Happy Birthday, Gene.

Today marks what would have been the 98th birthday of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

“I would hope there are bright young people, growing up all the time, who will bring to [Star Trek] levels and areas that were beyond me, and I don’t feel jealous about that at all….It’ll go on without any of us, and get better and better and better. That really is the human condition–to improve.”

– Gene Roddenberry, 1988

Thank you for giving us such a wondrous sandbox in which to play and dream.

Roddenberry-Quote

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.”

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!

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. We followed that with 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.

It was 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, “They used it for the Daily Planet building in the old Superman TV series.”

Continue reading “A Superman “mystery?””

Happy 30th Anniversary, Midnight Run!

Monday: Escape with their lives from New York.
Tuesday: Impersonate F.B.I. agents in Chicago.
Wednesday: Steal plane in New Mexico.

Thursday: Almost kill each other by accident.
Friday: Almost kill each other on purpose.

What happens when an ex-cop turned bounty hunter is sent to find an accountant who embezzled millions from the mob, and who’s now being hunted by mobsters as well as the FBI as he tries to get his fugitive from New York to L.A. before the accountant’s bail bond defaults?

Comedy gold, that’s what.

After a string of dramatic turns including the previous year’s The Untouchables, Robert De Niro goes totally against type as he shifts gears for this comedy-action fest. He plays Jack Walsh, a bounty hunter sent to retrieve federal fugitive Jonathan “the Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin) after he jumps bail. Mardukas has millions in mob money stashed somewhere, and Jimmy Serrano, the guy from whom he took it, wants that shit back. Meanwhile, the FBI’s got their own case building against Serrano, and they want Mardukas as a material witness. Walsh doesn’t give a damn about any of that, as he just wants to get the Duke back to L.A. and the bail bondsman who’s going to pay him $100,000 for the job.

Released on July 20th, 1988 – mere days after Bruce Willis’ breakout hit Die Hard – Midnight Run is basically “The Odd Couple on the lam,” as well as a bit of a salute to the classic Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road” pictures of the 1940s and early 50s. De Niro and Grodin play off each other to absolutely epic effect, their efforts supported by stellar performances from the likes of Yaphet Kotto as FBI Agent Alonzo Mosley, Dennis Farina as Jimmy Serrano, John Ashton as Walsh’s rival bounty hunter, Marvin Dorfler, and ever-reliable Joe Pantoliano as skeevy bail bondsman Eddie Moscone.

Director Martin Brest, who two years earlier had given us the first – and still the best – Beverly Hills Cop, manages to strike a pretty decent balance of action, humor and quiet character moments throughout the film, while Danny Elfman provides a rollicking musical score to wrap around the whole thing. It’s not a perfect movie, and there are a couple of places where the “guys who hate each other eventually become friends” trope starts to wear thin, but De Niro and Grodin’s chemistry is more than enough to elevate the material and cement Midnight Run as one of my all-time favorite “buddy flicks.”

Thirty years after its original release, I still laugh out loud at the rapid-fire dialogue from De Niro and Grodin to say nothing of the rest of the cast. I’ve been known to hold up my end of entire conversations with quotes from this flick.

Trivia: Did you know there were three made-for-TV sequels in 1994, made as part of Universal’s “Action Pack” TV-movies? I’ve never seen them…and I’m not sure I want to. I mean, “Action Pack” gave us stuff like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and TekWar, but they also gave us Team Knight Rider and sequels to Smokey and the Bandit. So, you know…tread carefully.

There’s been talk of De Niro and Grodin teaming up for a proper sequel to the original film, but the last news I heard about this was a couple of years ago now. I’d be in line for it if such a project ever came to fruition.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll be spinning this one up tonight.

“See ya in the next life, Jack.”

Talking with TrekCore about the Klingon Travel Guide!

What happens when you spend 20-30 minutes spewing stream-of-consciousness blathering into a phone, pausing for the occasional breath while the person on the other end recovers from that maelstrom and attempts to ask another question?

Sometimes, it ends up printed as an interview somewhere.

That was the case last week when I spoke to Rich Schepis, who walked into the fire burning hot inside the lion’s mouth long enough to talk to me for TrekCore.com about my recently released tome, Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire.

HUTG Klingon Lifestyle (Twitter)

Rich is a patient, understanding sort, and he was able to pull apart the verbal hairball I hacked his way, and turn my yammering into something intelligible. I hope they pay him pretty well, over there.

Have a read, if you’re so inclined:

TrekCore.com – INTERVIEW: Dayton Ward’s Guide to the KLINGON EMPIRE

Many thanks to Rich and the gang at TrekCore for putting up with my shenanigans.

In related news, I found out this morning that the Vulcan Travel Guide is included as one of the juicy items in the second edition of the “ThinkGeek Capsule,” which is ThinkGeek’s super cool version of a LootCrate subscription box. So, if you were looking for a reason to pick up that book AND something snazzy to subscribe to on a regular basis, well then BOOM! Two birds with one stone, and all that.

Geek.com – Let’s Look Inside ThinkGeek Capsule #2

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Neat, amirite?

 

 

March writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsAaaaaaaaaaaand just, like that, 2017 is 25% in the books.

It’s like the damned year can’t wait to throw my ass over the cliff and into the waiting embrace of my looming 50th birthday.

Shit.

March’s big news was that I got started on the new novel project, about which I am currently allowed to say nothing. At the same time, I’m working to finish an outline for another book, about which I’m also permitted to share precisely nada. A few other things are percolating on different fronts, as well. Hey! The life of a freelancer is in large part about planning the next few moves on the board.

(Note to editors: Will write for money. Or food. Or vodka.)

Continue reading “March writing wrap-up.”

“Ten for Ward” #17 at StarTrek.com: The Secret Stories Behind 10 Star Trek Puzzles

It’s been more than a year since my last contribution to StarTrek.com, and I’m absolutely certain this latest piece will explain why that’s the case.

stpuzzle-dustyabel50thThe family and I have recently been flirting with jigsaw puzzles. Our coffee table currently is covered with the 1,000 scattered pieces of just such a puzzle, which depicts the theater poster for the classic science fiction film, Forbidden Planet. Once that’s done, we’ll be turning our attention to the 3,000-piece monstrosity that is artist Dusty Abell‘s glorious celebration of Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary.

Buying this thing started me thinking about other Star Trek puzzles, particularly those from when I was a kid. Now with children of my own, I’ve occasionally re-acquired a certain book, toy, or other doo-dad from my youth to share with them, and among the earlier purchases were old Trek jigsaw puzzles. Most of them were fairly simple – 150 to 300 pieces – that we could assemble together, especially when they were younger and just starting to figure out those kinds of things. A few of those old puzzles still make me smile with their goofy charm.

And then, as can happen when I sleep too little and drink perhaps a bit too much, my imagination starts to wander and I begin to conjure stories to go with the wacky scenes being depicted in some of these things. For example, what the hell is going on here?

stpuzzle-planetklingon

Little too much “Animated” or “Gold Key Comic” Star Trekkyness for you? Okay, what about this one?

stpuzzle-hgtoys-forcefieldcapture

I know, right?

Find out the “secret,” insomnia fueled back story behind these puzzles and eight others, with my latest Ten for Ward installment:

StarTrek.com: Dayton Ward’s Secret Stories for 10 Star Trek Jigsaw Puzzles

And if this ends up being my final column for the site, now you know why.