yo:

Dear Dayton,

Considering all the talk of global climate change, I have to ask: As the seasons change and the weather becomes more extreme, do you find the weather or the seasons ever creeping into your writing (I am keeping in mind, of course, that many of your scenes take place on ship).

Bonus challenge: Please feature someone drinking a pumpkin spiced latte.

Thank you.

Hey! Wow. It’s a writing-related question! I’m guessing this person is new to the show, and has therefore not yet had his spirit broken and soul crushed. Well, let’s just see if we can’t accelerate that process a tad.


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It’s Jupiter 2 Launch Day!

October 16th, 1997:

“This is the beginning. This is the day. You are watching the unfolding of one of history’s greatest adventures–man’s colonization of space beyond the stars. The first of what may be as many as ten million families per year is setting out on its epic voyage into man’s newest frontier, deep space. Reaching out into other worlds from our desperately overcrowded planet, a series of deep thrust telescopic probes have conclusively established a planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri as the only one within range of our technology able to furnish ideal conditions for human existence.

Even now the family chosen for this incredible journey into space is preparing to take their final pre lift off physical tests. The Robinson family was selected from more than two million volunteers for its unique balance of scientific achievement, emotional stability, and pioneer resourcefulness. They will spend the next five and a half years of their voyage frozen in a state of suspended animation which will terminate automatically as the spacecraft enters the atmosphere of the new planet.”

Lost In Space, “The Reluctant Stowaway”


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It’s #BevCrusherDay over on Twitter!

Right on the heels of Columbus Day (or “Indigenous Peoples Day,” or “People Who Were Fucking Here First, Dickheads Day,” if you prefer) comes “#BevCrusherDay” on Twitter.

“What, pray tell, is #BevCrusherDay?” I can hear some of you mumbling to yourselves and each other.

Glad you asked.

As established in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Conundrum,” Dr. Beverly Crusher (née Howard), chief medical officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D (and E!) was born on October 13, 2324, in Copernicus City on Luna.

That’s “the Moon” for you non-nerds.

Therefore, Star Trek fans on the internet have seized the opportunity to celebrate their favorite character by calling attention to her via “#BevCrusherDay.”


It certainly doesn’t hurt that the actress who portrayed Doctor Crusher, Gates McFadden, has become something of a Twitter Trek celebrity in recent years, joining the ranks of Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton, and Sir Patrick Stewart. And hey, if Captain Picard can have his own day, why not the Dancing Doctor?

“Okay, Dayton,” I can hear someone wondering, “but why are you posting about it?”

Because a Star Trek fan asked me nicely, that’s why. See? I’m not such a curmudgeon, at least all the time. Also–and I admit that this is a bit self-serving on my part–seeing as I’m one of the word pushers helping to carry forward in novel form the story of Doctor Crusher and the rest of the Enterprise crew, I figured, “Why the heck not?”

Anyway, assuming you’re a Star Trek fan and a Beverly Crusher fan, here’s the deets on the whole thing:


Everybody got it?

(Of course, if you’re not a Star Trek fan or a Beverly Crusher fan, there’s not much I can do for you at this point. Here, watch some pandas.)

So, without any more yammering on my part, go forth and celebrate #BevCrusherDay!

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Bucs Blog! 2016 Season, Week 5.

A sloppy win is still a win. I’ll take it.


Bucs 17 – Panthers 14

What a weird game.

Upon hearing that Tampa controlled the first quarter of this contest, to the point that Carolina quarter back Derek Anderson didn’t even attempt a pass during those initial 15 minutes of game clock, you’d think the score would be ridiculous, right? Well, let me disabuse you of that notion right now. For all their ability to control the ball throughout the first half, the Bucs couldn’t close the deal when given the chance. After notching a field goal early in the game, finding the end zone became harder than hunting for Bigfoot, with both teams giving their punters plenty of opportunities to pad their stats. Add to that a missed field goal by Tampa kicker Roberto Aguayo (one of three air balls on the night, two of which the Bucs owned), and things were starting to get yawny early on.

On the other hand, one could choose to view this through differently colored lenses, and give proper dues and hat tips to the defensive units from both teams, who worked to frustrate and thwart scoring drives all night. The Bucs forced four turnovers that included picking off two Derek Anderson passes and recovering a pair of fumbles. Meanwhile, the Carolina defense managed to sack Tampa QB Jameis Winston twice, though neither Winston nor anyone else coughed up the ball.

For Winston, not throwing any interceptions was a nice improvement over the last couple of weeks, and he definitely showed poise during the game’s closing drive as he maneuvered the Bucs 66 yards inside the final two minutes to set up the game-winning score. Despite a mostly sluggish ground game (the Bucs only notched 113 rushing yards all night), owing to an offensive line that’s already endured injuries at multiple key positions, Winston went 18 completions on 30 pass attempts for 220 yards and a touchdown throw. I suspect he’s going to be in the film room this week and working with his coaches in the days to come, addressing some legit questions regarding his passing accuracy down the field. He’s definitely got the arm strength; he just needs to dial in his sights, because when he catches somebody like receiver Mike Evans in stride, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. We just need to see it more often, is all.

In the end, it all came down to Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo with just three seconds remaining in regulation and with Tampa and Carolina facing at 14-14 tie and possible overtime. Having just missed his second field goal of the night minutes earlier, Aguayo was given a chance to redeem himself in the game’s final seconds after Winston and the Bucs moved the ball to the Panthers’ 20-yard line. Tampa received a gift on that drive in the form of a facemask penalty against Carolina which tacked an extra 15 yards to the end of a somewhat broken running play, setting up Aguayo well within his striking distance. Shaking off the earlier miscues, Aguayo sent the ball through the uprights and the Panthers to the showers, giving his team a very badly needed win.

Sloppy, but I’ll take it.

The win moves the Bucs to 2-3 on the season and into second place in the NFC South, two games behind the Atlanta Falcons who gave the Denver Broncos their first loss of the year. New Orleans held steady for the week as they were on their bye, and the loss to Tampa drops Carolina to 1-4 and the division basement. Though Tampa only has the two wins (so far?), they’re at least against division rivals, which may end up coming into play later in the season once we start slicing and dicing playoff tie-breaker scenarios. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Next week, the Bucs are on their own bye so no game. They can take an extra couple of days to rest and celebrate their win before getting back to work and prepping to take on the beleaguered 49ers out in San Francisco. Given how both teams have been playing to this point, they might be better off just challenging each other to Battleshots, or something.

[Insert something pithy and pirate sounding here.]

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Ask Dayton #118 on the G and T Show: “Your Florida Side is Showing, petaQ!”

From out of the darkness it comes.

Yep. Been a bit since we last did one of these things, hasn’t it? If I’m being honest, this should’ve happened a few weeks ago, as I’ve had the question for this latest installment for a while. Work and other stuff kept getting in the way, and I must also confess that I forgot about it at least once. But we’re here now, ain’t we?

And so it was that this week’s episode of the G and T Show, the Star Trek-themed podcast hosted by friends Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros, was able to feature one of my rambling answers to the random, often off-kilter queries which come their way.

Hey, they started this.

Given how jam-packed their shows can be depending on the topic du jour, it’s nice when they can find time to fit me in. What was in the hopper this time around?

Dear Dayton,

I am a Klingon warrior stuck on this miserable rock you call Earth.

Well, I will be going to a place called Disney World this coming Halloween for something called…the Food and Wine Festival…where I’m hoping to find a decent mug of bloodwine and plate of gagh.

I’m also hoping to get in some epic hunting as my daughter tells me the location should be ripe for spearing some legendary creatures called PoQemon (or something like that).

As an author of travel guides, my family is hoping that you can give us some advice on what glories we should expect on this trip as well as the must do’s and do not’s plus foods and spirits that should be on every Klingon’s list.

What would you do on such an expedition? What glories do you recommend?

With honor,

— Mayq, House of Leng

P.S. We tried visiting Vulcan with your travel guide on the dashboard of the bird-of-prey, but found nothing more than a black hole in space. WTF?

I wonder if this is how Samantha Brown got her start.


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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: 2016 Edition now available!

snw2016No, it’s not one of my books, but I’m excited about it just the same.

Available starting today is the 2016 edition of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the anthology of short fiction written by new, “non-professional” writers. This, of course is opposed to “unprofessional” writers, such as the guy whose blatherings you’re currently reading.

Strange New Worlds, as many of you know, originated back in 1997, with a contest being held annually for ten years. Many new writers got their start thanks to this contest, and have gone on to successful writing careers in a variety of genres. I owe pretty much everything to that very first contest, way back when.

But, that’s old news. Now, we have a “next generation” (yes, I said it) of SNW writers! The winners of this latest contest were announced back in April, and the new anthology contains stories by this crop of fine folks:

Neil Bryant, “Dilithium Is a Girl’s Best Friend”
Gary Piserchio & Frank Tagader, “A Christmas Qarol”
Kelli Fitzpatrick, “The Sunwalkers”
Chris Chaplin, “The Seen and Unseen”
Michael Turner, “The Façade of Fate”
Nancy Debretsion, “The Manhunt Pool”
Derek Tyler Attico, “The Dreamer and the Dream”
Roger McCoy, “The Last Refuge”
John Coffren, “Life Among the Post-Industrial Barbarians”
Kristen McQuinn, “Upon the Brink of Remembrance”

Currently offered as a “digital first” title, this latest edition of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is available in several different e-Book formats. Don’t take my word for it; go and look for yourself:

Simon & Schuster – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2016

At this time, there’s been no announcement about any future contests. I suspect those who make such decisions are watching to see how this new installment is received. I’d love to see the contest return on an annual basis, so here’s hoping this first one does well. For now, congrats again to all the winners!

Posted in books, fandom, snw, trek, writing | 7 Comments