2019 Edition! Marvel Movie Tip: Stay for the credits, yo.

It seems like just a few short months ago that we were all running to the movie theater to see Avengers: Endgame, and now here we are with this week’s release of Spider-Man: Far From Home. We’ve been doing this in fits and starts since 2008 with Iron Man, the first movie in what was to become “the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

After all these years, you’d think some of the basic protocols would be all but ingrained into our collective consciousness, but we all know someone who’s going to drop the ball on this. Because of this, it’s a warning we need to repeat often:

“Stay through the credits.”

It’s been a while since we last visited this topic…all the way back to 2016 and Captain America: Civil War, 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
Thor
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ant-Man
Deadpool
(yes, not an official MCU film but still here because fucking Deadpool, people)
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Deadpool 2
(Again…fucking Deadpool)
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Captain Marvel
Avengers: Endgame*
Spider-Man: Far From Home

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

“Stay for the credits.”

(* = Endgame didn’t have such scenes until…you know, it suddenly did.)

And yet, there I was today with Clan Ward, watching people leaving the theater just as the credits began to roll at the conclusion of Spider-Man: Far From Home, even though there’s not one but two–count ’em…two–extra scenes: One during the credits, and one just after.

OH, THE HUMANITY!

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

marvel_truefan

Now, it’s arguable that several of these little add-ons aren’t essential to enjoying either their respective movie or the larger story arcs laid down over the course of these films, but some of them are. Besides, dang it! They’re part of the run, amirite?

You stay for the credits, people.

Always.

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)

IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE.

In summation: “Stay for the credits.”

Goose-Tesseract

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

June writing wrap-up.

BOOM! Just like that, 2019 is half over.

June continued the trend of the past few months, with a whole lot of stuff going on, writing-wise. Some of it I can talk about, but there’s a bunch more about which I’m not yet cleared to discuss. Such is life, I suppose. Once that happens, I’ll be free to share some insight into the busy yet oh-so-fun chaos that’s been my life for a bit.

The biggest thing on my plate at the moment is the current novel-in-progress, but various other smaller, faster-burn projects have come and gone or are still active, as well. Plans and schemes are in the works.

With more redactions than the Mueller Report, here’s the June rundown:

Continue reading “June writing wrap-up.”

Happy 120th Birthday, Indiana Jones!

Today marks the birth date of Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., famed archaeologist and obtainer of rare antiquities, renowned professor, traveled adventurer, and all around nice guy.

If ever you need an historical artifact or object of the occult located and liberated from uptight French rivals, scheming Nazis or commie graverobbers, he’s your man.

If you’re starving in some backwater village and worried about some ancient voodoo rocks rather than finding a decent sandwich shop, this is the dude you call.

If you’ve got alien bodies that need studying before they’re whisked away to secret military warehouses, he’s good at that, too.

If you want someone to show you the folly of bringing a sword to a gunfight, he’s got it covered.

Indiana Jones: July 1, 1899 – ???

Smart, tough, resourceful, and ruggedly handsome. There are so few of us.

Were he still alive today, he’d be 120 years old.

On the other hand, he did drink from the Holy Grail, so maybe he is still alive? Hmmmmmmm?

IndianaJones-1992(Indiana Jones, circa 1992)

You just never know about these things.

So, just in case…Happy 120th Birthday, Dr. Jones!

My Shore Leave 41 schedule!

shore-leave-logoOh, we’re getting close. I can feel that familiar itch.

No, not that itch. I told you, my doctor gave me a shot. Geez.

I’m talkin’ about us being less than three weeks away from the annual Shore Leave convention, which is all set to take place July 12th-14th at the Delta Hotels Baltimore Hunt Valley Inn! With only a couple of exceptions, I’ve been attending this con for more than fifteen years. Along with our annual jaunts to Denver for StarFest, this is my favorite con to attend. In addition to being a fan-driven show run by a dedicated group of volunteers rather than some corporate entity, I’m fairly certain it’s also the largest gathering of Star Trek writers of every sort. More importantly, it’s one of the few times I get to see many of my friend and colleagues who call the East Coast (mostly New York and points nearby) home.

As is usually the case, the convention is boasting a pretty solid roster of media guests, including Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, aka “Captain Christopher Pike” and “Mr. Spock” from Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. Also on the list are Michael Shanks (Stargate, Smallville), Lexa Doig (Stargate, Andromeda, Smallville), John Glover (Smallville, Shazam!), Erica Durance (Smallville, Saving Hope), Aaron Ashmore (Killjoys, Smallville, Warehouse 13), Laura Vandervoort (Supergirl, Smallville, Bitten), and Alex Mallari (Dark Matter, Indigo, True Justice). Topping it all off is the original Lieutenant Uhura herself, Nichelle Nichols, who is in the midst of a “farewell tour” as she prepares to retire from the con circuit.

There are also more author and science guests than can comfortably fit into one of the Titanic‘s lifeboats. Check out the con’s Guests Page for all the juicy deetz!

As one of those author guests looking for a good seat in said lifeboat, the con’s official schedule places me at these locations at these times. Plan your stalking accordingly:

Friday, July 12th

What’s New in Star Trek Fiction – 6pm-7pm – Hunt/Valley Ballroom
What are the latest plans for Star Trek publications? Moderated by John Jackson Miller and with fellow panelist David Mack.

Meet the Pros – 10pm-Midnight – Hunt/Valley Foyer
The con’s annual mass author autographing event! Bring your books and whatever else you might want signed by any of the convention’s author guests. You should be able to track down a particular author throughout the weekend, but this is the main event. If all goes to plan, local bookseller Novel Books will have vendor space throughout the weekend with plenty of new release and backlist titles from all the attending authors.

Saturday, July 13th

Own Worst Critic or Biggest Fan? – 11am-12pm – Chase Room
Some authors are extremely tough on themselves. Others love everything they do. Which is better, what are the pros and cons, and where do you fall on this spectrum? Moderated by Aaron Rosenberg, with fellow panelists Dave Galanter and Laura Ware.

Star Trek: Discovery: Season 2 – 12pm-1pm – Salon A
A recap of Season 2’s highs and lows, wishes for Season 3, and how the novels are addressing such tightly serialized storytelling. Moderated by Rigel Ailur, with fellow panelists Amy Imhoff, Dave Galanter, John Jackson Miller, Howard Weinstein, and Keith R.A. DeCandido.

It’s Not Linear – 1pm-2pm – Derby Room
Why do time-travel and Star Trek work so well together? Panelists will discuss Star Trek episodes, films, and novels that utilize time travel. Moderated by Derek Attico, with fellow panelists Amy Imhoff, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Lorraine Anderson.

Meeting eSpec Books – 6pm-7pm – Derby Room
The publishers, editors, and authors of eSpec Books discuss their new and upcoming releases, including novels by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher Bennett, and Bud Sparhawk and new volumes in their ever-popular Defending the Future and Beyond the Cradle anthology series. Moderated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, with fellow panelists Mike McPhail, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher L. Bennett, and Robert Greenberger.

Sunday, July 14th

Coming Out of the Desert – 12pm-1pm – Chase Room
Being creative can be difficult when the stresses of life get in the way. How to cope when your muse goes missing and there are still deadlines to be met. Moderated by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, with fellow panelists Richard White, Lorraine Anderson, and Michael Jan Friedman.

In and around all of the scheduled activities going on all weekend, I’ll be checking in on other panels, checking out the vendors room, and hopefully spending some time chatting with people I don’t get to see nearly often enough. And after each day’s obligations are met? Be sure to find most if not all of us in the hotel bar. It’s not just tradition; it’s a moral imperative.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

shoreleave-logo

Full cover reveal: Footprints in the Stars!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

If you’ve been reading my (admittedly infrequent) updates the past couple of months or so, you know I was invited by editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail of eSpec Books to contribute a story to a brand-spankin’ new anthology she was editing, Footprints in the Stars.

According to Danielle, the book is “put to bed” and is now at the printers, which means we get to share stuff like the book’s full front and back cover. Behold, yo:

FootprintsInTheStars_fullcover

As the back cover copy states:

To follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before, first we must find them.

Dreaded hope settles over mankind as we stare into the heavens, looking for a sign we are not alone. Fearing we will find it, puzzled when we don’t.

Among the stars or in our own backyard, lose yourself in the wonder of these tales as we humbly posit mankind’s reaction to the awesome certainty that ‘they’ are out there…or at least, they were…

Footprints in the Stars


Sounds pretty cool, amirite? The book will contain all-new stories by the likes of Gordon Linzner, Ian Randal Strock, Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jody Lynn Nye, Christopher L. Bennett, James Chambers, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Russ Colchamiro, Judi Fleming, and Bryan J.L. Glass.

Oh, and me.

When Danielle invited me to submit a story, she described in her original pitch, “all of the stories will revolve around the central theme of humanity discovering evidence that we are not alone in the universe.” She stressed that she wasn’t looking for “first contact stories,” so we had to dig a little deeper and come up with something else.

When I started, I had what I thought was an interesting idea for a story. Then, as time passed and I started playing around with writing it, an idea for a completely different story began to take shape. Before I knew it, I realized this newer idea was something I wanted to dig in on, not just for this story but perhaps setting things up for a novel at some point. To her credit, Danielle did not, in point of fact, beat me with a tire iron when I changed lanes on her, and instead welcomed not just my idea but also the possibility of me exploring this notion further with eSpec.

I guess we’ll see.

You can check out the full deetz about the anthology over at the eSpec Books blog. As for the book itself? It’s due to premiere at the upcoming Shore Leave convention the weekend of July 12-14, which is when I’ll be able to get my grubby paws on my very own copies. Awwwwwww, yeah.

Many thanks to Danielle and Mike McPhail and eSpec Books for inviting me along for the ride!

Writing about William Shatner at the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour!

My job is pretty cool, sometimes.

So, here’s what happened: My wife, bless her, schemed a family vacation trip for my birthday weekend. Where were we going? An epic train adventure from Kansas City all the way to picturesque Ticonderoga, New York, and the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour!

StarTrekSetTour-Logo

Now, those of you who read this blog with any regularity may recall I’d already visited the Tour once before, along with a slew of fellow Star Trek scribes back in 2017. This was by no means any sort of “been there, done that,” though, because not only had Tour creator and owner James Cawley made a bunch of updates since then, there was also this little business about them hosting none other than OG Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner!

It was the second of his special “Captain’s Inspection Tour” weekends, whereby Shatner conducted tours of the recreated Enterprise interiors while reminiscing about his time filming the original Star Trek series. He posed for autographs on the bridge, signed autographs, hosted a beer and pizza party (you read that right), and held a discussion at nearby Ticonderoga High School, interviewing the principal and couple of teachers and discussing the state and challenges of education.

DG-SetTour-001(Photo Credit: Dave Galanter)

Also on hand and conducting their own tours were Star Trek gurus Doug Drexler, Michael and Denise Okuda, and Daren R. Dochterman. Their knowledge of various “behind the scenes” aspects of the show’s production came to the fore here as they discussed how and why set designer Matt Jefferies made the choices he did, both for budget and storytelling reasons, and how the sets are both a product of the era in which they were created but also have an undeniable timeless quality we hardcore fans can’t get enough of.

Making the weekend even more fun for me and Michi was the fact our friends, fellow Trek novelist Dave Galanter and his lovely wife, Simantha, were also there, so we got to hang out a bit.

StarTrekSetTour-VIPbadgeAnyway, the good folks at StarTrek.com found out I was making my way to the Tour and reached out to me – while I was on the train, even – about possibly taking some photos and writing up a piece about the event for the website. I naturally obliged, and by the time I got there, the Tour staff was ready for me and made sure I had everything I needed to run around acting all important and whatnot while scoring some photos and jotting notes for my article. Talk about being allowed to run around without a leash or an adult to supervise. It was all I could do not to hide in the Jefferies tube and wait until everyone left for the day so I could just move in.

While most of the pictures I took sucked, Dave along with James Cawley and Michael Rizzo bailed me out. Their efforts yielded some fantastic candid shots that really showcased how much fun people – including Shatner himself – were having throughout the weekend.

The results of my efforts are now available for your reading pleasure, and you can check out just by clicking on the linky-type thing I’ve included right here:

StarTrek.com: William Shatner Returns to the Star Trek Set Tour

JC-SetTour-004(Photo Credit: Michael Rizzo)

Many, many thanks to James Cawley, Marybeth Ritkouski, and the entire Star Trek Original Series Set Tour staff for being such fabulous hosts. The weekend was too much fun, and I can’t wait to get back up to see you all.

StarTrekTour-ParkingSign

Hey! It’s Captain Picard Day!

What, you didn’t know this? Shame on you. It’s June 16th, which means…..

CaptainPicardDay-Banner'

That’s right, today we pause to recognize the life and accomplishments of Jean-Luc Picard: captain extraordinaire, explorer, diplomat, tea connoisseur, and 24th century renaissance man.

Oh, and he’s also a role model. Just ask him.


Of course, all he wants is to sit in the sun and read his book. Alone. Afterward? He really hasn’t thought that far ahead.

So, hey! Don’t just have a great Captain Picard Day. Get out there and “Make It So.”

Your Moment of TrekZen*.

All the old paintings on the tombs
They do the Trek dance don’t you know
If they move too quick (oh whey oh)
They’re falling down like a domino
All the Metron men by the rocks
On that planet way out past the border
Big Gorn who smiles (oh whey oh)
He snaps his teeth on your tricorder
The captain with bamboo cannons say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian

#DontLetDaytonWrite Lyrics

This bit of amazing is the creation of artist Josh Lane. Be sure to check out his other work at his website.

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

June 6th, 1944.

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

General Dwight D. Eisenhower

dday

75 years ago, today.

We remember.

#DDay75

We’re going back to Neosho to talk writing and stuff!

Some of you may recall that Kevin and I traveled from KC down to Neosho, Missouri earlier in the year to participate as guests to the first ever ArtCon. Sponsored by the Neosho Arts Council, this comic and pop culture convention featured several comics and art guests, along with Kevin and myself. For a first con, it was pretty well attended and the people hosting it and working as volunteers were on point all day. They treated us very well and invited us to come back at some point.

Then, they doubled down on that last bit a month or so ago, by asking Kevin and me if we’d be up for a return visit not for a con, but instead to “talk shop.”

Neosho-AuthorTalk

“That’s great, Dayton,” I can hear some of you saying. “Um, whatcha gonna talk about for an hour or so?”

Good question!

In addition to talking about the challenges and fun to be had while writing in our chosen realms, it’s also been suggested that, with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission looming on our calendars, maybe Kevin and I could also devote a bit of time to talking about the symbiotic relationship that NASA and science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular have enjoyed over the years. As we’ve both been able to talk with various folks who actually work at NASA (including, he says totally without shame, a couple of actual astronauts who’ve “been up there”) and even discussed this very thing, we can definitely speak a bit to this topic.

Our little author talk will be held at the Neosho Chamber of Commerce at 2pm on Saturday, June 22nd. Once we’re done, we’ll have a table set up where we’ll be happy to sign books (and maybe even sell a few).

Thanks very much to Sarah Serio and the Neosho Arts Council for inviting us back to hang with them for a bit!