“Do you accept guest posts?”

Those of you who follow my Facebook updates may have seen me post something pithy last weekend.

“Um, Dayton? Wanna be a little more specific there, bro?”

Sure. Here’s what I’m talking about, posted this past Saturday:


Dear Unsolicited Wannabe Guest Blog Provider of Crap Having Nothing At All To Do With My Site,

I’ve spent a number of years cultivating a readership whose support and loyalty far surpasses its size. I’m rather protective of them. Kindly fuck off and get your own.

Signed,
Me


“Wow, Dayton,” I can hear some of you saying. “That’s pretty damned harsh.”

Yeah, I guess it is, but here’s the thing: Sure, the message is rather blunt, but the sentiment behind it is genuine, particularly when we’re talking about the sort of e-mail I get on this topic. For example:

 


Hello There!

I was conducting content research on [something not at all to do with anything I post about here] and I chanced upon your site daytonward.wordpress.com. I must appreciate that the content of your website is par excellence and exceptionally useful.

I am [redacted], an avid blogger for XX years, with special interests in [again, nothing at all to do with anything you’ll generally read about here]. Today I am a self-taught expert in the subject and over the years, have consistently contributed articles and blogs to top [topic specific] sites. My efforts have been well recognized and accepted in the [again, nothing to do with me] industry.

At this juncture, I am looking forward to attaching myself as a guest blogger to your site by contributing an article in your blogs/site. Rest assured that, this article will be highly informative and educative. While I am not looking at any monetary benefits, instead we could consider the possibility mentioning my site/resource once within the article.

Do let me know if this sounds good and works for you – I can provide you some of my previous work samples or I can initiate writing an article for daytonward.wordpress.com right away.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

[name redacted]

Sounds pretty cool, right?

implied-facepalm

Now, I have no reason to doubt this person is in fact all they say they are. That’s not really the issue. For me, it’s the rather bold assertion that my audience is somehow for sale to anyone I invite aboard to hock their wares.

I don’t know how other bloggers feel, but that sort of thing actually kinda sorta pisses me off.

This isn’t the first time I’ve received this sort of mailing, and while I did not respond to this latest solicitation in similar fashion, it still irked me. The simple fact is that people like this aren’t making these requests out of the goodness of their hearts. Of course not.

They’re hoping to promote some product or service, and they want to latch on to the readers of other sites and blogs to do it. They’re aiming to literally take over someone else’s platform to drive web traffic for their own gain, which I consider to be something of a dick move. And even though it wouldn’t have made a difference in these cases, they wanted to do it for free.

Well, fuck that.

I meant what I said up there. Some of you have been following my antics for years…in some cases the better part of two decades. You’ve been here as my so-called writing career has grown. You’ve bought my books, or read them via your library or because you received them as gifts. You’ve taken the time to tell me what you did and didn’t like about them, and you’ve told other people to give them a try.

All of that means a lot to me; more than I can say. The very idea of squandering any of that goodwill, even long enough to let some stranger try to throw you a sales pitch, doesn’t sit very well with me.

Now, that’s not to say I’m opposed to the idea of guest posting altogether. If a friend or professional colleague approached me about hosting a guest blog for them, I’d at least consider it. In those cases, it’s a safe bet that the other person and I have shared interests, or write similar types of stories, or whatever. It could even be another writer with whom I’m not acquainted but who’s trying to conduct a “blog tour” while promoting a book I think you might like. In these scenarios, I’d expect the other person do actually do their homework before approaching me, and be relatively confident that their proposed guest post would actually be of interest to you. Given those considerations, I’d at least entertain the idea and see where it goes. If that’s you, then drop me a line, and let’s talk.

But random people selling random stuff? No way.

Now, quit reading this and go buy all my stuff, all right? 😉

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Posted in friends, ramblings, spam | 3 Comments

You say you want to buy my books to give as presents? All righty, then!

KlingonSantaHoliday shopping is in full swing, and plenty of writerly and other creative folks are advertising their respective wares. I’ve gotten a few emails or other messages from people here and there, asking for suggestions about which of my books might make for good gift-giving and whatnot.

Setting aside my kneejerk initial answer (“Um, all of them? Get one of each, and make a nice gift basket.”), I’ve pondered this a bit over the last couple of days, and settled on a handful of titles I think might have broad(er) appeal to the Trekkie on your shopping list. Also? You’ll be helping me to do things like pay my mortgage and buy food to put in my kids’ faces. Everybody wins!

Here, have a look:

Continue reading

Posted in apes, books, insight editions, lists, predator, trek | Leave a comment

Some holiday reading ideas.

Ah, Christmas.

When I was a kid, that meant a slew of Christmas specials on TV. Charlie Brown, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the Grinch to name just a few folks who stared out from the family television all through the month of December. Nowadays, you can’t go a single day of the month without running into some channel airing something holiday related, and that’s without considering on-demand options or the really hard core folks who break out a Blu-ray, DVD, VHS or Beta tape, or LaserDisc.

(If you’ve got How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on LaserDisc, you are a holiday binge watching beast.)

Know what else is good to do this time of year? Curl up with a good book. Make it a holiday-themed book if you really want to be so sweet that you break out in spontaneous diabetes.

Granted, most of the options on this list I’m about to roll out are aimed at children, but so what? Unless you’re just utterly dead inside, you’ve still got a little bit of kid hunkering down within you, so why not feed that little tyke a little with some smooth, seasonal words of joy and celebration….well, most of the time, anyway (see below). For example:

CharlieBrownChristmasA Charlie Brown Christmas – An adaptation of the classic special shown every year since 1965. There are actually several different adaptations running around out there, so finding one is pretty easy. You could do worse than to add a copy to your bookshelf. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown!”

PolarExpress

The Polar Express – The movie might’ve been disappointing for some folks, but Chris Van Allsburg’s original storybook – for which he provided the gorgeous cover and interior art – remains an annual tradition for children and adults alike.

WishForWingsA Wish for Wings That Work – I’ve been a fan of Berke Breathed’s Bloom County (and, later, Outland) since the jump. I still have a stuffed Opus and Bill the Cat in my home office, and I breathlessly await word of a reunion tour for Billy and the Boingers. Since I was already buying the collections of Bloom County strips at the time, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d add this to my library, too. Opus just wants to fly. Is that so much to ask? But, it is Christmas…the season of miracles….

ShootingAtTheStarsShooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 – Author/illustrator John Hendrix takes his cue from real stories from the first Christmas celebrated on the Western Front during the First World War. I discovered this book at the gift shop while volunteering at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and decided to add it to my growing collection of WWI titles.

KlingonKhristmasA Very Klingon Khristmas – Written by Paul Ruditis and lavishly illustrated by Patrick Faricy, how this wonderful tome isn’t offered in stores every year alongside other perennial favorites remains a mystery to me.

GrinchHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! – It’s just not Christmas without Dr. Seuss’ classic tale. The mean one, Mr. Grinch, turned 60 this year, after a version of the story first appeared in an issue of Redbook Magazine in October 1957. Most of us have seen the animated special that’s aired every year since 1966. The story’s been adapted for film, the stage, and audio dramatization, but how many of you have a copy of the original story on your shelf?

DieHardXmasA Die Hard Christmas – The most recent entry on this list, and one destined to become an instant classic, worthy of its place on the bookshelf alongside other iconic favorite yuletide tales. You already know how I feel about Die Hard being regarded as a Christmas movie, so you have to know that I had a copy of this bad boy the day it dropped. Yippee Kai Yay, Mr. Kringle!

 

And there you have it: A short list to get you started. This list obviously isn’t meant to be inclusive or definitive, or a “best of” list, and neither did I “forget” anything. Feel free to chime in with your own suggestions in the comments. Go on. You know you wanna.

However you choose to observe or celebrate the season, I hope it’s a safe and happy occasion!

 

Posted in books, lists | 4 Comments

November writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsNovember come. November go.

It was a month of change on a couple of different fronts. The big item was my return to the world of day jobs and offices for which I must shave and wear pants, which began this past Monday. Though I’ve reactivated my personal rule against discussing such work in this space, I can say that it’s been a fun week as I settle into my new responsibilities. The work environment is interesting and very much lacking in stress, and I really like my co-workers. I’ve already had a chance to “flex my muscles,” so to speak, as they were standing by with my first writing assignment when I walked in the door. I’ve had to balance my learning the ropes with all the various paperwork and other stuff new employees have to endure, but I knew this first week would be like that. Next week will be more actual work stuff than administrivia (he says, hopefully).

“But, Dayton,” I can hear some of you saying. “What about the writing?”

Ah. That.

Things were somewhat quiet in November. Some pieces got moved around the board here and there, while I awaited word from different clients about projects in play. Here’s the monthly rundown:

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Posted in writing, writing wrap-up | 2 Comments

They told me to “Go Trek Yourself,” so I did!

DrasticMeasures-CoverHey! I’m babbling again.

This time, it’s with hosts J.K. Woodward and Darrell Taylor and their podcast Go Trek Yourself. Though the focus of the show is Star Trek: Discovery, with the show taking its winter break J.K. and Darrell are expanding their horizons a bit an reaching out to talk to other people with peripheral connections to the series. In their last episode, they interviewed my occasional partner in literary mischief, David Mack, and talked about his Discovery novel Desperate Hours.

Next up? Moi.

During this extended episode (which is a kind way of saying, “That Ward guy just. Won’t. Shut. Up.”), J.K. and Darrell ask me about my own forthcoming Disco novel, Drastic Measures, as well as my writing partnership with Kevin and our various collaborations. It’s a rollicking hour+plus of Trekkie goodness, including gushing on my part as I’m a big fan of J.K.’s comics artwork.

So, if you’ve got 75 or 80 minutes to kill, go and stick this in your ears:

Go Trek Yourself Episode 25: Dayton Ward

Many thanks to J.K. and Darrell for having me on to yammer for a bit. We’ve talked about a return engagement at some point, so I guess we’ll see what we see!

Posted in fandom, interviews, podcasts, q&a, trek, writing | 2 Comments

Bucs Blog! 2017 Season, Week 12.

Accompanied by a swift kick in the teeth, reality reasserts itself.

Bucs-logo-distress

Falcons 34 – Bucs 20

Yeah.

So, about that Tampa defense which had bringing its game the past couple of weeks? I think the rubber band broke, as the Bucs D coughed up 500+ yards in total offense for the Falcons. Half of those were pulled in by Atlanta receiver Julio Jones, who notched 253 yards on the day along with two touchdowns. To put that in perspective, eight different Bucs receivers together collected 283 yards, and none of them had at TD attached.

Ugh.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, for the third week in a row stepping in for Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, had a decent enough day, completing 27 of 44 passes for 274 yards. Each of Tampa’s two touchdowns came on short scampers from running back Peyton Barber, both highlights of an otherwise frustrating day.

The loss drops the Bucs to 4-7, deep in the cellar of the NFC South Division. Atlanta’s win moves them to 7-4, one game behind rivals New Orleans and Carolina. Is Tampa eliminated from playoff contention? Technically, no. That said, about half the teams in the NFC will need to disappear into the Bermuda Triangle or some other temporal anomaly or gateway to a parallel universe in order for the Bucs to have any real shot. I’m going to go out on a limb, here, and guess that oddsmakers in Vegas haven’t considered such scenarios.

Next up? The Bucs travel to Green Bay to take on their longtime rivals, the Packers. Way back in the Before Time, both teams along with Minnesota, Detroit, and Chicago made up the old NFC Central Division, and match-ups between the Bucs and Packers used to be called “the Bay of Pigs” by great ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman.

Ah, those were the days. At this point, I’m guessing we’ll be having another one of those games, next week.

Bucs life, though, right?

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Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

die-hard-posterIt’s only November 25th, but apparently we’re already getting on with the “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie” debate. It’s been “raging” on Twitter, with a few people on both sides getting more than a tad wrapped around the axle.

Damn it, I hate being late to these things.

Look, it’s really quite simple: Die Hard, that 1980s action classic, is indeed “a Christmas movie.” Hell yeah, it is. In fact, it’s quite possibly the best Christmas movie ever. Check it out:

Die Hard is more of a Christmas movie than other films that actually try to pass themselves off as Christmas movies. Heck…it’s even got its own official Christmas book, and everything! The film showcases many of the familiar “Christmas movie tropes” without much of the pretentious, saccharine goobledygook that I think of when I consider the typical “Christmas movie.”

The story is set on Christmas Eve, at a Christmas party and the film’s soundtrack is littered with Christmas-themed music, while Christmas decorations and other related paraphernalia and sentiment contribute to pushing the story forward. John McClane has arrived there, quelling personal feelings of hurt and betrayal in order to be with his family during what’s supposed to be this most festive of seasons.

RELATED:Twas A Die Hard Christmas,” December 18th, 2016

That reunion is spoiled by people seeking to ruin others’ holidays for their own selfish ends. Hans Gruber is Scrooge in an Armani suit and carrying military-grade bad tidings, promising Christmas miracles for himself and his merry band of grinches.

But it’s John McClane who’s the Christmas miracle, bringing the gift of freedom and goodwill toward men (and women). He even made a list of who was naughty before handing out presents, and proceeds to show the bad people that good will always, ultimately curb-stomp the shit out of evil. Finally, he casts aside his immature, selfish feelings toward his wife and rekindles their damaged romance.

And then Vaughn Monroe sings us out. Let it snow, yo.

Suck on that, George Bailey.

TL;DR = There are two kinds of people: Those who think Die Hard is the best Christmas movie ever, and those who are wrong.

😀


Now, this post is obviously meant in jest, but a casual glance at social media shows that there are people on both sides of this goofy debate who take it way too seriously, one way or the other. Lighten up, folks. It’s a damned movie.

Even if it is the best Christmas movie. 😀

DieHard-Hans-Christmas

Posted in jokes, movies, nerdity | Leave a comment

Back to the salt mines…sorta.

Most of you who read this blog with any regularity know that I’ve been working as a full-time freelance writer since leaving my corporate job in September 2014. Prior to that, any writing I did for novels, short stories, magazine articles or the web was done outside of that job, usually in the evenings or on weekends/holidays.

Though I’ve enjoyed the freedom afforded by the “freelancer lifestyle,” I’ve also come to realize that I do miss the structure of a “regular job” in an office, interacting and collaborating with other humans. For a while, now, I’ve been conducting quiet job searches, looking for something interesting enough that it could entice me to shave and wear pants on a daily basis.

Well, I found it. Beginning Monday, November 27th, I’m returning to an office environment, but not the realm of information technology/software development. Instead, I’ll be working as ………. wait for it ………. a writer!

This came about due to an opportunity crossing my path, which I found to be unlike pretty much everything else I’d seen on places like LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job sites. Instead, this one was quite simply too interesting to ignore. After applying and interviewing for the position, I knew that my initial gut reaction was right, and this presented a challenge I couldn’t pass up. Apparently, the folks on the other side of the table viewed things in similar fashion, as they offered me the job. 🙂

I’m genuinely excited by this (slight) change in direction, which will allow me to bring to bear what I consider to be a rather diverse set of skills and experience. In addition to the obvious one (um, writing?), editing, a bit of tech, and my military background will all be utilized, and my interests in military history and current affairs and even veterans issues may well come into play. I’ll also be getting some hands-on experience with graphic design and layout using products like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, which I confess are skills I’ve wanted to learn for a while, now.

In keeping with the self-imposed rule I had in place during my previous stint at a “regular job,” you’re not likely to see me posting or commenting about it or any related matters in this space or the other areas of my social media platform. Indeed, I’ve always refrained from even listing my current employer as part of my profiles, because I prefer to keep that part of my “world” separate from this.

You know……whatever the hell “this” is.

Here’s the rub: Because what I’ll be writing will be for publication, it’s possible – even likely – that a segment of my current readership will see my byline at some point. So, it’s not as though I’m looking to keep things “secret” or anything. Just know that if and when the subject comes up, any inquiries or comments about that work likely will be directed to the proper channels. For example, the people for whom I’m writing have their own social media presence. It remains to be seen if I’ll be contributing in any way to that, but for the moment I’m going with “No.” We shall see.

The main impact here will be that I likely won’t be posting as much during the weekdays. My new employers are aware of my fiction/genre writing and my social media activities, but that won’t give me license to frequent this space during the workday. Based on what I’ve been told to expect so far as my regular duties, my days will be more “sane” than what I used to deal with a few years ago. Though I expect the occasional bout of overtime as needed to keep schedules on track, I should still be left with plenty of brain cells, energy, and desire to continue slinging words in a fiction-like fashion.

And speaking of that? Worry not, as I’m definitely not giving that up. In addition to three projects for which I’ve delivered my manuscripts and I’m currently awaiting next steps, I’m under contract to write a novel for which my outline’s not yet been given the green light, and there are two other projects for which I’m currently awaiting contracts before I start digging in on them.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…..I need to go make sure I have pants to wear for Monday.

mad-writer

Posted in life, work, writing | 6 Comments

Your Moment of TrekZen*, Classic Thanksgiving Edition.

We shall all sing songs of the Great Turkey Leg, on our way to the Stove O’ Kor.

Klingon Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here’s hoping you enjoy a restful holiday in the company of family and friends. For those unable to do so – service members, cops, fire fighters, EMT’s and lots of other fine people answering a higher calling which precludes them from taking the day off – we thank you for your service and wish you a safe return home.

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

Posted in jokes, trek, TrekZen | 1 Comment

Bucs Blog! 2017 Season, Week 11.

Well, if delaying a game ten weeks means you stand a better chance of winning it, then I say do that for all of Tampa’s games.

bucs-2014-logo

Bucs 30 – Dolphins 20

This intrastate matchup was supposed to happen way back during Week 1 of the season, but Hurricane Irma saw to it that Florida residents had far greater concerns than a silly football game that weekend. As both teams originally were scheduled for a bye during Week 11, it provided an opening to reschedule the game.

And so it went yesterday.

Like last week, the Bucs were able to win in somewhat haphazard fashion. Unlike last week, the at times seemed incapable of getting out of their own way while allowing the Dolphins to linger despite Miami’s own error and penalty-riddled performance. They came within spitting distance of letting the game get away from them, leading just 23-20 with 4 seconds remaining in regulation after a Tampa field goal.

Weird things have been known to happen to the Bucs during the waning moments of many a game, so you’ll forgive me for not quite believing they had this one locked up until that last whistle blows. The kickoff to the Dolphins turned into one of those crazy, desperate lateral-fests until Miami’s Jakeem Grant fumbled the ball at the 3-yard line. Tampa’s Adarius Glanton recovered it in the Dolphin’s end zone, earning him a touchdown and sealing the deal for the Bucs.

And that’s when I decided the game was over.

Speaking of heads-up defense, the Bucs D was on it, yesterday. They picked off Miami quarterback Jay Cutler three times, to the point that Cutler was pulled in favor of backup Matt Moore. However, they did allow the Dolphins to hang around way, way too long, given the pressure they were able to bring. Meanwhile, the Bucs offense, once more guided by #2 QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, sputtered and stalled several times while still managing to put 23 points on the board. Hey, it was enough to win. I’ll take it.

The win improves Tampa’s record to 4-6 on the year. Unfortunately, both New Orleans and Atlanta also won, so the Bucs don’t move up anywhere in the NFC South Division standings. Carolina was on its own bye week, but they’re still three games ahead of Tampa, with six games to go this season.

Next up? The Bucs travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. A win against a division rival is….what do they call it at this juncture? Yeah, “critical.” Even then, unless the Saints, Panthers, and Falcons all get lost heading to their next few games, I don’t see the Bucs going to the playoffs unless they get on the phone to StubHub.

Bucs life, yo.

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