Catching Up: Interviews and Planet Comicon!

Well, last week was a thing.

I spent most of it battling illness, being stubborn about it and trying to keep all the balls in the air. It started midweek, and only went downhill from there, to the point that when Saturday came around, I was a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-headed, fevered, unable to really rest person.

planetcomiconBetween that and some family issues Kevin was dealing with, we made the decision to withdraw from the tables we’d planned to man all weekend at Planet Comicon, Kansas City’s awesome pop culture convention/party. It was the fair thing to do, given that Kevin was already scheduled to work a good portion of the weekend at Hallmark’s PopMinded booth and my not even being there at all on Friday due to my own work scheduled. With all of that and my being sick, we knew the con could reassign those tables to other creators/vendors who were on a waiting list. That said, both Kevin and I missed the opportunity to spend the weekend hanging out with friends, making new friends, and – yes – offering our various titles and other wares for sale.

On the other hand, we’d also both made a commitment to friends and fellow writers Jennifer Frontera and Jason Arnett to participate in a panel Jennifer was moderating on Sunday about writing “for hire” and/or for licensed properties. Kevin would be back at the con to continue helping out with the PopMinded booth on Sunday, so all that remained was for me to swallow enough meds to keep me upright and presentable for a few hours. So, I jammed a bunch of stuff down my throat with a Mountain Dew chaser and with my trusty sidekick, daughter Addison, set off for Bartle Hall.

The panel went off nicely, I thought. Jeni was a superb moderator, hitting us with a string of well-considered questions that generated some good discussion between the four of us and also prompted some great questions from our audience. After the panel, Jason graciously hosted Kevin and me at his table for a short while, where we were able to sign books for people who’d been trying to track us down throughout the weekend.

My biggest regret of the weekend was not being able to catch up with everybody I’d been hoping to see, but also that we needed to back out on our commitment to the con itself. The gang who runs Planet Comicon have always been incredibly supportive of me and Kevin, and we hate not being able to participate in the entire weekend’s fun and games. Hopefully we’ll be back to normal for next year, when Planet throws its 20th anniversary party!

DrasticMeasures-CoverElsewhere, last week’s distractions made me all but completely forget that yet another interview with me about Drastic Measures was made available for your listening torture enjoyment. Matthew Miller from TrekZone.org contacted me a week or so ago to talk about the new book, and damned if we almost got through the thing before one of us remembered why we were talking in the first place. Matthew’s provided the results of that gabfest over at the TrekZone site, so you’re free to stick them in your ears at your convenience. Check it out:

TrekZone.org: Author Dayton Ward On Writing Trek Novels

Many thanks to Matthew for hosting the interview!

Speaking of interviews, I know of two others which are prepping to drop in the coming days, and I have another phone interview scheduled for this evening. Between now and then, I’ll be finalizing the manuscript for a book project that’s due later this week.

Busy writer is busy!

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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.

Empty Space: A Kickstarter project by Michael Jan Friedman.

Well, lookie what we have here.

My buddy Mike Friedman is at it again. First off, the dude has a list of publishing credits about a mile long, encompassing novels, short stories, comics, and TV. He’s been around the block a few times. About once every year or so, he undertakes a somewhat bold quest of bringing to life some writing project without the benefit of a publisher. In recent years, he’s turned to crowdfunding to help him amass the money necessary to bring these plans to fruition. He tends to set modest fundraising goals with these things, and in every case (four, so far), he’s hit his mark and delivered on everything promised.

He’s also one of the genuinely good, decent guys in this whole writing business thing, and I really am helpless to resist him when he pulls something like this.

This time, though, Mike’s stepping up his game. Instead of prose novels or short story collections, he’s swinging for the fences and trying to bring to life a new graphic novel: Empty Space.

What’s it all about? Well, I should probably let Mike tell you:


I’ve described Empty Space as a cross between Star Trek and Lost, but it’s really more than that. It’s a twisty, turny, sometimes unsettling narrative set against the limitless backdrop of the stars, with the sort of bizarre alien species and against-all-odds derring-do that’s always characterized the best space adventure–along with a heaping dollop of the macabre.

This is the kind of tale I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. In fact, it’s a dream project for a guy who fell in love with comics and science fiction at the age of six and never stopped loving them.

It’s also a chance for me to give back to you–the readers who’ve been following me for decades–the best, most intriguing, and most entertaining work I can possibly come up with. If at any time in your immersion in Empty Space you think you know where the story is going…I humbly invite you to think again.


Okay. I’m in.

Empty Space is intended to be a 128-page graphic novel, filled to overflowing with juicy art and page-turning story shenanigans. There’s also a boatload of cool perks for those choosing to back the project. As I write this, I’ve already become a backer, because hey! It’s Mike.

For the complete rundown on Empty Space and all the delicious stuff waiting for those who opt in, run on over to Kickstarter and check out the project’s page:

Empty Space by Museworthy, Inc.

emptyspace

Good luck, Mike! I hope you make it, and not just because I want my own copy of this to hold in my grubby little paws.

Looking back at my 2017.

It’d be easy to allow my last blog posting of 2017 to wallow in the same sort of snark and smartassery that I employed as a defense mechanism pretty much every day while reading the news this past year. Instead, I’m going to end things on a high note.

IMG_2454So far as personal milestones go, I turned 50 this year. Rather than dwell on the sorts of things that seem to characterize the typical “mid-life crisis,” I’d already made the decision well ahead of my birthday to embrace full-on my half-century mark. I’ve told people that I had much more fun during my 40s than I did my 30s, due in no small part to family and friends as well as the rather odd way that I’ve managed to carve out something resembling a living. I don’t expect that to change just because my odometer turned over. I don’t feel 50, people tell me I don’t look 50, and I sure as hell don’t act 50, so screw it.

Speaking of the family, Michi and the girls are all happy and healthy. Addy turned 11 while Erin turned 9. I know it sounds cliché, but of everything I’ve accomplished in life to this point, being a decent husband and dad are the things in which I take the most pride. I’ll probably always be a work in progress on both of those fronts, but I have plenty of reasons to keep at it. 🙂

So far as writing, it was a bit of an odd year. Remember all those things I talked about writing during 2016? Well, they all showed up during 2017:

2017-cover-gallery

 

Two Star Trek: The Next Generation novels – as well as my second “travel guide,” this time focusing on The Klingon Empire, dominated my Star Trek publications during the year, along with mine and Kevin’s first-ever comic collaboration from 2016 appearing in the Star Trek: Waypoint mini-series paperback collection. 2017 also brought with it my first professional forays into the realms of Planet of the Apes and Predator. Both of those were fun and scratched specific fanboy writing itches, and I’m hoping to revisit both universes, one of these days. Elsewhere on the planet of apes, I contributed my second essay to the gang at Sequart, for their collection Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos, edited by friends Rich Handley and Joseph Berenato.

Also, and after a lot of planning and waiting, I teamed up with colleagues David Lee Summers, Carol Hightshoe, Jennifer Brozek, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt and we worked with Kevin J. Anderson’s WordFire Press to publish Maximum Velocity: The Best of Full-Throttle Space Tales.

DrasticMeasures-CoverAs for my writing during 2017, the project with the highest profile is probably Drastic Measures, my Star Trek: Discovery novel which was announced with a bit of fanfare at the big Star Trek convention in Las Vegas back in August. I actually knew as far back as the 2016 con that I’d be writing the book, but the secrecy ninjas from CBS have kept a tight lid on announcing such things until the appropriate time.

Going back even farther, I’d been talking at fairly regular intervals with my dear friend, Kirsten Beyer, who’s been in the Discovery writer’s room from the very beginning. I had a ringside seat as the show gestated and came together over a period of more than eighteen months, so yeah…I’m kind of biased. It was an interesting experience, trying to write a tie-in for a show that literally was being developed at the same time, and Kirsten played a big part in my being able to pull that off. Drastic Measures is due to be published on February 6th, 2018.

As for my other writing during 2017, I’m actually surprised at closing out the year without being able to announce or talk much about any of it because several of these things have not yet been formally announced by their respective publishers.

Two of those projects were completed and are scheduled to be published this coming summer. A project for another client was completed, but it’s looking increasingly as though it will never see the light of day. I was paid in full for my work, but the point of writing for publication is that your writing is…you know…published, so that people can experience it and (hopefully) enjoy it. At last report, there’s a slight glimmer of hope that the project will go forward, but the issues standing in its way are way above me and affect a number of people, and I feel more sorry for them than the fate of my little contribution.

Another tie-in project for which I signed a contract and have written an outline has been stalled somewhere between my client and the licensor, and I honestly have no idea when it might get the green light to move forward. I’ve been waiting months to hear some news, but my book is an admittedly very small fish in a very large pond. Such is the life of a freelancer. It’s still possible I might get some updates and be able to get writing, and maybe see this published either late in 2018 or early 2019.

What else do I have going? For those of you who may have missed it, back in November I accepted an offer to write full-time in an office setting. It’s both an interesting change of pace (and scenery!) and a nice counter to my fiction writing. My first month at the new gig has been educational and rewarding, as I’ve written two articles of my own and have three more in various stages of development, provided feedback on various pieces written by my teammates, and I’m currently editing an article submitted over the transom for our review. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working with that piece’s authors to ready it for publication. So far, so good. 🙂

On the freelance front, I have contracts with two other clients that are now in an “active” status so far as my writing schedule. I have a manuscript due to one client on February 22nd, with a planned publication date in early 2019. I’m also due to start plotting with the other client after the holiday so we can see about getting on with that writing. A project for another client is still hanging in a low orbit, and I’m hoping to start working on an outline early in the new year.

One of the most frequent questions I get is whether I’ll be writing more Star Trek novels for Pocket Books. At present, I’m not under contract with them for anything beyond the upcoming Drastic Measures. Simon & Schuster is, at last report, finalizing their new licensing agreement CBS, and once that’s done I hope Pocket will see fit to contact me.

As I said last year and repeat as often as I can, I’m grateful to my clients who continue to employ me, my readers who continue to support me, and my family and friends who are in my corner even when I’m working often insane hours to meet a deadline. Kevin naturally gets his own shout-out because Kevin! I literally could not do what I get to do without all of you, and hey! If you’re an editor or publisher reading this, I’m still a freelancer, ever on the prowl for more work. 😀

Okay, 2018: Bring it on.

“Do you accept guest posts?”

Those of you who follow my Facebook updates may have seen me post something pithy last weekend.

“Um, Dayton? Wanna be a little more specific there, bro?”

Sure. Here’s what I’m talking about, posted this past Saturday:


Dear Unsolicited Wannabe Guest Blog Provider of Crap Having Nothing At All To Do With My Site,

I’ve spent a number of years cultivating a readership whose support and loyalty far surpasses its size. I’m rather protective of them. Kindly fuck off and get your own.

Signed,
Me


“Wow, Dayton,” I can hear some of you saying. “That’s pretty damned harsh.”

Yeah, I guess it is, but here’s the thing: Sure, the message is rather blunt, but the sentiment behind it is genuine, particularly when we’re talking about the sort of e-mail I get on this topic. For example:


Hello There!

I was conducting content research on [something not at all to do with anything I post about here] and I chanced upon your site daytonward.wordpress.com. I must appreciate that the content of your website is par excellence and exceptionally useful.

I am [redacted], an avid blogger for XX years, with special interests in [again, nothing at all to do with anything you’ll generally read about here]. Today I am a self-taught expert in the subject and over the years, have consistently contributed articles and blogs to top [topic specific] sites. My efforts have been well recognized and accepted in the [again, nothing to do with me] industry.

At this juncture, I am looking forward to attaching myself as a guest blogger to your site by contributing an article in your blogs/site. Rest assured that, this article will be highly informative and educative. While I am not looking at any monetary benefits, instead we could consider the possibility mentioning my site/resource once within the article.

Do let me know if this sounds good and works for you – I can provide you some of my previous work samples or I can initiate writing an article for daytonward.wordpress.com right away.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

[name redacted]

Sounds pretty cool, right?

implied-facepalm

Now, I have no reason to doubt this person is in fact all they say they are. That’s not really the issue. For me, it’s the rather bold assertion that my audience is somehow available to anyone I invite aboard to hock their wares.

I don’t know how other bloggers feel, but that sort of thing actually kinda sorta pisses me off.

This isn’t the first time I’ve received this sort of mailing, and while I did not respond to this latest solicitation in similar fashion, it still irked me. The simple fact is that people like this aren’t making these requests out of the goodness of their hearts. Of course not.

They’re hoping to promote some product or service, and they want to latch on to the readers of other sites and blogs to do it. They’re aiming to literally take over someone else’s platform to drive web traffic for their own gain, which I consider to be something of a dick move. And even though it wouldn’t have made a difference in these cases, they wanted to do it for free.

Well, fuck that.

I meant what I said up there. Some of you have been following my antics for years…in some cases the better part of two decades. You’ve been here as my so-called writing career has grown. You’ve bought my books, or read them via your library or because you received them as gifts. You’ve taken the time to tell me what you did and didn’t like about them, and you’ve told other people to give them a try.

All of that means a lot to me; more than I can say. The very idea of squandering any of that goodwill, even long enough to let some stranger try to throw you a sales pitch, doesn’t sit very well with me.

Now, that’s not to say I’m opposed to the idea of guest posting altogether. If a friend or professional colleague approached me about hosting a guest blog for them, I’d at least consider it. In those cases, it’s a safe bet that the other person and I have shared interests, or write similar types of stories, or whatever. It could even be another writer with whom I’m not acquainted but who’s trying to conduct a “blog tour” while promoting a book I think you might like. In these scenarios, I’d expect the other person do actually do their homework before approaching me, and be relatively confident that their proposed guest post would actually be of interest to you. Given those considerations, I’d at least entertain the idea and see where it goes. If that’s you, then drop me a line, and let’s talk.

But random people selling random stuff? No way.

Now, quit reading this and go buy all my stuff, all right? 😉

Let’s do another “Ask Dayton Anything” thing.

Why? Because it’s been a while, and I’m in the midst of pushing words around a screen in a somewhat haphazard fashion at the moment, and I actually (:: gasp! ::) have a bit of free time as I move between major writing projects.

So, here’s the deal: Ask me anything, if you’re so inclined, and I’ll do my best to provide a brief yet thoughtful answer. If I can’t conjure such a reply, you’ll instead receive a wise-assed comment, created and tailored especially for you! It’s sort of like an “AMA” over on Reddit, but without the requirement of me needing to drown myself afterward in a vat of Purell.

ward-fingerAlso, this little exercise shouldn’t be confused with the “Ask Dayton” bits that I’ve done every so often over at the G&T Show. The guy who answers those queries is a rather surly dick who likes to growl and snap his way through whatever oddball questions the show’s listeners throw his way. While that guy looks like me, sounds like me, and has the same name as me, we’re two totally different people. Really. I mean, look at this face. Does this look like lovable, cuddly me?

Didn’t think so.

Asker’s choice, so far as the topic goes. We can talk about writing, pop culture bullshit, deep thoughtful musings on the duality of man and the blurred line between good and evil, the tragedy of a classic 80s show like Dynasty getting a truly godawful reboot while Dark Matter fans are left holding a bag with a hole in the bottom, whatever.

I reserve the right not to answer anything I deem too personal or inappropriate for this particular venue, but this is a rule I’ve never actually had to invoke. Still, it never hurts to make such things clear up front.

Okey-dokey, then. Who’s got a question?

horshack

In Discussion with…me!

Tony Healey is a busy guy.

He’s a writer, for one thing, but when he’s not hard at work penning his own novels and short stories, he takes time here and there to talk with other writers. It’s a new segment on his website called “In Discussion With….” and I have the honor of batting third in the lineup of interviews he’s assembling.

What do we talk about? Well, the interview was prompted by my recent Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Hearts and Minds, but his questions to me cover a fair bit of ground, including my origin story as well as working for licensed properties like Star Trek and 24, and how I juggle the so-called life of being a freelance writer for hire. We also talk about my collaborations with Kevin and my upcoming Star Trek: Discovery novel along with various other topics. Then Tony hits me with a surprising round of “rapid fire” questions designed to keep me on my toes. It was a fun interview, and now it’s available for you to check out:

TonyHealey.com – In Discussion With…Dayton Ward

daytonward-vegas01

Many thanks to Tony for the interview. Be sure to check out his own list of novels and short fiction over on his site!

 

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.

trek-vegas-2017

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

2017 Scribe Award winners announced!

iamtwLast week At Comic-con International in San Diego, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) held the annual “Scribe Awards,” which celebrates excellence in the field of writing licensed works that tie into other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in these other formats, and which include every genre from mainstream police procedurals to science fiction, fantasy, and horror to romance.

Here’s the complete list of nominees, with the winner in each category in bold.

The Eleventh Annual Scribe Awards

 

Best Adapted – General and Speculative

Assassin’s Creed by Christie Golden
Road to Perdition by Max Allan Collins
Suicide Squad by Marv Wolfman

Best Audio

Dark Shadows: Blood & Fire by Roy Gill
Torchwood: Broken by Joseph Lidster
Torchwood: Uncanny Valley by David Llewellyn
Doctor Who: Mouthless Dead by John Pritchard

Best General Original

24: Trial by Fire by Dayton Ward
Don Pendleton’s The Executioner: Missile Intercept by Michael Black
Murder Never Knocks by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Robert B. Parker’s Slow Burn by Ace Atkins
Tom Clancy’s True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney

Short Fiction

“A Dangerous Cat” by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
The X-Files: “Drive Time” by Jon McGoran
The X-Files: “An Eye for an Eye” by George Ivanoff
The X-Files: “Love Lost” by Yvonne Navarro
The X-Files: “XXX” by Glenn Greenberg

Best Speculative Original

Assassin’s Creed: Heresy by Christie Golden
Warhammer 40,000: Warden of the Blade by David Annandale
Star Trek: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward
Supernatural: Mythmaker by Tim Waggoner

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, especially to my good friend Christie Golden, who not only was a double winner this time around, but also received from IAMTW the Faust Award, elevating her to Grandmaster status within our little cabal. She now stands alongside previous recipients Alan Dean Foster, Terrance Dicks, William Johnston, Diane Duane, Donald Bain, Kevin J. Anderson, Ann Crispin, Peter David, and Keith R.A. DeCandido.

Many thanks to the judges and the rest of the IAMTW membership for continuing to sponsor the Scribes and for helping to shine some light and attention on an oft-overlooked and unappreciated corner of the publishing world.