“7 Common Offworlder Questions Klingons Are Tired of Hearing.”

So, you’ve decided to include the Klingon Empire in your summer vacation travel plans. Maybe you’ve even acquired yourself a copy of the brand spankin’ new  Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire.

What? You haven’t done that last thing? Egads! Read no farther until you can get thee to a purveyor of tomes and lay hands on one of these things, all right? What the hell are you thinking, planning a trip to the Empire without such a helpful, handy reference?

Are you back yet? Okay, then. Where were we? Oh, right. Klingon Empire. Vacation plans. Cool new book. Etc.

There’s always a bit of a learning curve when visiting a strange new world or civilization, amirite? That goes double for a place like the Empire, where the locals have a long history of rejecting outsiders. It’s only recently that Klingons have warmed to the idea of tourists in their midst, but you can bet there are already all sorts of things they’re tired of seeing from offworlders, along with several things they’re damned tired of hearing.

Therefore, in the interest of enhancing your visit to the Klingon Empire, allow me to provide you with some hopefully helpful tips which might spare you the dreaded “Klingon Eyeroll.”

Insight Editions:
Traveling to the Klingon Empire?
Beware These 7 Common Offworlders Questions
Klingons Are Tired of Hearing

All righty, then. I’ve given you the information. The rest is up to you. Happy traveling, and Qapla’!


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

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

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

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

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


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


I know, right?

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

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

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

Novel Spaces – “Passing the Baton…After A Fashion”

writerIt’s the 17th again, which means it’s my turn in the spotlight over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This month was greeted by the announcement of winners for an all-new rebooted version of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest, which gave me my writing start…a whole lotta years ago. I’ve always been a big cheerleader for the contest and even a bit protective of it over the years, so it was great to see writers and fans given a new chance to submit their Star Trek stories in the hopes having them published.

I also admit to feeling a little…old?

That didn’t stop me from celebrating the contest’s ten latest winners, but it also gave me cause to ruminate just a tad:

Novel Spaces – “Passing the Baton…After A Fashion”

Congratulations again to all the winners. Here’s hoping it’s just the first of many more sales!

My Novel Spaces archive.


Novel Spaces – “Still Collaborating After All These Years.”

writerWell, whaddaya know? It’s the 18th, which means I was a day late taking my turn at bat over at the Novel Spaces blog. Well, I was on time in my time zone, but the blog’s clock is set to Eastern. Derp.

This month, since I’m all about anniversaries and whatnot, I decided to ruminate a bit about the fact that my hetero life mate and frequent collaborator, Kevin Dilmore, and I have been a writing team for fifteen years. Hell, that’s longer than a lot of people stay married, or tied to a particular cable or internet provider. We’ve been together since before Twitter or Facebook or even :: gasp :: MySpace. Pluto was still a planet when we started writing together, and Space Shuttles were still being launched. Time flies when you’re having fun, huh?

Anyway, I figured all of that provided a good excuse to revisit the nature of our collaboration, and how we’ve managed to keep from running into traffic (or throwing the other person in front of a bus) even after all this time.

Novel Spaces – “Still Collaborating After All These Years.”

So, anyone else have any anecdotes about collaborating? Uplifting stories or tales of horror? Come on. Let’s see what you’ve got.

My Novel Spaces archive.


Novel Spaces – “It’s All About the Opening!”

writerWell, whaddaya know? It’s the 17th again, which means it’s my turn to take the stage over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This month, it’s a bit of basic writing advice, dealing with one of the most important facets of any story: The Opening. Why? Because here’s the thing: Your story will live or die on an editor’s desk in remarkably, even depressingly rapid fashion. For a novel, you might have three to five pages. Not chapters, pages. For a short story, you might get one page, but count on less. How much less? A few paragraphs, if you’re lucky. You might get the full page if the editor is in a good mood and doesn’t have five thousand other things clawing for their attention, but don’t count on it.

One page. Or less. Better make it a damned good one, amirite?

This time-tested nugget of editorial wisdom time was recently hammered home for me, and I decided that experience made good Novel Spaces fodder. The result?

Novel Spaces – “It’s All About the Opening!”

Any of you writer types want to share their experiences with good–and bad–openings? Regardless of our individual experience level, we’ve all got war stories, don’t we?

My Novel Spaces archive.


Novel Spaces – “The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project.”

writerWhat? It’s the 17th again? Didn’t we just do one of these, like, a month or so ago?

Of course, being the 17th means it must once again be my turn at bat over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This time around, as I labor to complete a Writing Project That Will Not Die, my thoughts turned to the repetitive nature of the “writer’s life,” and how so much of what a writer encounters during the life cycle of a project is repeatable. Indeed, such things seem unavoidable, no matter how many times we tell ourselves, “Yep! I’ve definitely learned my lesson. I’m going to make some changes and to tackle the next project so much better than this one.”

Yeah. Whatever.

The result of that sleep-deprived bit of rumination is something I’ve decided to call “The 7 Phases of  Almost Any Project.” In short, it goes like this:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Procrastination
  3. Disillusionment
  4. Panic
  5. Self-Loathing
  6. Cramming
  7. Coma

For the details on each phase of this “writer’s life cycle,” check out the full article:

Novel Spaces – “The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project”

If you find yourself nodding and pointing at the screen and yelling stuff like, “Hell yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! See, honey! Not just me!” then post your anecdotes to the comments.

My Novel Spaces archive.


Novel Spaces – “Holiday Gifts for Writers: 2015 Edition!”

writerWell, whaddaya know? It’s the 17th again, and that brings with it my next time in the spotlight over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This month, and with most us neck-deep in the insanity of the holiday season, I decided it was a good time to freshen up a list I assembled last year. Yep, it’s yet another in a long line you can find choking the intrawebz this time o year: gift ideas for the writer on your holiday shopping list. Of course, it’s me, so you know I couldn’t do something like this without having at least a little fun. What did I end up with?

Novel Spaces – “Holiday Gifts for Writers: 2015 Edition!”

All righty, then. What else makes a good gift for the writers on your shopping lists? If you’re a writer, what sort of gift would you most appreciate? Be you gift giver or hopeful recipient, do you have your own suggestions, sincere or otherwise?

My Novel Spaces archive.


Guest blogging over at TrekCore!

People just never learn, do they?

They see that I have a blog, and that I tend to yammer at length about all sorts of things that normal, well-adjusted people could give a damn about. They’re busy with…you know…lives and stuff. So, here I am, babbling into the aether about whatever topic tickles my fancy, in and around the unending, fumbling and quite shameless attempts to sell you on my various collected scribblings from this or that publisher.

You think that’d be enough, but then sometimes, somebody steps forward and asks me to bring my particular flavor of mindless blathering into their realm.

Forgive them, dear readers. They know not what they do.

What’s on tap this time? Well, with the return of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contest, the good folks over the Star Trek fan news site TrekCore invited me to write a bit about the contest’s original incarnation, and how it plucked me from obscurity and allowed me to evolve into the minor irritant you all know and love.

Obviously the contest is near and snw1dear to me, and have many fond memories of those days (holy crap…eighteen years since the first one?). I don’t know if this new iteration will have the same kind of legs, or if it will help to launch the careers of a new crop of writers. I’d certainly like to see it happen for a few fortunate would-be word pushers.

So, while we wait for the new contest’s submission period to wind down on January 15th, maybe you’ll take a few minutes and have a gander at my little bit of reminiscing:

TrekCore: My Journey to “Strange New Worlds”

Many thanks to the gang over at TrekCore for inviting me into their playground for a bit. If anybody asks, that swing was broken when I got there. Honest.


Novel Spaces – “My Adopted Hometown”

writerAnother month, another 17th day of that month. Funny how that works, right? And with the 17th comes my next at bat over at the Novel Spaces blog!

This time around, all of us are taking turns responding to a theme prompt. In this case, it’s “Where I Live.” So, hey! You get to read about me sweet-talking the city that’s been my home for more than two decades, and some of the cool stuff you could be doing if you were here with me.

Novel Spaces – “My Adopted Hometown”

Oh, and I meant what I said about leaving here hungry. Seriously. That shit’s on you.

My Novel Spaces archive.


Novel Spaces – “When It’s No Longer Fan Fiction”

writerWell, the 17th almost got away from me, but I managed to hunker down and finish my latest installment for the Novel Spaces blog.

(I’m sure you all were worried, right?)

This month–I take advantage of the recently announced return of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contest to offer up an extended version of an answer I’ve been providing with a bit more frequency this past week or so: “What’s the difference between fan fiction and what you do, Dayton, and when does the former become the latter?”

Yeah, I get that one a lot, and even more so now with the contest in full swing.

Anyway, here’s a somewhat longer answer to that question, at least the way I see it from where I sit in my comfy recliner at stately Ward Manor:

Novel Spaces – “When It’s No Longer Fan Fiction”

Along the way, I touch on some of the options available open to writers looking to break into licensed fiction writing, notably Amazon’s Kindle Worlds platform. Maybe that’s something you might want to give a try? Have a look-see, whydontcha.

My Novel Spaces archive.