Why, yes. I will indeed be attending Shore Leave!

shore-leave-logoDue to my work schedule, I’ve been leaving certain convention appearances in the “Maybe” column. Among those was one I’ve made a habit of attending for the better part of the last 15 years or so: Shore Leave. Even with this one less than two months away, things were still iffy, but I can now finally say with confidence that – barring unforeseen circumstances, of course – I will once again be heading back to picturesque Hunt Valley, Maryland in order to participate in Shore Leave’s 40th anniversary con!

(I’m sure this news will be of interest to at least two or three of you. You know, as opposed to being excited that William Shatner, Ming-Na Wen, and several other cool TV and film guests are also appearing, along with more than fifty other author, editor, and science guests.)

Shore Leave is one of the shows I most look forward to attending each year, as it’s one of the few opportunities I have to meet up and catch up with east coast-based friends and colleagues. Along with all of the con’s other author guests, I’ll be participating in the mass autographing session on Friday night. There will also be numerous panel discussions and other activities taking place throughout the weekend. In and around all of that, there doubtless will be other shenanigans unfolding.

And after all of that? There’s the hotel bar.

Still sporting that new car smell during the weekend will be my two most recent publications: the Star Trek: U.S.S. Enterprise and Star Trek: The Next Generation U.S.S. Enterprise book and model kits from IncrediBuilds and Insight Editions. I’m told the local bookseller who always sets up shop during the con will have copies of both titles on hand, along with other selections from my backlist as well as those of the other attending author guests. Bring your wallets, yo.

For those of you planning to attend this year’s show, here’s hoping we run into each other. If you’re not coming, well…..it’s your loss. Shore Leave is always, always a fun con, and now that I’ve booked my flight I’m counting the days.

See you there?

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Our StarFest Convention schedule!

Starfest2018-logoHoly schnikes!

A week from today, we’ll already be on the third and final day of this year’s 3-day StarFest Convention, held as it is each year in Denver, Colorado.

2018 will mark mine and Kevin’s 16th consecutive appearance at this con, which has long been one of our very favorite shows to attend each year. Some of you have likely seen me write or heard me say this, but we almost always lock in the dates for this con before committing to any other appearances, in order to avoid date conflicts. The StarFest family has treated us like two of their own pretty much from the jump, and reconnecting with all the friends we’ve made over the years – along with meeting new ones each year, is a highlight.

So, what are we doing this time around? Well, in addition to taking up space and oxygen in the con’s “Author Alley” area, Kevin and I are involved in several activities throughout the weekend. Check it out:

Friday, April 20th

Taming the Novel Series – panel discussion – 5pm-6pm: Writing one book is REALLY hard. Writing several novels is even harder. Writing several novels in a coherent series with consistent characters and satisfying story arcs can make your brain explode. These series novelists will offer their best advice for how you can wrangle hundreds of thousands of words into a compelling story. Moderated by Travis Heerman, with Betsy Dornbusch, Kevin, and myself.

StarFest Meet and Greet – Main Events – 7pm-8:30pm: Come meet our guests face to face and to get to know them a bit at the start of the convention. You’ll enjoy desserts, coffee and nonalcoholic beverages while you have the opportunity to chat in a relaxed atmosphere.  Door prizes and fun guaranteed. All our guests have been invited to come subject to flight arrivals and last-minute schedule changes.

A convention membership (that includes Friday) is required to attend this event.

Planet of the Apes 50th Anniversary Screening – Main Events – 10pm-Midnight: It’s going to be a madhouse in Main Events on Friday night, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a true science fiction classic! Based on Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel and starring Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, and the great Roddy McDowall, 1968’s Planet of the Apes launched one of the most successful and enduring motion picture franchises. Its revolutionary and iconic makeup designs earned artist John Chambers a “Special Achievement” Academy Award. The film contains one of the most unforgettable endings in the history of cinema, and occupies an indelible place in popular culture. Get to Main Events, you maniacs, and join author guests Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore for a late-evening screening of this landmark film on the occasion of its golden anniversary!

Saturday, April 21st

Costume Contest – Main Events – 8pm-10pm: As we do each year, Kevin and I assist with judging the con’s big Saturday night costume showdown. Kids, families, groups, etc. are all invited to show off their costuming and fandom passions. Prizes galore, along with emcee Kevin Atkins regaling us between categories and filling dead time with his latest collection of memes, jokes, and other oddities found on the internet since the last con.

Deadpool Late Show Screening – Main Events – (approx) 10:30pm-Midnight: Did we leave the stove on? You’ve got an eHarmony date with destiny! Oh, and author guests Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore as they defy all standards of good StarFest behavior and taste with our late-evening screening of Deadpool, the best superhero movie ever that’s not Black Panther, last year’s Wonder Woman, 1978’s Superman, or even 2011’s Green Lantern. If you’re looking for something to round out your Saturday at the con that doesn’t involve dancing, come on in to Main Events and hang for a bit with Kevin, Dayton, and the Merc With A Mouth. Just remember that this flick is rated “R,” as in “It’s REALLY REALLY RATED R,” so be aware. If you give us grief about this, Kevin and Dayton will find you and boom-box “Careless Whisper” outside your hotel room. WHAM! #DriveBy

Sunday, April 22nd

Starfest Talent Show – Main Events – 9am-9:45am: Do you have a song you need to sing? A skit you need to perform? Main Events is the place to do it on Sunday morning! Sign up Friday and Saturday at Costume Contest registration (near Convention Information). Walk-ons will be accepted on Sunday if time permits. Please keep performances to under 5 minutes each. Categories are 18+ and under 18.

Warm up those pipes, practice that guitar, or put the finishing touches on your skit!! You could win fabulous prizes!

And there you have it! Now, it’s also possible, even likely, that Kevin and I will find additional mischief in which to insert ourselves. We’re also trying to organize a joint signing with comic artist Gordon Purcell, who provided the oh-so nifty art for our Star Trek: Waypoint comic back in 2016. It may well end up being us crashing each other’s tables at different points during the weekend. Follow me on Twitter if you’re at the con, and I’ll shoot updates there as they happen!

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Changes to our Planet Comicon appearance plans.

So, hey!

Kevin and I were originally slated to appear as guests this coming weekend at Planet Comicon, the ginormous pop culture convention held each year at Kansas City’s Bartle Hall convention center.

Kevin was going to be there all three days, though the bulk of his Friday is committed to working at Hallmark’s PopMinded booth. I have to work that day, but we both had tables in the exhibitor area for the entire weekend, at which I’d planned to spend the bulk of Saturday and Sunday.

Circumstances have seen to it that neither Kevin nor I will be there on Saturday. With his prior commitment on Friday and our effective absence for two of the show’s three days, we felt it only proper to contact the con folks and give up our assigned table spaces. Our understanding is that there’s a waiting list, and we hope we’ve provided sufficient time to let those spaces go to other creators looking to show off their wares.

As of now, our plan is to be there Sunday, as we’d both previously agreed to appear with fellow writers Jeni Frontera and Jason Arnett on a writing panel at 11:30am that day. Though we won’t have assigned table space that day, we’re still happy to sign books/etc. for anyone who wants to find us. If that means sitting at one of the tables outside a panel room for a bit, I’m game for that, and I’ll even be schlepping along copies of Drastic Measures for those who may be interested. If you’re planning to be there on Sunday, hit me or Kevin up on Twitter, and we’ll find a way to connect.

We’re truly sorry for the late change of plans, and we’re grateful to the gang at Planet Comicon for being so understanding. We remain huge supporters of the show and those who work so hard to bring it to life each year, and it’s our sincere hope that we can be back as guests for 2019.

Come see me and Kevin at Kansas City Comic Con!

Awwwwww Yissssssssss.

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Thanks to the con’s own swank and rather handy header graphic, I’m left with almost nothing to tell you about next weekend’s Kansas City Comic Con, which will take place next weekend, November 10-12, at Bartle Hall in downtown KC. Why did I just repeat everything that’s listed in the graphic? Because I just know that without fail, someone will ask when or where the con is taking place.

So, here I am…covering my bases.

Expect to see a lot going on at this year’s show. For one thing, the con is hosting a 40th anniversary reunion with cast members from 1978’s Superman: The Movie. Visiting our fair town next weekend will be Margot Kidder, Sarah Douglas, Jeff East, Diane Sherry Case, Jack O’Halloran, and Aaron Smolinski.

Representing the 1960s Batman TV show are Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether, and fresh off the set of Star Trek: Discovery and his breakout role as Lieutenant Commander Saru, actor Doug Jones. You’ll also see the one and only Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith, along with Jason Mewes prowling the premises, along with several other guests from film and TV.

On the creator side of the guest list, hometown prolific AF comics writers like Jason Aaron and Dennis Hopeless will be on hand, anchoring a large slate of comics and prose creators. There is also a sizeable roster of cosplay personalities, showcasing their craft all weekend.

Oh, and hey! Kevin and I will be there, too.

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We’ll have tables in the con’s vendor area, upon which you may find for sale limited quantities of – among other things – new and recent releases like the Star Trek: Waypoint trade paperback along with my Klingon Empire Travel Guide and Predator: If It Bleeds.

Or, bring whatever you want signed and we’ll do that for the low-low cost of Nuthin’.

So, if you’re not doing anything next weekend, such as celebrating the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday or commemorating Veterans Day (perhaps by visiting the National World War I Museum and Memorial?), maybe we’ll see you at the con!

Vegas, baby! Post-#STLV17 catching up.

disco-con-embemSo, that big honkin’ ginormous convention in Las Vegas last week sure was something.

Five full days of high-intensity, full frontal Trekkery jiggling itself right in front of your face. You’re welcome for that visual, by the way.

And that was just what *I* endured. Some folks were there longer, as if that’s even possible. My hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore flew out on Monday, July 31st, with members of his team from Hallmark so they could spend Tuesday setting up their booth space in the con’s exhibitor hall. Other people performing similar duties arrived on scene for their own setup. The good peeps from CBS Licensing had their hands full, constructing not one but two galleries containing props, pics, and other goodies to celebrate Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s pending 30th anniversary as well as the up and coming Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres on September 24th.

Me? I pretty much screwed around the whole time.

Continue reading “Vegas, baby! Post-#STLV17 catching up.”

Put away your breakables, Las Vegas. #STLV17

I’m coming for you, Sin City.

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That’s right, kids! Thanks to the miracle of advance scheduling, by the time you read this I’ll be soaring west in a pressurized metal tube filled to overflowing with germs, desperate hopes, and cash which may or may not be disposable as I head for the gloriously dry heat of the Nevada desert and the unending sea of neon and broken dreams that is Las Vegas.

It was just a year or so ago that Kevin and I traveled to Vegas to celebrate Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary. Five full days of fun and friends, it was one for the books. Now here we are, one circumnavigation of the sun later, and it’s time to do it all over again.

For 2017, there’s a lot to be jazzed about so far as Trek goes. First, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s premiere on television. Yeah, read that last part back again. Thirty frikkin’ years? It seems like only yesterday that I sat with some of my friends in a barracks rec room at Camp Pendleton, watching this new show with its new captain, that weird robot, and some kid they eventually let drive the ship. I mean…the hell’s that about? To help commemorate three decades of making it so, the entire ST:TNG cast will be on hand for all sorts of reminiscing and whatnot. Be sure to book your photo ops early!

Meanwhile, the other “Big News” is that we’re inching ever closer to the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, which will air on September 24th. Rumors and gossip are running rampant, but you can be sure some juicy tidbits will drop at various point during the con.

And when you get tired of all that? You can come looking for me and my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, along with fellow Trek word pushers David Mack, Robb Pearlman, Mike Johnson, Ethan Siegel, Larry Nemecek, and…of course…my sister from another mister, Kirsten Beyer. At least two editors I know of, Ed Schlesinger from Pocket Books and Sarah Gaydos from IDW Publishing, will also be on hand in the hopes of adding an air of maturity and calm to the proceedings.

Good luck, you two.

So, for those of you heading to the con, here’s hoping our paths will cross somewhere in the midst of all that insanity. Gonna be fun, right?

GoneTrekkin

My Shore Leave 39 schedule!

shore-leave-logoThrough the wonder of scheduled posting, you’re now reading something I wrote late Wednesday night, which was posted while I’m winging my way to Baltimore from Kansas City. Goodness, but technology is nifty. What will they think of next?

Anyway……

So, I’m on my way to Baltimore (and points north) for the annual Shore Leave convention, held as always in Hunt Valley, Maryland, at a hotel which has had three names in as many years. This time around, it’s the Delta Hotels Baltimore Hunt Valley, but it’ll always be the Hunt Valley Inn in my eyes. What’s important, though, is that the hotel is and remains home to one of two conventions to which I most look forward each year. This one is fun because it gives me an opportunity to connect with East Coast-based friends I see only during this frantic weekend. We’ll be cramming a lot of catching up into the three days of con shenanigans. Much of that reuniting will occur in the hotel bar. I mean…..it’s inevitable.

Aside from that, as one of the con’s writer guests, I’ll be doing my share of panel discussions and other mischief throughout the weekend. Want to know where to find me at Shore Leave 39? Here you go:

Continue reading “My Shore Leave 39 schedule!”

Comic-Con Professional Badge: The Unboxening!

The first few times I attended San Diego Comic-Con as a professional, the process of obtaining your “professional credentials” was straightforward, albeit soul-killing. Even for the years I don’t go, I always register for my badge, anyway, as it’s usually a late decision about attending, and I don’t want to get left tapping on the glass because I missed the registration/verification window.

After completing the verification process which requires hopeful attendees to fill out a few forms, and submit proof of their status as professional writers, artists, or other creators, you’d receive a letter letting you know you’d been approved, and a badge would be waiting for you at the con. All you had to do was survive the gauntlet of crowds, lines, and other obstacles until you fought your way to one of the people who would give you your badge, along with a few other goodies like a lanyard, program guide, ginormous swag bag, and so on.

In recent years, the con has taken steps to streamline this process so that it moves more quickly and efficiently for everyone involved (yes, including the recipients of said badges). The last couple of years, after the verification and registration process is completed online, credentials were mailed a few weeks before the con, in a nondescript envelope.

This year, it seems the con is stepping up their game yet again. Apparently dissatisfied with the simple envelope approach, now the receipt of one’s professional con credentials is a bit of an event!

It starts with the plain packing envelope that arrived in my mailbox, and the opening of said envelope which reveals this little package contained therein:

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Pretty classy, I have to admit. This isn’t some cheap, fragile box, either. I’m moderately convinced I might be able to use this thing as an improvised weapon in one of those crazy Jason Bourne fight scenes where he uses books, pens, and whatever else he can find.

Anyway, I can hear some of you yelling, “What’s in the box?!?” Flipping up the box’s lid reveals the juicy contents:

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Yep! Right on top, there’s my badge, sans lanyard. It seems that I’m still going to have to wait in line for that, the program guide, swag bag, and other stuff, but at least now it’s more of an assembly line process where you just grab and go, etc.

But wait! There’s more! Beneath the badge, lies other goodies:

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Actually, aside from the cute little pin, the main thing in there is a small checklist/FAQ-type doc, that can be helpful if you’re new to the con and dealing with the information overload you’re going to experience upon setting foot inside the con for the first time.

Pretty snazzy, Comic-Con. Pretty snazzy, indeed.

 

Thank you, StarFest Denver! Also? Back to work for me.

Previously on The Fog of Ward:

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Not much going on around here over the past several days. Most of that can be attributed to our road trip to Denver for the annual StarFest Convention. For those keeping score at home, 2017 marked our 15th visit to the Mile High State for this particular show. As always, we had a terrific time catching up with old friends, making some new ones, selling a few books, and generally enjoying ourselves throughout the three days of full-on multimedia nerdity.

A big part of what makes the show so much fun is the staff. Headed up by KathE Walker and her husband, Stephen, StarFest is a family affair in more ways than one. The core group of people overseeing everything are either members of the extended Walker family or else close friends, and together they’ve been doing this thing for 40 years.

Continue reading “Thank you, StarFest Denver! Also? Back to work for me.”

Come see me and Kevin at @StarFestDenver!

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It’s almost that time again!

 

Come Thursday, my hetero life mate and frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, will be aiming the Mirth Mobile west as we take on the grueling, unrelentingly boring drive across Kansas via I-70 on our way to bee-yootiful Denver, Colorado. Why? Because this year marks our 15th consecutive year attending the totally fun and kick-ass StarFest Convention.

We’re talking about nearly three full days’ worth of multi-media awesomeness, including SF and Fantasy, Horror, Comics, Gaming, Robotics, and Art, and all sorts of other good stuff, brought to us by the good people at Denver-based Starland, who’ve been putting on this show for 40 years. As it happens, a little bitty science fiction film you may have heard of, Star Wars, also celebrates its 40th birthday this year, so that seems reason enough to throw a party.

In addition to having space in the vendor/exhibitor/author alley area of the con all weekend, you’ll be able to find me and Kevin in various places all weekend. For example:

Friday:

Guests Meet & Greet – Main Events – 7pm-8:30pm

Saturday:

Costume Contest – Main Events (we’re both judging) – 8pm-????

Sunday:

StarFest Talent Show  (Kevin’s hosting, I’m judging) – 9am-9:45am
“The Completely Unexpected Media Tie-In Panel” – 10:30am-11:25am

There may be other panels and activities about which I’ve not been informed, or we may just crash a few things because they sound fun. Who knows?

For those wondering, Kevin and I will have on hand copies of our most recent publications, including everything published since last year’s show, of which there are several. Check it out:

2113: Stories Inspired By the Music of Rush (I don’t remember if we had this last year)
Star Trek: The Original Series – Elusive Salvation
24: Trial by Fire
Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: Vulcan
Star Trek: Legacies – Purgatory’s Key
Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Headlong Flight
our Star Trek: Waypoint comic

We’ll also have a varying number of copies of older titles.

So, if you’re attending the con, be sure to come by and say “Howdy.” Hope to see you there!

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