Dayton Who?

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve read one of my books or are considering doing so. Or, maybe you just clicked on a link by mistake while on your way to something more interesting.
Heeeeere's Johnny!
Doesn’t matter. Welcome!

So…about me. Yeah…well, you see, it’s like this: I used to be a software developer and analyst, having become a slave to Corporate America after spending quite a bit of time in the U.S. Marine Corps. Why did I join the military? Pretty simple, really. I’d gotten tired of people telling me what to do all the time, and was looking for a change.

Whoops.

In truth, I joined for a handful of different reasons, from carrying on a family tradition to wanting a challenge unlike anything else I’d faced to that point to simpler stuff like just wanting to see the world. I’m proud of my time spent in uniform. I gave Uncle Sam eleven years, and he gave me a long list of skills and experiences that continue to serve me to this day. I think I got the better end of that deal by a fairly wide margin.

I spent a lot of years in the corporate/cubicle jungle as a software developer. I wrote code for everything from ginormous mainframes to PC-based applications and even handheld barcode reader thingees, each with their own language, mood swings, turn-ons and turn-offs, and so on and so forth. Some of the stuff we created was used by five or six people, and other systems were installed at Marine Corps installations around the world.

After my writing “on the side” as a creative outlet evolved into a secondary revenue stream, I said goodbye to my day job in September 2014 and embarked on a bold new journey as a full-time writer.

Though I’ve written a bunch of short stories and novels on my own, I’ve written a lot more in collaboration with my friend and fellow author, Kevin Dilmore. What types of stories do I like to write? Pretty much the same kind I like to read: Engaging plots with interesting characters. Oh, and I’d like for the stories not to suck. Whether I actually succeed in making it over that bar is for you to decide.

I write content for magazines and web sites as the opportunities arise. You’ll find my stuff in Star Trek Magazine and on sites like Tor.com and StarTrek.com.

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, but fate and circumstances have seen to it that my family and I now call the Kansas City area home. My wife spends a great deal of time and effort as a volunteer K-9 handler and search & rescue tech, training along with other volunteers in order to assist law enforcement when searching for missing persons. As you can imagine, there are a few story ideas to be gleaned from that.

I’m also the proud papa of two beautiful daughters. If you hang around here for any length of time, you’re going to have to deal with me bragging about them on occasion. That’s the price you pay, yo.

And so, with that? Welcome to the Fog.

(Programming Note: Pretty much everything that’s dated prior to August 1st, 2011 originally was posted to my LiveJournal. When I set up this new space, I imported everything from there to here, but that process, unfortunately, doesn’t include any comments attached to various entries. That sucks, frankly, because a lot of those comments fostered some pretty cool discussions. That’s just one of the reasons I’ve elected to maintain the archive over on that platform, at least until such time as I find or figure out a way to bring those comments to their counterpart entries over here. Meanwhile, play on, boys and girls.)

33 Responses to Dayton Who?

  1. PortlandJosh says:

    Hello Dayton, Im a big fan of your work! I was stoked to hear your interview on trekcast a while ago, and I decided to pose a question. I understand I you’re too busy to “listen to my demo.” Anyhow I have an interesting idea for a star trek story, one that I’m dying to write, or read if someone else would write it. My question is: is it worth it to even try, or is there no way to get it written and out to people? My one option my be an audio production via podcast. Anyhow, thanks!

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Thanks for the kind words!

      If you’re talking about something official, as in published by Pocket Books, the chances of that happening are–to be honest–slim. Self-publishing a Trek story (or any story based on someone else’s characters) is definitely a no-no if you’re looking to sell it.

      Unofficially, there are plenty of places which offer Trek fan fiction, audio dramas, and fan films. Trek’s owners tend to turn a blind eye toward such endeavors, so long as the people behind them don’t try to sell the material or look like they’re seriously competing with licensed products.

      If you’re looking to be published, your best bet is to concentrate on your own original stories. Establish a track record/resume, then make an attempt to move into writing for licensed properties. Editors of such works tend to prefer working with writers who already have writing credits and proven ability to meet deadlines, etc.

      Good luck!

      Like

  2. PortlandJosh says:

    Hi Dayton,
    Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure of this book has been written yet or anything like it, buy I’m sure you’d know. The idea in a nutshell is [redacted].

    That’s a story I’d love to read. It’d absolutely be worth it for free. Any good?

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Please don’t post story ideas here, particularly for Star Trek or other licensed properties for which I might write. I need to protect myself (and colleagues who might visit here) from possible accusations of theft.

      In the current novel continuity, the Borg have been….uh….dealt with 🙂

      Like

  3. John Fuller says:

    hi dayton,
    as i have read above, Star Trek novel openings are hard to come by. the problem is i have been working on a post-Destiny pre-Typhon Pact, and i want to see what people think. even if it doesnt get anywhere near Simon and Schuster i would like to see if it the quality of novel that they might accept. do you know anyone i could send it to when it is finished?

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Hi,

      If by “working” on it you mean actually writing a manuscript, then I’m afraid you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. Star Trek novels, like all media tie-in novels, must be approved first as an outline by both the editor at the publishing company and the licensed property’s owner (CBS for Star Trek, Lucasfilm for Star Wars, etc.). If you’re not already on an editor’s radar at one of these publishers, then–generally speaking–the only way they’re going to even look at your outline is if it’s submitted on your behalf by a literary agent. The Catch-22 of that is that agents typically aren’t interested in representing an author who only has a media tie-in pitch to offer. The contracts are fairly standard, with little room for negotiation, so there’s not a lot of money in it for the agent. Most writers who write tie-ins also write original fiction of one sort or another, and so the agent is then willing to handle the tie-in contracts along with the more lucrative deals to be made with original projects.

      Once you’re in the door at a tie-in publisher, it doesn’t get much easier. For stuff like the ongoing storylines like Typhon Pact, the Voyager relaunch, and so on, authors usually work with the editor to figure out a general direction as well as various plot points from book to book. And don’t forget, what you see hitting shelves has been in development for anywhere from 12-24 months.

      If you’re really wanting to write a Star Trek novel, your best bet is to get your own fiction published first, and establish some credentials. Editors of tie-in novels tend to work with writers who are proven commodities, who can work in concert with other writers, and write to often insane deadlines. A person trying to break in to Trek or Wars in particular as their first professional writing gig has a very, very tough hill to climb.

      Like

      • John Fuller says:

        Hi Dayton…again…
        i realise its been a long while since i made the first comment. i was just wondering how long it takes you to write a novel usually? i’m writing some of my own fiction and wondering if i was actually in the business how long i would have to write what i’m writing.

        Like

        • Dayton Ward says:

          On average, and when we’re talking about Star Trek novels, I usually get three-four months after the outline is approved before the manuscript is due. I get more time on occasion, and there have been instances where I’ve had to turn stuff around in a shorter period of time, but generally it’s about four months.

          For my own stuff, I’ve had much longer, and then there’s the stuff I write with the intention of marketing it (anthology submissions, etc.). I find that if I don’t have a set deadline for something, I tend to wander and lose focus. I like a deadline, and seem to thrive when the pressure’s on. Probably not the best way to go about things…at least not all the time…but once in a while it certainly gets the creative juices flowing. 🙂

          Like

  4. cefenix says:

    Just your ‘bastard son’ from KY checking out the Foggy Goodness. Keep on rocking, ‘Dad’.

    Like

  5. Pierre Champagne says:

    Mr. Ward,

    Thanks for “Paths of Disharmony”, but even more, thanks for your joy and humor in the Acknowledgements. I am looking forward to finding and reading more of your writing. “Star Trek TOS”, in its original airing, was the only TV show our parents would allow to be viewed during dinner. ST has become a place of refuge, encouragement, and hopeful dreams for me over the years, especially after Katrina. You “do” Star Trek well!

    Thanks for what you have dreamed and shared.

    Pierre Champagne
    New Orleans, LA

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words. When I was a kid growing up and TOS was in reruns, it was the only thing for which my mother would allow me to delay getting started on my homework or chores. Back in those days, I’d watch it after school on a little black-and-white TV.

      If you’re a TOS fan, I’d like to be shameless for a second and recommend That Which Divides. It’s a classic TOS adventure set during the series…something I always wanted to do. 🙂

      Thanks again!

      Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Ward,
    Big fan of your works, though a bigger fan of Star Trek altogether. I currently serve in the US Navy, so love reading that you “did your time” so to speak! Appreciate all your hard work, which pans out well using your works as an indicator. I’ve become pretty picky when it comes to Star Trek writers, and own almost every book in in the TOS and TNG series (much to my wife’s eternal happiness, I’m sure….) I look forward to releases when I see either you, Mr. Dilmore, Mr. Peter David, M.J. Friedman, Diane Carey, David Mack…..well…a few more. 🙂 In any case, I just wanted to post a note of appreciation for what you do, many a Star Trek book have been with me on my deployments at sea and in the desert, and it is a welcome escape, if even for a moment. Looking forward to future works, sir, thanks again.
    ~Anthony

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Hi, Anthony!

      It’s always nice to hear from a fan, but I particularly enjoy hearing from folks in uniform. The idea that something I wrote might’ve eased the burden (and even boredom!) of a deployment or other long stretch away from home–even if only for a short while–is one of the nicest compliments I could ever receive. If you’re currently deployed, I hope you and your brothers and sisters make it home safe and soon. Semper Fi!

      (I know, you’re Navy, but that makes us cousins ;))

      Like

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  8. TomEliasWriter says:

    I blogrolled you based on the awesomeness of your site.

    Like

  9. vickie rick says:

    just finished ” that which divids”… well done word wizard. :o) i love a great adventure and that you gave this old trekkie. (from the very start) looking forward to more.

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Thanks! I’d always wanted to write an old-school “1 and done” standalone Star Trek novel like the ones I read as a kid. I’d never gotten the chance to write a five-year-mission novel before this one, either. Since the TOS gang is still my favorite, this one was great fun to write 🙂

      Like

  10. vickie rick says:

    okay…. divides… sigh…. not enough coffee yet…….

    Like

  11. brtst11 says:

    Hi Dayton,

    Finally got around to checking out your “man cave” online. Wanted to let you know that I very much enjoyed the Vanguard saga. Picked it up on a whim (i’m a sucker for a cool looking cover) and was enthralled with the TOS universe. Prior to your books, I wasn’t a big fan of the TOS era and thought it was outdated and boring with tales already told that couldn’t compare to the TNG and onward. I was so wrong. You really fleshed out your characters (unlike a fair amount of trek novelists, not naming anyone) and breathed life in how the fans might imagine real day-to-day life in that century. Are you thinking of making more novels in the TOS era?

    And since your a fellow veteran, I’d like to mention that I too am a vet. E-6, USAF, active till this past August, now reservist and full-time grad student at Carnegie Mellon University. The ‘trek helps to inspire me and takes my mind off my Information Security studies and the general stress of grad school.

    Keep it up!

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Thanks very much for stopping by!

      The TOS era is my favorite, so I’m not liable to turn down too many chances to play in that part of the Trek sandbox. Since finishing up my part of the Vanguard series, I’ve since written two TOS novels, That Which Divides, which came out last year, and From History’s Shadow, which will be out later this year. I’ve also discussed with my editor future TOS-related projects, as well. 🙂

      Like

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  13. UrbanHype says:

    Literally just finished reading That Which Divides and i really enjoyed it. I thought you got the characters spot on and the story was well thought out.

    This is the first of your books/stories that i have read but it certainly won’t be the last. Hopefully they they are all available here in the UK.

    Thanks & keep up the good work.

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Thanks for “stopping by,” and for the kind words about That Which Divides. Glad you liked the book!

      Most of my stuff should be available in the UK, either in print or eBook form, depending on your preferences.

      Like

  14. Pamela Dupre says:

    I just finished reading From History’s Shadow. This is a magnificent novel and I can’t recall when I’ve enjoyed a Star Trek book more. That said, I am a huge fan of all of your Trek books and the Original Series will always and ever be closest to my heart. Star trek is simply woven into the tapestry of my life. It started on TV in 1966 and I was 15 I grew up with it, and it has grown up with me. Thank you for the wonderful stories. It is an honor to have been born at a time that allowed me to be a part of the Star Trek universe. It has seen me through some really tough times in my life. It and the stories and characters in the TV series and movies and of ocurse the novels have also been responsible for the joy that can only come from a Star Trek adventure. Thank you again for being such a precious part of the Star Trek universe.

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Hi, Pam!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write, and for the support! The book was tremendous fun to write. I’m not quite sure yet if it’s my favorite of the books I’ve written, but it definitely ranks up there. I don’t know if or when I’ll get a chance to do something else like it, but you never know!

      Like

  15. Michael Powell says:

    Hey Dayton – just finished From History’s Shadow, it was terrific! Clever concept, well executed; And the last chapter… Something like that actually happened about 15 years ago. Astronomers were shooting some star field video, when a pulsing light flew across the sky…rapidly. It was on CNN, and they had no idea of what they were looking at. What they lucked unto, was a flyby of an “Aurora” aircraft; Area 51, pulsed detonation wave propulsion, Mach 6+. It was never aired again. Anyway, enjoyed the book. Will be reading more.

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      Thanks very much for “dropping by!”

      I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the book. I got a real kick from writing it. As for that final chapter, it’s actually a veiled reference to the scene where Voyager flies over LA in “Future’s End,” but since it’s from Michael Wainwright’s POV he has no way of knowing that. 🙂

      Like

  16. Billy Arnold says:

    Dear sir, I just finished your book “From History’s Shadow”. Enjoyed it very much. I have been a long time star trek fan who is old enough to have watched the originals when they were new. Also a former marine myself. I started reading the ST books after they took everything off tv and have become hooked. Especially after I read the Greg Cox books. Keep up the good work and i look forward to your next ST endeaver. OOH-RAH and SEMPER FI

    Like

    • Dayton Ward says:

      I somehow missed this when it was first posted. Sorry about that.

      Glad you liked From History’s Shadow. I had way too much fun writing that one. I’m not quite old enough to have watched the original when it was first run, but I watched reruns as a young’un in the 70s. I started reading Trek books back around that time, too, and never really stopped. 🙂

      Like

  17. Jeff Kramer says:

    Just finished “Elusive Salvation” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I particularly liked your use of references and crossovers with other aspects of the Star Trek universe.

    Would you please verify that your use of the “Laurentian Abyss” is an homage to Tom Clancy’s “Hunt for Red October.” I liked that — did not realized that Spock was a Tom Clancy fan.

    Thanks

    Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

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