Trekking to Ticonderoga and the Star Trek Set Tour!

Well, it seems the cat’s out of the bag on this one, as it’s been reported in different places and a couple of people have asked me about it.

Along with my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and a whole gaggle of fellow writers of various Star Trek persuasions (novels and other books, comics, even the odd script or two), I’ll be making the trek to scenic Ticonderoga, New York during the first weekend in May, to hang out at the incredible Star Trek Original Series Set Tour!

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Along with Kevin and me, fellow Star Trek wordsmiths Keith R. A. DeCandidoMichael Jan FriedmanDave GalanterDavid R. George III, Bob GreenbergerGlenn HaumanBill LeisnerDavid MackScott Pearson,  and Aaron Rosenberg will all be descending upon poor little Ticonderoga for a one-day “Star Trek Writers Mini-Con” to be held on Saturday, May 6th, from 1pm-6pm.

What originally was just going to be a friendly get-together among friends has morphed into a “Meet the Authors” event that will include book signings and Q&A sessions. I don’t know if we’ll attract all that many curious visitors, but you can guarantee we writer nerds will make our own fun.

Why? Because of the sets, people.

The brainchild and dream project of ardent Star Trek fan James Cawley, this one-of-a-kind attraction is exactly what its name implies: A full-blown walking tour of one of the most faithful recreations of the original Star Trek filming sets ever devised. Working from blueprints and photographs of the original soundstages as they appeared during the filming of the original show in the 1960s, James and a group of loyal enthusiasts have constructed bang-on replicas of all the U.S.S. Enterprise interiors.

It’s all here, including such memorable locations as engineering, sickbay, the transporter room, and–of course–the bridge. Everything is linked by familiar Enterprise corridors, and the whole smash is laid out almost exactly as it was constructed on Desilu Stage 9. No detail is overlooked, from signage to buttons to odds and ends on shelves in Captain Kirk’s quarters to those unidentified doodads and thingamajigs hanging everywhere on walls and conduits and whatnot.

Here, take a look:

And there are plenty more photos on the tour’s official website and its Facebook Page.

It’s okay to drool. I did.

Those familiar with Mr. Cawley’s work know that these sets came about as a result of his desire to create new “fan made” episodes of the original Star Trek. After creating a series of well-received episodes, he has continued to work on improving the sets, and eventually worked out a deal with CBS to officially license the tour.

There have been several recreations of various original series sets over the years, including a few created by fans for similar fan film projects. None of the recreations I’ve seen in exhibits or traveling tours have reached this level of detail, though. To this point, I’ve only seen the photographs, but I can already tell you how this is going to go down.

(Cue vids and pictures of Dayton running around the sets like an 8-year old hopped up on Pop Rocks and Red Bull, smiling and touching all of the things and maybe even himself.)

Granted, Ticonderoga is a bit off the beaten path, but hey! If you’re able to join us on Saturday, May 6th, between 1pm and 6pm, come on out! The writer gang was going to be there, anyway, and we’ll be hanging around and having fun all day.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be on the bridge.

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The Official Dayton & Kevin 2017 Convention Stalking Guide.

It’s still early, but the 2017 convention season is already starting to build out for me and Kevin. I don’t typically do very many cons each year, and Kevin does a few more in his role representing Hallmark. That said, there are a couple we always never to miss, along with a few others we’re always game to attend if schedules and planets align in proper fashion.

As of this writing, this Official Stalking Guide is a work in-progress, but we do have a handful of tentative dates already slotted. Nothing’s been absolutely confirmed, but it’s our sincere intention to lower property values at the following locales during throughout the year:

Starfest 2017 – April 21-23 – Denver, Colorado
One of our very favorite cons, Kevin and I will almost certainly be making our fifteenth consecutive annual trip to Denver to hang with the Starland gang. The trip has truly become something of a “family reunion” as much as it as a convention, as we’ve made so many friends there over the years, and each new con brings with it the chance to make new friends, or put faces to names we encounter over the internet.

Shore Leave 39 – July 7-9 – Hunt Valley, Maryland
Another show we make every effort to attend, mostly because it’s one of the few media cons of this size that also caters to a large list of author guests. Pocket Books and the Star Trek fiction cabal is usually well-represented, but there are also several other writer guests who show up every year and who have loyal followings. It’s three days of jam-packed programming, after which I may have to build in an extra day or so of sight-seeing so I can get down to D.C. and check out the restored U.S.S. Enterprise model at the Smithsonian.

Comic-Con International – July 19-23 – San Diego, California
Does this con really require an introduction? Kevin will be at this one, acting in his capacity as a representative of Hallmark Cards. If the writer gods are kind, he may also participate in a book signing or two, and perhaps even the odd panel.

The Official Star Trek Convention – August 2-6 – Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City plays host to one of the largest Trek cons going. Boasting a guest list that now routinely hits the 100+ mark, it really is five full days of Star Trek fandom goodness. Though this one is still written in pencil, Kevin looks to be heading that way to man a booth on behalf of Hallmark, and — as of now — there’s a slim chance I may make this one, too. Stay tuned.

New York Comic Con – October 5-8 – New York ‘Effin City
It’s the smaller, feistier version of the San Diego con. As with that one, Kevin will be working his ass off on behalf of Hallmark. Book signings and panels possible, depending on his schedule.

And there you go. The list is, once again, tentative and subject to change, additions, or even deletions.

So, if you plan to be at any of these cons, maybe we’ll see you there!

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“The Threat from Aisle 300,” by Jason Arnett.

Jason Arnett is a writer and friend, and one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. We crossed paths at one of the local comic conventions here a few (several?) years back, and in the years that followed Kevin and I would find ourselves being “table neighbors” with him in the vendor’s area of local conventions like Planet Comicon and Kansas City Comic-Con.

As he occupies his table throughout the weekend, Jason quietly performs little slices of awesome: He does writing commissions for what he has dubbed, “Velocity Stories.” Basically, you give him a story prompt, and he’ll write a one-page story for you at the con. Depending on the story length, he charges $15 to $30 for this feat of writerly dering do. After writing up a new tale on his laptop or tablet, he then transcribes it by hand along with a nifty little illustration or two onto a nice piece of decorative paper/parchment that’s suitable for framing.  It’s really rather cool to watch the process unfold multiple times over the course of the weekend.

Recently, Jason and his family were hit with some difficult news, and he began searching for a means of helping his parents deal with a host of medical issues and the associated costs. To that end, he began taking story commissions via his website, with the idea of directing proceeds from that effort toward helping his folks. He posted about this on his blog, and several people shared/cross-posted it. To hear Jason tell it, the signal boosting sent a number of kind souls his way, allowing him to share his talents with these wonderful people.

Of course I requested a commission of my own, and sent Jason the following prompt:

…the two of us at a con, thwarting some kind of alien evil in the vendor’s room. I’ve always wanted to star in a story, written by someone else. :D”

Responding to that off-kilter challenge, Jason produced “The Threat from Aisle 300,” which I’m now happy to share with all of you:

jasonarnett-threatfromaisle300(Click to Enlarge)

I’ll be framing the original piece, and it will occupy a place of honor in my home office.

Sadly, Jason’s mother passed away on September 28th. He and his family are in my thoughts, and I can only hope that working on these little projects helped him navigate what I know was a very difficult time.

If you are one of the folks who responded to my forwarding of his original request and commissioned a piece from Jason, then I can’t thank you enough. If you’re perchance interested in making such a request now, I encourage you to reach out to Jason via his website.

Is this thing on?

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:

test-pattern

Yes, I’ve been rather neglectful of this space the past couple of weeks. In my defense, I’ve had two conventions in as many weekends, one of which was the ginormous Star Trek 50th Anniversary convention in Las Vegas. Holy crap, was that fun. Five full days of hanging out with friends old and new, participating in great panel discussions, and just soaking in the notion that this crazy little 1960s TV show has not simply lingered at the fringes of our awareness for fifty years, but that it continues to inspire so many people in so many ways.

One of the true highlights of the show was finally getting to meet the legendary Bjo Trimble, aka “The Lady Who Saved Star Trek.” As a kid, years and years before the internet and sites like Memory Alpha, I devoured her original Star Trek Concordance. I still have my copy of the original edition, as well as her loving tribute to Star Trek and fandom, On the Good Ship Enterprise, both of which I completely forgot to pack with me in the event I was able to meet her and ask for autographs.

STLV2016-BjoTrimble

At 83, she and her husband, John, are still as feisty and passionate as ever. I don’t normally request photos with anybody I consider a celebrity, but I asked for this one.

STLV2016-MinionsAnother highlight was being able to get a picture with just some of the people for whom we’ve named characters in our various Star Trek stories. They affectionately call themselves our “minions,” but each of them is a wonderful person who’s touched us in some way over the years, either by being a friend or someone on whom we called for research or other assistance, or for the efforts they devote to furthering the positive aspects and family that is Star Trek fandom.

The entire con was like that – a series of small but special moments as we all came together to celebrate this wonky little TV show that’s captured our attention for so many years, with no signs of stopping.


Closer to home this past weekend was Kansas City Comic Con. Three full days of comic and pop culture goodness, during which we enjoyed the company of tremendous neighbors in the vendor’s area. Friends and fellow word pushers Jason ArnettHolly Messinger, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and Thaddeus Nowak certainly helped the weekend move by faster, as did my getting to meet and hang out with the illustrious (notorious?) Jonathan Maberry, whose table bumped up against mine. Our conversations ran the gamut from the writerly to the geeky, with lots of laughs provided along the way. My daughters also kept me company throughout the weekend, only costing me a small fortune in food and a bout with face painting. It’s all good.

Many thanks to Justin Cline and the rest of the KCCC staff for inviting us to join them for this year’s con. I hope all who attended had a great time, and hopefully we can all do it again in a year or so.

Meanwhile, the work continues apace. I’m trying to wrap up the latest novel in progress, as another novel project waits in the wings, but there also was our Star Trek comic script for IDW and copyedits on a couple of other things. I even managed to cram in writing up a pitch for Predator: The Hunted, the anthology to be edited for Titan Books by the aforementioned Bryan Thomas Schmidt and coming sometime next year. All of that is out of the way, though – for the moment, at least – and now it’s all about getting the novel done as we scream toward the finish line.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to get back to that. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

My sorta overdue Shore Leave after-action report.

shore-leave-logoYeah, so I kinda forgot to write this, earlier in the week.

By now, those who care about such things have already written up and posted their Shore Leave convention post-mortems, so I’m a bit late here. That said, I did want to make sure that I got a few things addressed before I get so wrapped up in other things that it just sort of fades away.

This year was a bit of a change-up for me, as it was the first time I ventured to the con without my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore. He was busy getting ready for San Diego Comic-Con, the madness of which is now fully underway. So, I went stag this time around.

The big deal for me this weekend was spending time with fellow Star Trek scribes Greg Cox and David Mack, who along with me and Kevin are in the midst of unleashing upon you all the Star Trek: Legacies trilogy of novels that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original series. The first book, Captain to Captain written by Greg, has been out a couple of weeks, and the second book, Dave’s Best Defense, made its early premiere at the con. Fans were grabbing that from the bookseller’s booth and Dave was signing multiple copies, so yay! The last book, mine and Kevin’s Purgatory’s Key, will be out at the end of August.

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Also making its premiere at the show? My own Hidden Universe Travel Guide – Star Trek: Vulcan. By all accounts, the bookseller sold out of the copies he’d ordered within the first moments of Friday night’s “Meet the Pros” autographing event, and he even told me he wished he’d ordered more. The book officially went on sale this past Tuesday, but for a few wonderful days, Shore Leave attendees had a rather swank exclusive all to themselves.

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(Photo: Dan Gunther)

As always, it was great to connect with fellow writers and other friends old and new, many of whom I only get to see at this show. The weekend flies by, though, and most of us are going in different directions all through the con so there’s never enough time to really hang out with everyone the way we all want to do. Too many reunions were fleeting, and there even were a couple of people I never got to see, but I did get to enjoy extended visits with colleagues David Mack, Jim Johnson, Dave Galanter (and his lovely bride), Aaron Rosenberg (and his lovely bride, with whom I even shared a panel discussion), Rich White, Derek Attico, and John Coffren. I got to have a nice, relaxed breakfast with Howie Weinstein, and enjoyed a lengthy conversation with editor and mentor Marco Palmieri.

I also had the opportunity to hang out with friends and fans in the hotel bar, and even made a few new writer friends in the form of Stephen Kozeniewski and Mary Fan. I did miss hanging out with Kevin, who had legit reasons for recusing himself this time around, as well as my sister from another mister, Kirsten Beyer, whose absence also is pretty justified, what with writing for that new Star Trek TV series and whatnot.

And then BAM. It was over, and it was time to come home.

It was a fun weekend all around, and a very large portion of that is thanks to the people who plan, organize, and throw the switch on this con every year. The Shore Leave committee and the volunteers who help them all weekend work so very hard to make the whole thing look easy, and bust their humps ensuring that everyone is having a wonderful time, be they guest or paying customer. Hats off and glasses raised to those fine folks. Thanks for inviting me back one more time, and hopefully I can come to see you next year.

And maybe we’ll see you there, too?

Next up? Vegas, baby! Vegas!

My schedule for Shore Leave 38!

shore-leave-logoIt’s almost that time of year again!

One of my very favorite conventions, Shore Leave, is happening this weekend. Three full days of fandom and fun and all manner of geeky shenanigans await within the rooms and halls of the Hunt Valley Inn located in…uh…Hunt Valley, Maryland.

(“Where?”)
(“Hunt Valley. North of Baltimore.”)
(“Where?”)
(“Just look for the Pokémon thingee.”)
(“Yeah. Right. Okay.”)

Just like every year, there will be activities galore cramming the schedule, and I have no doubts that the convention committee members and their army of dedicated volunteers will be doing their usual outstanding job to make the entire weekend fun for everyone.

For those of you asking such questions as, “Hey, Dayton! Where can I find or meet you?” or “Where’s that asshole Ward? He owes me money,” or “Dayton, drinks are on me,” I’m providing here my list of scheduled activities for the weekend. That’s not to say you won’t find me elsewhere about the con, but these are the places I’m required to be, under penalty of death:

Friday
8pm-9pm – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The first volume of Pocket Books’ SNW series appeared in 1998, creating a professional venue for unpublished Trek writers. This year, for Trek‘s 50th, Pocket will release a brand new volume of stories. Hear from past and present winners about their experiences. I’m the moderator, and joining me are Paula M. Block, Rigel Ailur, Lorraine Anderson, Jim Johnson, Scott Pearson, and Derek Tyler Attico, and John Coffren (Hunt room)

10pm-Midnight -“Meet the Pros” – The annual author mega-autographing event. Bring your books to get signed  by your favorite authors! A bookseller will be on site, selling the newest titles from all of the convention writer guests, and some authors will also have copies of their own titles for sale. (Hunt/Valley foyer)

Speaking of “Meet the Pros,” I’ve got two things you should know about: First, there will be a bookseller with a booth presence at the con all weekend, and they will have a limited number of copies of Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: Vulcan for sale, ahead of its official publication date on July 19th. So, be sure to get your copy and get me to sign it for ya!

dayton-24Also, I’ll be holding a raffle! I’ll have three advance reader proof copies of my forthcoming 24 novel from Tor/Forge Books, Trial by Fire, will be up for grabs, and I’ll be offering raffle tickets to those who stop by my signing table. The drawing will go at 10:45 PM at my table, and all interested parties must have a ticket and be present to win!

Here’s your chance to read the latest Jack Bauer adventure a month before it hits stores!

Saturday
5pm-6pm – Upcoming Star Trek Books – There are a lot of novels and other Trek books coming out for the 50th anniversary and into 2017. Let’s take a look at what’s coming down the pike. With Greg Cox (moderator), David Mack, Christopher L. Bennett, and Scott Pearson (Salon A)

Sunday
1pm-2pm – Collaborations: Writing as A Team Sport – The challenges and advantages of joint writing projects. With Greg Cox (moderator), Paula M. Block, David Mack, Terry J. Erdmann, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and T.A. Chaffin (Salon E)

3pm-4pm – Connecting with Readers in A Modern World – How does the modern reader consume their fiction? And how are we keeping up? Are we? We’ll discuss the challenges of getting fiction into the hands of readers who have more choices than ever – and more ways to access the content. With Stephen Kozeniewski (moderator), Joshua Palmatier, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mary Fan, Jenifer Rosenberg, and Kyle Williamson (Concierge Room)

dayton-conIn and around all of that, I’ll be checking out other panels, and finding new and exciting ways to leave money in the dealer’s room. At the end of each day, the bar likely will beckon. I’m sure I’ll find time to eat or sleep during the weekend, too. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding me, as I’ll be sporting my fancy-schmancy Trek-inspired con flair, yo.

Oh, and hey! With the costumes and displays and photo ops, the entire weekend is really just one big #WheresDaytonsBook opportunity, you know. Just sayin’.

Hope to see some of you there!

Officially Official(tm): Kevin and me @ Kansas City Comic Con!

KCCC-logoThe headline pretty much says it all, folks.

Adding to our list of appearances during 2016 is one right here in our home town. The Kansas City Comic Con is preparing for its second show after getting off to a damned fine start last year. Though we were invited to attend last year, scheduling conflicts and prior commitments saw to it that we were elsewhere that weekend.

Not so, this time around!

Kevin and I have accepted invitations to appear as guests at KCCC 2016, which will be held the weekend of August 12-14. We’ll be surrounded by a multitude of media and creator guests spanning TV and film, novels, comics, games, and whatever other creative coolness someone can conjure. As is our habit, you’ll be able to find us somewhere in the convention’s creator area/artists alley, and we’ll almost certainly be participating in programming throughout the weekend.

Also, it’s possible…possible…that I may have copies of our latest novels, 24: Trial By Fire and Star Trek: Legacies – Purgatory’s Key, both of which will be very minty fresh at the time of the con.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

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(Click on the pics to see our Officially Official(tm) pages at the con’s website.)

So, if you’re in the area and want to come hang with us and a lot of other, perhaps far cooler people, you’ll know where to find us.

Thanks very much to the good folk at KCCC for inviting us to be a part of their fun and games. Should be a blast!

Starfest bound!

Thanks to the wonder that is “scheduled posting” for ye olde blog, by the time this entry goes live, my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and I will be west bound and down and heading for picturesque Denver, Colorado. Why? It’s our fourteenth consecutive pilgrimage to the annual Starfest Convention!

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As has become our habit this time of year, we’ll spend the better part of three days immersed in geekery in all is various forms. Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Firefly, comics, gaming, science fiction, fantasy, and horror will assemble to commence all manner of shenanigans. Since 2016 marks Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, expect a heavy emphasis on all things Final Frontier-ish.

In addition to having our tables in the “Author’s Alley” section of the vendor area, Kevin and I will be participating in programming, which means panel discussions and book signings, as well as helping out the con as we do each year with judging the costume contest on Saturday night and the talent show on Sunday morning, and pretty much whatever else the con staff asks us to do.

So, if you’re reading this and planning to attend the con, come find us and say, “Howdy!” Here’s hoping we see you there. 🙂

Me and Kevin: Talking about your mom at Shore Leave.

Okay, not really, but it made you look.

During the Shore Leave 37 convention held earlier this month in picturesque Hunt Valley, Maryland, Kevin and I were cornered like the vile animals we are invited to sit down with the lovely Janice Sanborn, who was conducting interviews as a field reporter for our good friends over at the G & T Show. Why? Well, as it happened, the rest of the people involved in that show had hot-footed to Vegas for the big Trek convention being held there the same weekend, and because of that, they all missed the chance to hang out with the cool kids.

You know, us.

Therefore, Janice had us all to herself. Awwwwww, yeah.

Dayton-Kevin-ShoreLeave2016 (Photo by Janice Sanborn. Also, one of the few pics of me I don’t loathe.)

The interview includes our secret origin story, tidbits on how we work together and not kill each other, whether our undergarment preferences run to boxers, briefs, or commando, and what we really think of our writing colleagues. We also find time to offer up insights into our individual creative processes, what we’re currently working on and what’s next for the Deleterious Duo. It’s a short, breezy listen, so give it a go:

G&T Show Shore Leave 37 Interviews – Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore

Thanks very much to Janice for putting up with our antics. Be sure to listen as Nick Minecci, Terry Lynn Shull, and Mike Medeiros bring you a new episode of the G&T Show every Sunday, right here on your very own internet.