Trek’s 50th in Famous Monsters #286, and guess who?

:: Reviews Bucket List ::

:: Crosses out “Write for Famous Monsters magazine” ::

Awwwwwww, yeah.

When I was as kid, Famous Monsters of Filmland along with other classic magazines like Starlog, Fangoria, and Fantastic Films was where fans got all the coolest, happening news in the world of SF, fantasy, and horror film and TV. They along with other classic titles like Heavy Metal and Playboy Cinefantastique are an indelible part of my youth, and the idea of ever getting to write for such renowned publications is something that’s definitely teased me on occasion over the years.

Though it went dormant for awhile, FMoF has been back on the scene for the past several years, continuing to do what it did in such awesome fashion all those years ago. This summer, the magazine will tip its hat to Star Trek in honor of the original series’ 50th anniversary.

In addition to new interviews with John Cho (Sulu in the new Trek films) and a look at the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, Rod Roddenberry (son of the man who started this whole train a’rollin’ and an executive producer of the new Trek series coming in 2017), and Nichelle Nichols (the original Lieutenant Uhura herself), FMoF #286 will also feature a variety of tribute pieces, including three by Yours Truly and my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore. And, the whole chimichanga gets wrapped up in some truly gorgeous cover art by Rob Prior. Check it, y’all:

FamousMonsters286-Cover(Click to Biggie Size!)

I mean, daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayummm.

Get all the deets here: Famous Monsters #286 Preview

The new issue will be available in print and digital format beginning on June 7th, which just happens to be my birthday, so…you know: Go, me.

Many, many thanks to editor David Weiner for inviting us into the Famous Monsters sandbox to play for a bit. It was tremendous fun.

Meanwhile, I’m still gunning for Heavy Metal and Playboy Cinefantastique, yo.

Posted in fandom, nerdity, trek, writing | Leave a comment

2016 Edition! Marvel Movie Tip: Stay for the credits, yo.

All right, movie peeps! It’s almost time to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Now, after all these years, you’d think some of the basic protocols would be all but engrained into our collective consciousness, but we all know someone who’s going to drop the ball on this. Because of that, it’s a warning we need to repeat often:

“Stay through the credits.”

We last visited this topic when Ant-Man was hitting screens last year, so we’re definitely due for a look at the updated picture. Since 2008, we’ve been treated to:

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Avengers: Age of Ultron*
(yes, not an official MCU film but still here because fucking Deadpool, people)

And tomorrow (tonight, if you’re lucky enough to hit one of those early screenings), we get to add Captain America: Civil War to the list. After that, we’ll only have to wait six months for Doctor Strange, and this time next year we’ll all be jamming to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

What’s the one rule that applies for each of these movies? Say it with me:

“Stay for the credits.”

(* = Age of Ultron actually does not have a credits/post-credits scene)

And yet, you just know we’ll have people, following screenings of tonight’s Civil War early premiere, getting up and leaving as the credits roll, even though there’s not one but two–count ’em…two–scenes: One during the credits, and one just after.


Forgive them, Stan Lee, for they know not what they do.


You stay for the credits, people.


Friends don’t let friends leave a Marvel movie early.

If you’re catching these flicks for the first time at home with disc or digital download, then you fast forward if you have to, but the rule is the same: “Stay for the credits.”

With that in mind, I’ve instituted a checklist of tips to help Marvel moviegoers avoid missing out on the important stuff lurking in and around a given film’s end credits. Consider this a public service, movie nerds:

1. You stay for the credits.

2. You stay after the credits.

3. You stay until the lights come up.

4. You stay until they start the slide show between screenings, and you make sure you sit through the entire slide reel at least once.

5. And look on the back of your ticket and the underside of your popcorn. Just in case. (via Bernie Kopsho on Facebook)

6. Then run across the hall and sit through the credits of the non-Marvel movie. LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE.

7. Then run outside and look for skywriting, because who knows? (via Bernie)


In summation: “Stay for the credits.”


Okay, now we’re done. You can go home now.

Posted in fandom, movies, nerdity | Leave a comment

Take a peek inside my Vulcan Travel Guide!

VulcanTravelGuide-CoverWell, it seems has been busy.

Yesterday, they published an exclusive first look inside my forthcoming Star Trek book Hidden Universe: Star Trek – A Travel Guide to Vulcan, complete with some examples of the book’s interior text and art. I had no idea this was in the offing, so it was a pleasant surprise this morning to see some folks posting and talking about it on Facebook.

I’m very pleased with how the book turned out, bolstered as it is by the artistic awesomeness of Peter Markowski and Livio Ramondelli. You’ll see breathtaking vistas, maps, and lots of smaller pieces accompanying various bits of text. There are also a few drawings deliberately designed to evoke public service announcements that gave me a chuckle, and at least one logo for a local establishment that made me laugh out loud. Hard.

Check out’s inside look here: Inside A Travel Guide to Vulcan

As I’ve mentioned before, the book is intended to be very casual and “conversational” in its presentation, just as a real-world travel guide would be. I drew on several sources (along with just making up a bunch of stuff), so hardcore fans can expect to find any number of references, subtle nods, and Easter eggs from the Star Trek series, films, novels, role-playing games, and so on.

Hidden Universe: Star Trek – A Travel Guide to Vulcan will be published by Insight Editions on July 19th. For those you attending the Shore Leave convention the weekend prior, we are endeavoring to have copies on hand. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be a proper starving freelance writer if I didn’t pester you about possibly pre-ordering the thing. Feel free to visit your preferred indie bookseller to make such a request, but if that’s not an option, here are a couple of handy-dandy links:

Amazon.comBarnes & Noble – Books-A-Million

So, what are you doing for your summer vacation?

Posted in books, nerdity, trek, writing | 1 Comment

24: Trial By Fire…the cover!


Just in time for the weekend, all minty fresh from my publisher this very morning and still marinating in that new car smell, we have the final, approved cover for Trial By Fire, my forthcoming 24 novel. Behold, yo:

24-TrialByFire-FrontCover(Click to Biggie Size)

For those who may have missed this little bit of news: Unlike Tor’s previous two 24 novels (Deadline by James Swallow and Rogue by David Mack), which were set between the events of the TV series’ 8th season and the Live Another Day mini-series, Trial By Fire is a prequel, set several  years before the show’s first season.

And because my publisher is just that awesome, I can also offer a peek at the back cover, which has the complete cover copy, rather than the truncated version that has made it to sites like Amazon, etc. Check it out:

24-TrialByFire-BackCover.jpg(Again, click to enlarge)

As you surely know by now, Trial By Fire is available for pre-order at all the cool bookstores. I prefer you frequent and support your local indie bookseller (I’m rather fond of Reader’s World in Lee’s Summit, MO, myself), but if that’s not an option, here are some pre-order links:
Barnes & Noble

Trial By Fire will be comin’ at ya on or about Tuesday, August 23rd, and hey! Did you hear there’s going to be a new 24 TV series?

Clock’s ticking, y’all!

Posted in 24, books, writing | 2 Comments

Boogers are logical…and profitable.

spock-faceI can’t be entirely certain, of course, but it’s very possible that I committed a Star Trek first, by having Mr. Spock utter the word “booger.”

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “Um, Ward? We’re gonna need a little more info, some proper context, and perhaps the phone number for your pharmacist.”

Okay, so here’s the deal: Last June, while I was in the midst of writing Elusive Salvation, Neil Shurley, one of the many people I’ve befriended thanks to the wonder that is social media, issued a challenge. Well, that’s a polite way of saying he called me out, in front of Twitter and everybody. To wit:


Well, what the hell was I supposed to do with that? I couldn’t very well walk away from something like this, right? Not in front of all those Twitterers. I had to answer this call, somehow. The trick was to find a way for Spock to be able to use the word in a context that was appropriate for his character and–honestly–Star Trek as a whole. I wasn’t writing a parody, after all; this was an officially sanctioned novel, with blessings and whatnot from CBS and Pocket Books. They weren’t going to let me get away with doing something silly just for the sake of being silly.

On the other hand, the story I was writing did call for Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock to journey to 20th century Earth, so perhaps there was some wiggle room in the Silly Department. I just needed to find the perfect way to pull all of this together.

Thankfully, there was Booger Hollow, Arkansas.

A one-time tourist stop, the town of Booger Hollow, AR is an all but forgotten entry in the annals of American roadside attractions. I visited the town back in the early 1980s, and the name has stuck in my head since that time. Don’t ask me why; my brain just works weird.

Skip ahead to this past Tuesday: Elusive Salvation is released, and Neil is one of several people who have acquired a copy of the book. It didn’t take long for him to reach out to me on social media, as something within the book’s pages had caught his eye:



Challenge. Accepted.

Mission. Accomplished.

All that remained was to collect my earnings. Neil made good on his part of the deal, and you can read his take on this little bit of unhinged nerdity over on his own blog.

I’m pretty sure this is not what the social media experts had in mind when they coach us about “building our author platform.” On the other hand, I got paid to make Mr. Spock say “Booger,” so whatevs.

If it ends up that I am indeed the first person to achieve this feat, rest assured I will do everything in my power to ensure this little factoid is included in whatever obituary someone eventually writes about me.

For my next trick? Adapting the original “Spock’s Brain” script for a new story, “Spock’s Booger.”

Posted in friends, jokes, nerdity, trek, writing | 5 Comments

Elusive Salvation

ElusiveSalvation-coverStar Trek: The Original Series

The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash-land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost.

San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction.

New York, 1970: Roberta Lincoln, young protégé of the mysterious agent Gary Seven, is shocked when she receives the oddest request for help—from the future….

An all-new adventure from history’s shadow!

Mass-Market Paperback or Kindle e-Book from
Mass-Market Paperback or Nook e-Book from Barnes & Noble
Mass-Market Paperback or ePub format e-Book from Books-A-Million

As the tagline implies, Elusive Salvation is a semi-sorta sequel to my Star Trek novel from 2013, From History’s Shadow. I had a lot of fun writing the first book, and it seemed that most folks liked it. Though I hadn’t intended to revisit any of the characters or storylines I set up in the earlier book, an opportunity to do just that arose, so I decided to go for it. I tried to write it so it could largely stand on it own, so while you’ll get more out of this book if you read the first novel, I don’t know that I’d call it “essential” to the enjoyment of this one. Mileage may vary, of course.

Will there be a third trek into the shadows of history? One never knows for certain, but I will say this much: While I didn’t write the first book with an eye toward sequels, if you get to the last page of this one and you don’t want Book 3? I haven’t done my job. All I’m sayin’.

In addition to providing a permanent home for links to find and order the book, this 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 | 1 Comment

Vulcan Travel Guide – the final cover!

Unless there’s been a massive derailing somewhere in the production pipeline, my forthcoming book Hidden Universe – Star Trek: A Travel Guide to Vulcan is now at the printers, barreling merrily along toward its impending July 19th publication date.

Can I get a “Woo,” and maybe even a “Hoo?”

FYI, that’s a change from the previous pub date. The book was supposed to drop on July 26th, so BOOM! Week early.

Don’t thank me. I had nothing to do with it.

Anyway, as for the book itself, I knew all along that the cover I laid on you all a while back was a placeholder, but it seems that the final version is now available. What? You say you don’t want to go digging through the dark corners of the webz looking for it? Well, here…allow me:

VulcanTravelGuide-Cover(Click to Biggie Size)

Not too shabby, amirite? This comes to us from the skilled hand of artist Peter Markowski, who along with Livio Ramondelli provided the truly gorgeous art that litters the book from cover to cover. I can’t wait to share more of it with you and give these two guys their proper due, because dayuuuuuuuuuuum.

For those of you who haven’t yet taken advantage of the pre-order pricing and whatnot so that you can be the first kids on your block to have their hot hands on this particular tome, allow me to be shameless for a minute and drop a few links on ya:
Barnes & Noble

You definitely want to order you copy now, so you’ll be sure you don’t miss out once we hit peak vacation travel season. Just sayin’.

Posted in books, nerdity, trek, writing | 2 Comments

24: Trial By Fire…it’s almost a really real book!

We’re getting close, folks.

Today’s mail brought with it a box from my editor at Tor. What was inside? Why, this little gem:


What do we have here? For those unfamiliar with “advance uncorrected proofs,” they’re an “almost final” version of a book that’s sort of a dress rehearsal. They’re a bound copy of the same typeset pages that are sent to the author for one last chance at catching any little errors which have managed to survive the different legs of the editing process. Not intended for sale, these are usually sent to reviewers for magazines, newspapers, websites, and so on.

Meanwhile, the author is hoping to find those aforementioned lingering whatevers that need correcting, before the book heads off to the printers.

Last week, I sent in a set of such corrections to my editor, so my part so far as the writing of the book is now officially, finally done. The next time I see 24: Trial By Fire will be as A) a box of author copies showing up on my doorstep, or B) I happen across it at my favorite bookstore, whichever comes first. Both of those things will be happening on or about August 23rd, depending on which way the wind blows.

As for these, well….I have ten of them. Nine, actually, as I promised one to my sister, who’s only slightly less of a 24 nerd than I am. I can’t sell them, so I need to give some thought as to what I might do with them.

Stay tuned:)

Posted in 24, books, writing | Leave a comment

Novel Spaces – “Passing the Baton…After A Fashion”

writerIt’s the 17th again, which means it’s my turn in the spotlight over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This month was greeted by the announcement of winners for an all-new rebooted version of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest, which gave me my writing start…a whole lotta years ago. I’ve always been a big cheerleader for the contest and even a bit protective of it over the years, so it was great to see writers and fans given a new chance to submit their Star Trek stories in the hopes having them published.

I also admit to feeling a little…old?

That didn’t stop me from celebrating the contest’s ten latest winners, but it also gave me cause to ruminate just a tad:

Novel Spaces – “Passing the Baton…After A Fashion”

Congratulations again to all the winners. Here’s hoping it’s just the first of many more sales!

My Novel Spaces archive.

Posted in guest blogging, novel spaces, writing | Leave a comment

2016 Scribe Awards nominees announced, and…HEY!

iamtwIt’s that time of year, again!

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) has announced their nominees for this year’s Scribe Awards. I’m very happy to see listed among the nominees several people I’m proud to call friends and colleagues, but I’m equally excited for…well…you’ll just have to read the list, I guess!

The IAMTW has formatted a proper press release and everything, so I’m just going to post that here:


The Tenth Annual Scribe Awards

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is pleased to announce the Scribe Award Nominees for 2016.

Acknowledging excellence in this very competitive field, IAMTW’s Scribe Awards honor licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in other formats and cross all genres. Tie-in works run the gamut from westerns to mysteries to procedurals, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, from action and adventure to superheroes. HALO, Elementary24, Star Trek, Mike Hammer,  Star Wars, ShadowrunDoctor Who…these represent just a few.

The Scribe Award winners will be announced at ComicCon San Diego in July. The exact day, time and location of the Scribes Panel including the award ceremony will be announced shortly.

IAMTW thanks everyone who sent all the wonderful entries for consideration. Congratulations to the following nominees:

Elementary: The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher
Kill Me, Darling by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan: Desert Falcons by Michael A. Black
24: Rogue by David Mack

armageddons-arrow-coverBEST ORIGINAL NOVEL – SPECULATIVE
Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
HALO: Last Light by Troy Denning
HALO: New Blood by Matt Forbeck
Pathfinder: Forge of Ashes by Josh Vogt
Shadowrun: Borrowed Time by R.L. King
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward
Star Trek: Seekers #3: Long Shot by David Mack


Backcountry by D.E. McDonald
Batman: Arkham Knight by Marv Wolfman
Crimson Peak by Nancy Holder
MANOS – The Hands of Fate by Stephen D. Sullivan
Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Mike Hammer: “Fallout” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Shadowrun: “Swamp of Spirits” by Jason Hardy
The X-Files: “Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless” by Keith R.A. DeCandido
The X-Files: “Dusk” by Paul Crilley
The X-Files: “Non Gratum Anus Rodentum” by Brian Keene
The X-Files: “Statues” by Kevin J. Anderson

  • “Fallout” first appeared in The Strand Magazine
  • “Swamp of Spirits” first appeared in Shadowrun: World of Shadows
  • All four X-Files stories first appeared in The X-Files: Trust No One

Dark Shadows: Bloodlust by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells and Joseph Lidste
Dark Shadows: In the Twinkling of An Eye by Penelope Faith
Doctor Who: The Red Lady by John Dorney
Doctor Who: Damaged Goods by Jonathan Morris, adapted from a novel by Russell T. Davies
Pathfinder Legends: Mummy’s Mask: “Empty Gravesby Cavan Scott, adapted from a story Crystal Frasier


Congratulations to all of the nominees, and to the judges for each category who had to read through all the submissions to arrive at a final list and determine winners in each category. Good luck to everyone!

Posted in awards, books, friends, iamtw, writing | 1 Comment