The first AVAILABLE LIGHT interview!

So, yeah. I’m babbling again. It happens, every so often.

AvailableLight-coverThe last time writer Paul Semel caught up with me, it was back in early 2018 for an interview about my Star Trek: Discovery novel, Drastic Measures. With the release of Available Light earlier in this week, Paul found me again for a fresh set of questions about the book as well as its development, collaborating with my editors and other Star Trek novel writers like my occasional partner in literary mischief, David Mack, and a few other lines of inquiry designed to keep me on my toes. 🙂

Paul has published my latest yammering responses to his questions, and the complete interview is now available for your perusal. Check it out:

PaulSemel.com: Exclusive Interview – Star Trek: The Next Generation – Available Light Author Dayton Ward

Thanks very much to Paul for the invitation to chat!

2019 Scribe Award Nominees announced!

iamtwThe International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) has announced their nominees for this year’s Scribe Awards. Among the nominees are several people I’m proud to call friends and colleagues, or just sources of inspiration and admiration. Some of the names listed are people whose work I’ve been reading for years. Read on for the official announcement and complete list of nominees!

Continue reading “2019 Scribe Award Nominees announced!”

April 9th, 1959: The Mercury Seven.

Ladies and gentlemen: Today we are introducing to you and to the world these seven men who have been selected to begin training for orbital space flight.

These men, the nation’s Project Mercury astronauts, are here after a long and perhaps unprecedented series of evaluations which told our medical consultants and scientists of their superb adaptability to their coming flight.”

April 9th, 1959 – 60 years ago today: America officially gets into the space race with Project Mercury.

Mercury7

(L-R: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom,
Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton)

They were to be America’s first guides to the stars. The right stuff, indeed.

Available Light

AvailableLight-coverStar Trek: The Next Generation

Section 31, the covert organization which has operated without accountability in the shadows for more than two centuries, has been exposed. Throughout the Federation, the rogue group’s agents and leaders are being taken into custody as the sheer scope of its misdeeds comes to light. Now Starfleet Command must decide the consequences for numerous officers caught up in the scandal—including Admirals William Ross, Edward Jellico, Alynna Nechayev, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, along with many others, are implicated in the forced removal of a Federation president.

Meanwhile, deep in the distant, unexplored region of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must put aside personal feelings and political concerns as they investigate a massive mysterious spacecraft. Adrift for centuries in the void, the ship is vital to the survival of an endangered civilization which has spent generations searching for a world to sustain what remains of its people. Complicating matters is a band of marauders who have their own designs on the ancient ship, with only the Enterprise standing in their way…


Welcome back to the 24th century! It’s been a long road, getting from there–

“SHUT UP, DAYTON!”

:: ahem ::

Sorry.

After an extended hiatus thanks to forces beyond the control of mere mortals, Simon & Schuster is ramping up its publication of Star Trek novels, continuing an effort they’ve shepherded since 1979 and the release of their novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Since then and even with the occasional bump in the road, S&S through imprints such as Pocket Books, Wallaby Books, and now Gallery Books has continued to publish Star Trek novels, short story collections, and a broad spectrum of reference books and other cool things.

I’ve been privileged to contribute to that effort for what is fast approaching 20 years, either working solo or in partnership with my bud and frequent co-writer, Kevin Dilmore, and often collaborating with other writers and editors to varying degrees depending on the needs of a particular project. Available Light is my 21st Star Trek novel and 26th novel overall, with about half of those written with Kevin. Then there are the novellas, short stories, magazine articles, and funky things like the Vulcan and Klingon Empire travel guides. Yes, Star Trek has been pretty good to me these past two decades and in some ways, I feel in some ways like I’m really just getting warmed up. I think I may be able to keep doing this for a while longer.

Anyway…..

So, for those wondering, Available Light picks up the ongoing Star Trek: The Next Generation post-film/novel-focused narrative a bunch of us have been spinning for a good number of years now. More specifically, it picks up the action after we left you hanging back in the summer of 2017 with David Mack‘s Section 31: Control and my own Hearts and Minds. Dave dropped a big bomb right into the middle of our breakfast table with Control, and the effects will quickly start to become apparent first with this book, and then Collateral Damage, Dave’s own ST:TNG novel coming later this year.

And, we’ve had conversations about what happens after that. Mwuah-ah-ah.

Available Light is now available at bookstores everywhere, in trade paperback, e-Book, and both digital and CD audiobook editions. 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. If that sort of thing isn’t feasible for whatever reason, then of course we have other options:

Simon & Schuster
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
IndieBound

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 SPOILERS ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.

Happy First Contact Day, Trekkies!

April 5th, 2063: We’re only 44 years from this most excellent of events, yo.

While we wait, we continue to look to the future with hope and excitement. After all, we know that this monumental meeting between humanity and intelligent beings from a world beyond our own will usher in a new era of peace, optimism, prosperity and collaborative spirit as the people of Earth take their first tentative steps into a larger universe.

first-contact

So, grab yourself the first Vulcan (or other non-terrestrial biological entity) you meet, wriggle to the left, wriggle to the right, and do the Ooby Dooby with all of your might. Let’s get this party started, all while living long and prospering in forthright, logical fashion, of course.

Today is National Film Score Day!

Who knew?

Not me. At least, not until I read about it thanks to one of my Facebook friends. As odd days of observance go, this one isn’t too shabby at all.

What are we talking about? According to the National Day Calendar website, National Film Score Day “recognizes the musical masterpieces called “Film Scores” and, more specifically, the very talented composers who create them.”

Sweet!

Though it’s been a while since I’ve written on the subject, those of you who spend any time here likely know that I’m a huge fan of film and TV music and love listening to it apart from the production for which it was created. It’s also my habit to listen to such music when I’m writing, as it always helps to set the “right mood” for the project-in-progress.

A well-crafted film score is a thing of beauty. The first album I ever bought with my own money was the vinyl 2-record LP score for the original Star Wars in 1977.

Since then, my library has continued to grow not just with music from newer film television and productions but also “expanded” or “complete” editions of scores from days gone by which were only made available in truncated form due to the limitations of the medium (LP records, cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, and even CDs once they took over). Thanks to companies like La-La Land Records and Intrada I’ve been able to enjoy updated, expanded, and remastered versions of scores of older films, and in some cases it’s like hearing the music for the first time EVEN THOUGH I know every note by heart.

STTMP-SoundtrackCoverWhat are some of my favorites? Well, some obvious suspects are the various Star Trek films, in particular Jerry Goldsmith’s The Motion Picture, The Final Frontier, and First Contact, James Horner’s The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock, and Michael Giacchino’s music for all three of the reboot films. Everything John Williams has ever done for the Star Wars saga goes on the list, too, but I also must give props to Michael Giacchino for Rogue One and John Powell for Solo. 

Superman-ScoreJerry Goldsmith is well represented in my library, including personal favorites Planet of the Apes (1968), Rambo: First Blood, Part II (yes, really), Alien, Total Recall, L.A. Confidential, Outland, and 1999’s The Mummy. James Horner also had a lot going on beyond his Star Trek work, and I especially dig Aliens, Apollo 13, Sneakers, Glory, The RocketeerCommando, and Titanic (that’s right; I said it). And you can’t have a film score collection without stuff by John Williams, including stuff by John Williams that’s not Star Wars, which is good because I absolutely love the music he created for Jaws, the Indiana Jones films, Saving Private Ryan, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and…of course…Superman.

My taste in film music runs the gamut from Pirates of the Caribbean to The American President, Die Hard, or The Incredibles, or from The Shawshank Redemption to Gladiator, The Martian, or Black Hawk Down. Bill Conti’s The Right Stuff is wondrous. Old-school offerings like The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven or The Day the Earth Stood Still are in there, too. The truth is that I’m all over the map with this kind of thing. I hear it while watching the film and know I just have to have it without everybody yakking over it or everything blowing up around it.

TV’s the same way. Yes, Star Trek gets a lot of play around here (occupational hazard, you know), but what about Lost In Space or Mission: Impossible or Alien Nation? Battlestar Galactica? Hell, even seaQuest is in there.

I could do this all day, people.

So, Happy “National Film Score Day.” I think it’s time to stick a little of that action in my ears while I continue to write.

March writing wrap-up.

And just like that, 2019 is 25% in the books.

March was an odd month, to say the least. Looking back, I didn’t do a whole lot in this particular space, even though my activity on Facebook and Twitter was still up there. I guess I didn’t really have a lot to say in long form fashion. I’m pondering notions on how to improve in that area, and I suspect the next several months are going to offer no small amount of fodder for that effort.

The latter half of March was devoted to setting up for what I’ll be working on during the next few months, including a couple of projects which have come along in rapid fashion with short development windows and fast-approaching delivery dates. None of these have yet been formally announced, so I must wait for permission to blab in detail about them. You know the deal.

Meanwhile, we march (HAH!) merrily on with last month’s rundown:

Continue reading “March writing wrap-up.”

A Superman “mystery?”

I don’t typically advertise when I’m away on vacation, preferring instead to surprise readers after I’m back and let you know that HEY! I was on vacation last week.

So, HEY! I was on vacation last week.

It was an epic road trip in which Clan Ward joined forces with two other families with whom we’ve become good friends since our move to Ward Manor 2.0 in 2014. Our kids all go to the same schools, participate in the neighborhood swim team and other local activities, and my wife along with one of the other wives actually works for the third wife, so we find ourselves together in all sorts of weather and circumstances. 😀

This time, it was a 2,100-or so mile excursion: first to Nashville, Tennessee, where we spent mine and Michi’s 28th anniversary and St. Patrick’s Day. Followed by a jaunt to Destin, Florida for a few days lounging on the beach, checking out local sites, and eating all manner of things plundered from the ocean that was RIGHT THERE. The last couple of days were spent in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the historic Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa, located right in the heart of the action directly across the street from Hot Springs National Park, Bathhouse Row, and all sorts of local coolness.

This past Saturday afternoon, as Michi and the girls were availing themselves of the hotel’s embedded Starbucks cafe when the barista started making small talk, which brings us to the reason for this latest blog posting and its title. As she prepared the girls’ triple latte double caff whatevers, the barista pointed to a building across the street and casually mentioned that, “They used it for the Daily Planet building in the old Superman TV series.”

Continue reading “A Superman “mystery?””

March 24-25, 1944: “The Great Escape.”

Seventy-five years ago, on the evening of March 24, 1944, the culmination of months of planning and preparation and the efforts of hundreds of men was put into motion as Allied prisoners of war launched the most daring escape attempt of the Second World War. The genesis and implementation of the scheme and its aftermath became the stuff of legend, earning it the quite appropriate moniker of “The Great Escape.”

Stalag Luft III, circa 1943.

Despite boasts by the German Luftwaffe that their prison camp, Stalag Luft III, was “escape proof,” history has shown that Allied soldiers and airmen incarcerated there made dozens of escape attempts over the course of the war. All would pale in comparison to the night of March 24th, however, when more than 200 POWs began the process of sneaking out through a tunnel they’d dug over the course of months (one of three, actually, along with a fourth tunnel connecting different buildings), leading out from their barracks to the forest just beyond the camp’s fences.

The escape plan’s scope was massive: clothing tailored so that prisoners could better blend with the civilian population, forged identity papers, maps, train schedules obtained from unwitting German soldiers, travel rations, and so much more factored into the mix. While making their way home or to friendly military forces was a hope carried by many, the primary goal was to spread across the countryside in a supreme effort to confound, confuse, and harass German military personnel, drawing them away from more pressing duties which in turn might expose vulnerabilities for Allied forces to exploit.

Circumstances dictated only 76 prisoners managed to get out before the effort was discovered in the early hours of March 25th, 1944. Of those, 73 were recaptured, 50 of whom were subsequently executed by the German Gestapo by order of Adolph Hitler himself, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.

Upon learning of their comrades’ fate, prisoners at Stalag Luft III constructed a memorial to “the Fifty” which still resides at the camp’s former location, which is now a museum.

Those responsible for the murders and who survived the war–like so many other Nazis and sympathizers–were later hunted, and several were ultimately executed or imprisoned. The search for those responsible continued into the 1960s.

The details of the escape and its aftermath are the focus of the 1950 book The Great Escape. Written by Paul Brickhill, an Australian fighter pilot and himself a former POW of Stalag Luft III, the book brought this incredible story to the public’s attention and later served as the basis for the 1963 film of the same name. Despite the need to compress the timeline of events and create “amalgams” of characters in order to tell the story in such a limited block of time, the movie goes to great lengths to accurately depict the details of the escape itself. It’s a fine film and remains one of my all-time favorites, and yet still pales in comparison to the actual story of the “Great Escape,” the men who carried it out, and “the Fifty” who lost their lives as a result. It remains one of the most fascinating tales of the Second World War.

It’s William Shatner’s birthday, everybody!

Today we’re celebrating the 88th birthday of the Man himself. Captain Kirk, T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911 Guy, Denny Crane, Priceline Negotiator, and CAPTAIN JAMES TIBERIUS BY GOD KIRK.

:: ahem. ::

The one and only William Shatner: 88 years old, and still running circles around people half his age. I’ll have what he’s having.

insp_captkirk

Happy Birthday, sir. May you enjoy many more.