“Where’s My Book, 2016 Edition” – We haz winnahs!

The votes are in, the poll is closed, and the winners are now known!

First place, earning 13 votes, is Jim Johnson:


Second place with 11 votes is Gloria Johnston Porter:


And in third place with 9 votes, Kimberly Winn Underwood (who also happens to be my cousin. 🙂 ):


Each will receive an autographed “advance reader copy” of my upcoming 24 novel Trial By Fire. This isn’t the actual book that will be turning up in stores on or about August 23rd, but instead a printed version of the final document I got to review for any last-minute changes before the manuscript went to the printer. I’m not allowed to sell these things and there aren’t a whole lot of them made, and some book hounds consider them collector’s items of one sort or another. Your mileage may vary.

So, JIM! GLORIA! KIM! Send me mailing info via e-Mail to daytonward@att.net, so I can get things rolling.

For those who may be curious, here are the final poll results:

Thanks very much to everyone who took the time to send in pics and/or vote in the poll. Maybe we’ll do it again next summer. 🙂


Where’s My Book? 2016 Edition: The Poll!


Yep, I can hear some of you saying it. “What the hell’s he waiting for? Let’s get on with this!”

Okay. Okay. I get it.

The deadline’s closed and the pics are in! We had some interesting ones, dayton-24this time around, that’s for sure. In the interests of fairness, I opted to leave entries to the final poll at two per person, which made it hard to choose from those of you who sent in multiple pictures. Many, many thanks to those who opted to play my silly little game. 🙂

Now it’s your turn to decide! Vote for your favorites! Select as few or as many as you want, but let’s have some voting! The top three vote-getters will get an autographed Advance Reader Proof copy of Trial By Fire, my forthcoming 24 novel which isn’t due in stores until August 23rd.

The poll will run from Tuesday evening through Sunday, July 31st, with winners formally announced on August 1st.

So, what have we got in the way of pictures? Have a look,  then get on with the voting!

Continue reading “Where’s My Book? 2016 Edition: The Poll!”

Where’s My Book? 2016 Edition!

Okay, okay, okay. I’ve been talked into it. I was reluctant to do it after letting things slide last summer, but enough folks asked after it that I decided to go with it again, albeit with some changes to make sure we stay on task, this time.

Once again, we’re into the summer vacation season, and I want to make sure that I’m not completely forgotten as you head off to destinations near and far. What better way to do that than to dangle a prize or three while finding a not-so subtle way to worm my way into your lives and consciousness. It’s a way to combat the rather solitary existence that’s a large part of every writer’s existence. The fact that it’s also something of a cheesy promotional ploy is entirely coincidental. Honest.

I’ve been getting pictures from people who’ve found my books on store shelves for years, now. A few years ago, I decided to up that game a bit after seeing something the always awesome Wil Wheaton had put into motion earlier that same year, and thought, “Hey! I can annoy my readers in a whole new way!

The result: “Where’s My Book?”

Here’s the deal: If you’re reading this and planning to take one of my/mine and Kevin’s books with you to read (paperback or e-Book edition) to some vacation destination, or even if you happen to be going somewhere cool or unusual that’s local to you, then let’s see some pictures!

Have a costumed performer pose with the book at Disneyland or Universal Studios. Lean it up against that sandcastle your kid’s building on the beach. Find a cosplayer at a convention who’s willing to play along. Make one of my fellow writers pose with it at some other convention (profane hand gestures optional). Hand it to a stripper or Hooters girl (or Tallywackers dude. We’re not so suburban, here.). If you live near something unique or unusual, let’s see a shot with that. Go nuts. Extra points awarded for originality as well as sheer lunacy.

Some of my favorite examples from previous iterations of this exercise, as provided by readers near and far:

Area 51, yo!

TomSharp01There they are!


Brings back a few memories…

A dame to write for!

And so on. You get the idea. 🙂

So, the idea’s simple: Send in you pics, either directly to me via e-Mail or just post them in the comments section here, or in the corresponding update on Facebook. Or, hit me up on Twitter with the hashtag #‎WheresDaytonsBook.

(NOTE: Pics from previous editions of this game are not eligible. Except maybe for that one with Carla Gugino, because I can’t…seem…to…find…that…one….)

To avoid having this thing get lost in the shuffle like last time, we’ll put a limit on it for this go-around. We’ll accept pics between starting from the moment this post goes live, until 11:59PM on Sunday, July 24th (see how I made sure San Diego Comic Con was in there?). Once that’s done, I’ll set up a poll so people can vote for their favorites, and the top 3 vote-getters will each be eligible for a copy of what is sure to be a collector’s item:


Yep, an advance, uncorrected proof of my forthcoming 24 novel, Trial By Fire. Be among the first to read this bad boy, weeks ahead of the book’s official release date!

All righty, then. Who’s up for some fun?



Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2016 Winners!

I don’t actually know if they’re going to be picking up with the previous numbering and calling it Star Trek: Strange New Worlds XI, or considering this a reboot with “SNW Prime” making a cameo or what. Those are administrative details I’m sure somebody is working out, somewhere.

Meanwhile? We gots winners!

Announced just this morning over on StarTrek.com were the winners of the 2016 edition of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contest, which was opened to “non-professional” writers seeking to have their Star Trek stories published by Pocket Books. The competition ran from October to December 2015, after which all of the contest entries were reviewed by editors at Pocket Books as well as representatives from CBS Consumer Products (ie, the same people who review and approve our Star Trek novel manuscripts, along with all the other Star Trek merchandise).

StarTrek.com: Strange New Worlds Winners Announced

For those who don’t do the link clicking thing (and if that’s you, how did you end up here?), here’s the list:


The 10 Grand Prize winners, picked from hundreds of submissions, will each receive a $1000 advance and will have their stories included in the all-new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 2016 Edition Anthology, to be published in the digital-first format later this year:

The Grand Prize winners are:

Neil Bryant, “Dilithium Is a Girl’s Best Friend”
Gary Piserchio & Frank Tagader, “A Christmas Qarol”
Kelli Fitzpatrick, “The Sunwalkers”
Chris Chaplin, “The Seen and Unseen”
Michael Turner, “The Façade of Fate”
Nancy Debretsion, “The Manhunt Pool”
Derek Tyler Attico, “The Dreamer and the Dream”
Roger McCoy, “The Last Refuge”
John Coffren, “Life Among the Post-Industrial Barbarians”
Kristen McQuinn, “Upon the Brink of Remembrance”

Two First Prize winners, Kerry F. Booth and James Corrigan, will each receive a free publishing package from Archway Publishing valued at approximately $5,000 to publish a book on a subject other than Star Trek.

Details about the stories, such as which series they represent, are likely forthcoming.

Two of the names on the list might be familiar to those of you who follow the Star Trek fiction. Derek Tyler Attico was the Grand Prize winner of Strange New Worlds 8 in 2005, and I also published his story “Blowback” in the Space Grunts anthology I edited back in 2009. John Coffren sold “Future Shock” to SNW VII in 2006, and “Gone Native” to SNW 9 in 2006, and also “Across the Endless Sea” to me for the aforementioned Space Grunts. Yes, it does tickle me rather mightily to see these two gents listed among the winners.

(For those wondering, Space Grunts was published by a small indie press, and the writers were paid nothing close to professional market rates. Now that I think about it, they were probably paid in Snickers bars.)

For those of you whose stories weren’t selected and who might be reading this, I hope you’re not discouraged. Instead, I hope you’re motivated to continue writing and seeking out other markets for your stories…hopefully while waiting for another SNW contest to roll around, or (even better) until you render yourselves ineligible to even enter, because BAM! Nailed it.

As for the winners, a hearty congratulations to you all, and I look forward to reading the final anthology. I’ll do my best to keep up to date on any developments with the book, or (perhaps?) any possible future contests, and post all that stuff here.


The return of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Are you a previously unpublished writer (or a “nonprofessional,” in that you’ve not been paid for your writing at pro rates)? Do you have a hankering to write a Star Trek story and maybe see it published? Well, Pocket Books has a deal for you:


Yep! It’s a new version of the writing contest Pocket conducted each year from 1997-2007, which launched numerous writing careers including one for the guy whose blog you’re reading right this very second. For those of you unfamiliar with my secret origin, I entered stories in each of the first three Strange New Worlds contests, after which I was offered a contract to write a Star Trek novel for Pocket, and I’ve been working for them ever since. If I can do that, imagine how much someone with actual talent might accomplish?

snw1 snw2-cover snw3-cover

StarTrekBooks.com: Strange New Worlds Writing Contest – Official Rules

The contest has a few changes from those of old, though:

Notably, it’s only open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia (that means none of the territories or even overseas military installations).

Unlike the previous contests, you’re only allowed one entry per person, so if you’re going to do this, make sure you bring your A-game.

The submission period is much shorter, beginning today (October 8th) and ending on January 15th, 2016.

Up to ten (10) winners will be selected for publication in the resulting anthology, as opposed to the old 18-23 winners rule. One major change is that two winners will receive “first prize” packages that includes the opportunity to publish a non-Star Trek novel through Pocket’s self-publishing platform. This is a new wrinkle, and one about which I have several questions, so I highly recommend doing your homework in this department before opting to proceed.

It appears the resulting anthology will be published as a “digital first” title. In English, that means e-Book, with a possible print edition later.

Assuming you’re thinking of taking on this challenge, be sure to read the complete rules before submitting an entry, and pay strict attention to the registration and editorial guidelines. Do your research, and understand what you are signing up for before you submit anything. You can find complete details here:

StarTrekBooks.com: Strange New Worlds Writing Contest – Official Rules

For those who decide to enter the contest, I’m happy to answer questions (assuming I have those answers, obviously), but let me state for the record that I am in no way affiliated with the contest and do not speak for Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, CBS, or anyone associated with the contest. As such, I’m really not interested in discussing why the rules are what they are, or how someone might think they suck for this or that reason. So, you know…FYI, and all that.

On the other hand, questions about actually entering the contest or prepping your entry or requests for general tips or advice are welcome, and I’ll do my best to answer those. Any responses or  opinions I might provide will be strictly based on past experience and (if possible) info I can obtain from people connected to the contest. I can’t guarantee anything on that front, though.

Best of luck to those of you opting to undertake this challenge!


Star Trek: Seekers contest – We have winners!

I know at least a handful of you have been sitting on pins and needles, waiting to discover the outcome of this legen…….wait for it…….dary contest celebrating the launch of the all-new Star Trek: Seekers novel series, which included the publication of Point of Divergencewhich of course followed the release of Second Nature by our partner in mischief, Mr. David Mack.


So, what was the deal? Well, we thought it was pretty easy: Kevin and I put together a short trivia test with questions drawn from the first two Seekers books. Readers and fans were encouraged to send their answers to said questions to me, and those who correctly answered all of the questions were eligible to receive one these super awesome posters autographed by David, Kevin, and myself, along with our cover artist and creator of said poster, Rob Caswell:


First, here are the questions and their answers:

Seekers #1: Second Nature
1. Which member of the U.S.S. Sagittarius crew member sleeps in a sac of regenerative goo?
Answer: Ensign Nizsk

2. What is the name of the Sagittarius‘ land rover used by the landing party on the surface of Nereus II?
Answer: Vixen

3. What is a nickname for the Sagittarius‘ galley? (more than one possible answer)
Answer: “The Unholy Mess” or “Pre-Sickbay”

Seekers #2: Point of Divergence –
4. What Earth food is the young Tomol, Seta, shown enjoying in the U.S.S. Endeavour’s sickbay?
Answer: French fries with ketchup

5. With Starbase 47 no longer in the Taurus Reach, what planet-bound installation serves as an interim port of call for the Sagittarius and the Endeavour, while a new space station is being constructed?
Answer: Starbase 71

6. Per a particular Starfleet admiral, what is the “First Rule of Vanguard?”
Answer: “You do not talk about Vanguard.” (Admiral Nogura)

So, now that we have that out of the way, we need to announce us some winners! A random drawing gives us this list of five lucky folks:

Eli Chapman

Will Combs

Mike Hess

“Johnny Blues”

Alexander Preis

So, hey! Winners! Please email your snail mail address info to me: daytonward AT att DOT net.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks very much to all of you who participated!


A Star Trek: Seekers contest!

So, hey! It’s been about a week since the release of Point of Divergence, the second book in the all-new Star Trek: Seekers novel series that I wrote with my bud Kevin Dilmore. The first book, Second Nature by our partner in crimes against literature, David Mack, has been out for a month or so and if you loved us you’d already have read it by now.



Now that we’ve had a week or so to revel in celebration at the conclusion of the initial, 2-part story that has (we hope) kicked off Star Trek: Seekers in fine fashion, I figure it’s time for one of those contest thingees I like to do whenever a new book is released. However, unlike the last couple of times, we’re not doing the whole scavenger hunt thingamabob. Instead, it’s time to break out your books and pencils, because it’s TEST TIME!

All righty, then. Here’s the deal:

Kevin and I have pulled together a series of trivia questions from the first two Seekers books. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to answer the questions to the best of your ability and email them to me.

All of the entries with all of the questions correctly answered will be eligible for a prize drawing. Five random contestants from this pool will receive one of these swank posters, autographed by David, Kevin, and myself, along with our cover artist and creator of said poster, Rob Caswell:


You know, assuming they want one.

WARNING! Directions and stuff lay ahead:

Don’t post your answers in the comments section. They won’t count.

Don’t post your answers to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you read this. They won’t count.

Don’t email them to anyone else but me. Otherwise? They won’t count.

Everybody got all that? Sweet.

Also, and this is a personal request: If you were one of the lucky ones who received this print at the recent Shore Leave convention, I’m going to ask that you recuse yourself from this contest, so that a few more people have a shot at securing one of these bad boys. I have no way of enforcing such things, of course, unless I just happen to remember you from the con, so I’m counting on the honor system and the awesomeness of you folks who read this blog with any regularity.

Thank you both.

So, what are you dealing with? Here’s your test (Don’t worry…it’s not that hard):

Seekers #1: Second Nature
1. Which member of the U.S.S. Sagittarius crew member sleeps in a sac of regenerative goo?

2. What is the name of the Sagittarius‘ land rover used by the landing party on the surface of Nereus II?

3. What is a nickname for the Sagittarius‘ galley? (more than one possible answer)

Seekers #2: Point of Divergence –
4. What Earth food is the young Tomol, Seta, shown enjoying in the U.S.S. Endeavour’s sickbay?

5. With Starbase 47 no longer in the Taurus Reach, what planet-bound installation serves as an interim port of call for the Sagittarius and the Endeavour, while a new space station is being constructed?

6. Per a particular Starfleet admiral, what is the “First Rule of Vanguard?”

***Mail your answers to daytonward AT att DOT net, with “Seekers Trivia Contest!” in the subject line.***

The entry period runs from today, September 2nd, through Saturday, September 6th. Winners will be announced early next week.


My #GISHWHES 2014 fun.

Earlier this week, I was approached by a Facebook friend about helping out her team for this year’s GISHWHES event. For those not dialed in to these sorts of things, “GISHWHES” stands for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.” Held each year, it was created and is overseen each year by actor Misha Collins, who I remember as Victor Drazen’s son, Alexis, from several episodes of 24‘s first season, but who currently has a recurring role on the series Supernatural.

Anyway, Mr. Collins has channeled his celebrity toward the doing of good things, and it’s in this spirit that many of the tasks on the scavenger hunt list entail doing nice things for strangers. Examples:

Item #79 – Visit an orphanage, a children’s hospital or a juvenile detention center dressed as Cookie Monster and distribute cookies to the children living there, and capture that visit on video.

Item #84 – Send a military care package. This requires two photos submitted as proof: One image is the box with all the items in it; the other image is you deliver it to the post office.

Item #85 – Ask a senior citizen for their “bucket list.” Help them achieve one of the items on their bucket list. Capture the event on video.

So, how was I pulled into this slice of epic craziness? Simple – one of the tasks, Item #78, reads as follows: Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus. 

What’s an elopus? Well, I’m glad you asked:


Basically, if Dumbo and the Kraken had a one-night stand, you might get something like this. I’m thinking the lines to ride it at Disney World would be insane.


With the request made to me by the aforementioned Facebook friend (who, incidentally, also was the one responsible for gracing me with this little bit of awesome), I set to work attempting to concoct a story. Things were a bit hectic at the time, as I was with Kevin and we were in the midst of returning from the Shore Leave convention. I’d seen some jokes about the story from various people on Twitter, and noted a recurring theme…one I’d pondered myself. Realizing I couldn’t just go with the basic premise that this setup seemed to scream, I sat in my too-narrow airplane seat and pondered, and realized in a moment of clarity that I’d been going about it All. Wrong.

I started tapping keys, and this popped out:


Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and me, standing in line to get into a bar.

We should’ve walked in there by now, but you dragged your ass and now the place is too damned crowded. Did you think you were blazing a trail with this lame idea? You figured you’d find some new, clever take on such an obvious setup, and then slip in a twist ending playing off the fact that I’m an elopus. Wow. That’s original.

Hey. Quit staring at my trunk. My eyes are up here.

Not really working out, huh? Tough shit. Also? I’m tired of being the punchline for these things. I’ve been standing here all day, watching you fumble about for an idea, and what’ve I got to show for it? Eight blisters.

Wait. I see what you did there.


Once I Tweeted (or Facebook’d…I don’t recall which), another friend (yes, I have more than one), contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to write another story for her team. By this time I was home and back to work, so my head wasn’t in that game. Still, I managed to accommodate her request with this bit of scribbling, apparently while maintaining my heretofore unacknowledged fantasy of being reincarnated as an elopus:


Misha Collins? Yeah, I’ve got a bone to pick with you.

What’s this bullshit about sticking me in a story with you and the Queen of England? You understand I’ve got important elopus stuff to be doing, right?

Plus, everybody’s going with the “walk into a bar” bit for this scavenger hunt things of yours. Yawn. Sure, it’s a thrill and honor to share a few pints with you guys, though I was a little bothered when the Queen insisted on us going to that male strip joint.

But, after the zillionth time we went through it thanks to some other writer, and after all the drinking and chatting and occasional awkward glances at the strippers, I couldn’t help but notice how neither one of you pulled any muscles reaching for the check.

What the hell is up with that?

And there you go. I had a bit of fun with the stories, made some people smile along the way, and (hopefully) contributed just a little bit toward a good cause. If I’d had more time, I might well have agreed to write a few more stories, as I ended up getting about a dozen such requests, all told. It’s worth noting that every request I received–every single one–was polite and thoughtful, and even when I had to decline someone they remained gracious and good-spirited, in keeping with the tenets of “the hunt.” For me? I was flattered to be asked for help in the first place.


You can read more about writers far and wide who also assisted various GISHWHES teams (including my pals Kevin Dilmore and David Mack) with this great little roundup post by Twitter user “@GreenSamaa“:

Storify.com: #GISHWHES & Amazing Authors!

To everyone participating in this year’s GISHWHES, I hope you had fun, made some friends, and did something nice for fellow humans and not-humans. Good luck to everyone participating and competing for the grand prize. Maybe I’ll see some of you again next year.




Fun with Kirk and Spock book giveaway: We have a winner!

All righty, folks: After a healthy spirited completion in which no lives were lost and no blood spilled…we have a winner of the Fun with Kirk and Spock book giveway!

Our winner!
John Czarnek


Vulcans do not like fun in the sun.

They do not like it with a float,
They do not like it on a boat.
They do not like it with a fox,
Not even one with golden locks.


Congratulations to John, who’s now cordially invited to contact me privately via e-Mail at daytonward AT att DOT net, so that I might see about getting his book on its way to him.

For anyone else who’s interested in getting their own copy of the book, I encourage you to visit the nice folks over at Cider Mill Press and check it out. The page they’ve set up for it includes links to buy it from  your favorite local bookseller, or Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Fun with Kirk and Spock: Buy me!


Those still on the fence and who need more info can also visit the article posted by StarTrek.com:

StarTrek.com: FIRST LOOK – Fun with Kirk and Spock

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and most especially to those who chose to play along. Maybe we’ll do something like it again, one of these days.



Have some Fun with Kirk and Spock! Also? CONTEST!

Last fall, we heard the first rumblings about a new book coming for 2014, Fun with Kirk and Spock. To be published by Cider Mill Press, this new tome was to be a light-hearted parody of Star Trek as well as the classic Fun with Dick and Jane books which have been around since the 1930s. Upon hearing the news that this was coming down from Mount Booklympus, I promptly offered my gut prediction: “Candidate for Best Trek book ever? I think so.”

Well, the book’s here, boys and girls, and now we’ve got some serious deliberatin’ to do.


Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I was contacted by one of Cider Mill’s sales and marketing coordinators, who had come across my earlier blog posting and asked if I was interested in reviewing the book. As I was predisposed to like the thing, I naturally said, “Sure!”

With that bit of business out of the way, I don’t mind saying that this book is exactly as advertised. Using the Fun with Dick and Jane template as a point of departure, Fun with Kirk and Spock is basically an introduction to the original Star Trek, in which we get to see the intrepid captain and his brave crew go. See them go boldly, I say! Robb Pearlman’s text definitely evokes the old Dick and Jane vibe as it describes the Enterprise, the crew, and many of their adversaries and adventures. Several of the show’s classic tropes are affectionately skewered, such as Spock’s incessant logic, the typical fate of anyone wearing a red shirt, and Jim Kirk’s singular fighting prowess. Even the good captain’s penchant for wooing the ladies gets a bit of ribbing along the way.


An obvious highlight of the book is the illustrations provided by artist Gary Shipman. Stylized without going all the way to caricature, Shipman’s renderings of Kirk and the gang are reminiscent of one of the Star Trek storybooks published by Random House waaaaaay back in the 1970s, The Truth Machine. There’s also a hint of the fun stuff magazines like Mad, Cracked, and/or Crazy used to do with their Star Trek parodies back in the day, and I offer these comparisons in the nicest possible way. The artwork, like Pearlman’s writing, is whimsical, charming, and at times even hysterical.

Long story short, Fun with Kirk and Spock is a cute, entertaining book for kids and their parents who still harbor a bit of kid within themselves. As I said back in November when it first crossed my radar screen, my biggest beef with the thing is that I wasn’t the one writing it. I mean, come on:


(Actually, that looks like Mister Leslie, so he might be okay.)

StarTrek.com recently had an interview with Robb Pearlman, and how he came to write the book. You can check out that, along with some more sample pages by clicking on this linky-type thing right here:

StarTrek.com: FIRST LOOK – Fun with Kirk and Spock

Those interested in pre-ordering the book can do so via the website Cider Mill has established, with links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as a tool to help you find a local independent bookseller in your area. Personally, I think that last one is a very nice touch, and I highly encourage you to support your local indie book pusher.

Fun with Kirk and Spock: Buy me!

My verdict? Go and get this one. In fact, buy one for yourself, and one for that Trek fan who could use a little pick-me-up from the final frontier. We need more stuff like this, if for no other reason than to remind our Trekkie selves not to take everything so damned seriously all the time. If, in the midst of that, we’re able to introduce the next generation (see what I did there?) of fans to all the awesomeness that is–and can be–Star Trek, then that’s good, too.

“But, Dayton!” I can hear someone shouting from the rafters. “The book’s not due out until the end of the month! What if I want to get a copy right now?”

Well, as it happens, Cider Mill was nice enough to provide me with an extra copy of the book, to give away to one lucky reader as I see fit. However, it’d be kinda sorta boring if I just picked a random person for no discernible reason, right? Therefore, I announce a CONTEST!

Don’t worry, it’s easy.

Here’s the deal: I’ve selected an image from the book–one that hasn’t yet been seen on any of the other sites reporting on it…so far as I know, anyway. I’ve removed the text that accompanies the illustration.

YOUR MISSION: Provide a caption.

What are you working with? Behold:



1. The caption has to be provided here, in the comments section of the blog. Not on Facebook, or Twitter, or wherever else you happen to hear about this. Nope. Right here, down below in the comments. Anything posted anywhere else will be ignored.

2. The contest begins today (July 4th, starting when this post goes live), and will extend through Wednesday, July 9th. You can enter as many times as you like, but each entry should be its own comment. Multiple entries in the same comment will all be discarded.

3. Keep it PG-13.

4. Winner will be selected by me, so make me laugh, yo.

Your move, folks. Hit me.