The Diary of Jill Woodbine, by Jay Smith.

Hey, you.

Yeah, you.

Stop what you’re doing, and go and buy this book right now. Buy it, read it, love it.


I hear a few of you asking, “What the hell are you babbling about, Ward?”

It’s possible that a few of you reading this are acquainted with HG World. For those who aren’t: It’s an audio drama series created and written by Jay Smith and chronicling the lives (and deaths, and undeaths) of various people caught up in a zombie apocalypse. Since 2009, Smith and a talented troupe of voice actors and behind-the-scenes folks have created two seasons’ worth of zombie goodness, making the product of their loving labor freely available to anyone who cares to stick it in their ears. For good reason, the series is a winner of the prestigious Parsec Award.

As the saga of HG World continues to unfold, Jay wrote a spinoff audio story, The Diary of Jill Woodbine, read by voice actor Veronica Giguere. The tale centers around young Jill Woodbine, a journalist who has managed to make her way to a “relocation center,” which formerly was a home improvement big box store, HG World, and offers a new perspective on the plotlines unfolding within the episodes of the “main” show.

You know what? The story kicks ass. It’s a great listen. If you’re a fan of zombie apocalypse stories, you know there’s a lot of material out there, of varying quality. Jay’s stories are definitely among the better offerings you’re liable to find, and Jill Woodbine is some of the best material he’s written for his own series.

Jay’s taken Jill’s story and transformed it from its audio roots into a novel. While I enjoy listening to Jay’s scripts come to life through the power of the spoken word, I have to say that I absolutely relished the chance to read his prose. Now you can, too. If you’re of a mind to do so, check out the preview of Jay’s Jill Woodbine novel, and if you like what you read, consider buying the e-Book and supporting a talented author. The Diary of Jill Woodbine, by Jay Smith

Give it a look, zombie fans. You’ll dig it.


Ask Dayton #95 on the G and T Show: “Speaking Into the Microphone.”

Hey, it’s Sunday!

Well, it was Sunday yesterday, anyway.

As I was caught up during this past weekend in all the goings-on over at this year’s rather sizable Planet Comicon here in Kansas City, I didn’t get to various housekeeping details here in Blogville. Therefore, I totally missed yesterday’s episode of the Sunday G and T Show. I heard through the grapevine that there were some technical glitches which may or may not have been attributed to Nick’s hair dryer overloading the power strip, or whatever. I mean, I hear things, and….


The show did feature a new “Ask Dayton” query, though. I made it! Two weeks in a row! We might just be back to whatever passes for normal around here. What was up this time around? Glad you asked:

Dear Dayton,

We all know you are a great New York Times bestselling author. Belayed congratulations, by the way. But while I was at work this past week I started listening to a new audio drama called HG World which had Dayton Ward voicing Chep.

So my question for you is; are you the Dayton Ward voicing Chep and why have you not told your loyal fan that you also have a fascination with doing zombie apocalypse audio dramas?

Live Long and Prosper

No, that’s the other Dayton Ward: the coked-out former CEO of an internet startup company who suddenly woke up one morning and realized that he’d blown all his capital on drugs, booze, and hookers. The last I heard, he was working the night shift cleaning the private booths at an adult video arcade in Abilene, Kansas.

Okay, fine. You got me. I’m that Dayton Ward. The voice guy, I mean, not the video arcade dude. Not yet, anyway.

I’ve been told on occasion that I have a voice for radio. Come to think of it, I’ve also been told I have a face for radio, but that’s a different question for another day. To answer your question, I don’t know that I’d say I have a fascination for voicing audio dramas, zombie apocalypse or otherwise. How did I come to be involved with HG World? Like so many things, it just sort of happened. The show’s creator, Jay Smith, and I have several mutual friends, both in “the real world” as well as social media venues like Facebook and Twitter. It was because of that tangled web of online friendships and casual acquaintances that I became aware of the show.

A few years ago, Jay had need of a few folks to provide dialogue for a handful of minor characters, and I responded to his request for assistance. After an evening spent yammering into my headset, I was able to provide him with snippets of dialogue he could insert into the episode in production. I ended up doing the same thing for the next episode, after which Jay finally learned his lesson and knew better than to ask me to do that sort of thing ever again.

But, I can add something cool to the end of this little tale: I’ve actually written for HG World. Sort of. A while back, Jay asked me and a couple of other folks to write scripts for a special series of stories he was planning to do. That actually was my first go at writing a script of any sort, and according to Jay I didn’t fuck it up too badly. So far as I know, he’s still planning to do that once he wraps production on the main series. Stay tuned for updates as appropriate.

Meanwhile, I’ve got that whole Space Marshal Dylan McCade audio serial thing to worry about at some point. I’m not writing the scripts for the audio adaptations, but the SciFi Commons folks are still kind of expecting me to write the story from which the scripts will spring.

I suppose I should get on that shit, one of these days.

This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #134 on March 16th, 2014. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The Sunday G&T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

Thanks again to Nick, Terry and Mike for making me a part of their show.

Hey! HG World is a Parsec nominee, too!

Well, whaddaya know? More friends with podcasts (not to be mistaken for friends with benefits) are getting nominated for the Parsec Awards!

In this case, I’m talking about Jay Smith and his merry band of talented voice actors and production personnel over at 3015 North Studios, who already can point to one Parsec on their shelf, receiving their second consecutive nomination for their kick-ass zombie apocalypse audio drama, HG World.

If you’re not a fan, well…what the hell’s wrong with you? Get on over to the show’s page on Podbean and commence to all that downloading/streaming/listening action. It’s all there, waiting for you, and your juicy, tasty brains.

You can read the full list of Parsec nominees here.

Good luck to Jay and the whole HG World gang!

Need a Halloween pick-me-up? Listen to HG World!

Yeah, you could watch some of your horror flicks on DVD to get yourself into the spirit of Halloween, or catch marathons on some of the cable channels. You could mainline episodes of The Walking Dead or True Blood, sure. Or, you could close your eyes, open your ears, and let the smooth, sultry sounds of a well-produced, kick-ass audio drama fire up your imagination.

I speak, of course, about HG World, the Parsec Award-winning zombie apocalypse podcast audio drama that is the brainchild of friend and fellow word slinger Jay Smith.

In production for two years now, HG World tells the story of various survivors of a global uprising of the undead. Most of the action takes place in and around rural Pennsylvania, and features a cast and crew of volunteer voice actors and production personnel contributing from points all around the world. I could tell you more, but Jay has gone to the trouble of drafting a sweet little press release, and I don’t want to steal any more of this thunder. Read, yo:

Atlanta, GA, September 10, 2011: HG World (, the story of survivors of a global zombie uprising, has won a 2011 Parsec Award ( representing excellence in the medium of audio drama produced for the Internet. The ceremony was held September 3rd at DragonCon (, one of the nation’s largest fan-run popular culture conventions in Atlanta, Georgia. The show, set mainly in northwestern Pennsylvania and across the Commonwealth, is the product of a global cast and production team lead by Harrisburg, PA resident Jay Smith.

“When we started the show in 2009,” Writer and Producer Jay Smith said after the ceremony, “I had no idea that audio drama was something anyone really cared about in this age of megapixels and Michael Bay pyrotechnics, but it really is a thriving storytelling medium with hundreds of shows out there to hear – many for free. The field was very competitive which makes this award all the more gratifying. We have actors on three continents producing excellent work and a brilliant, passionate production team led by Michael L Stokes that creates a unique, quality audio drama series.”

HG World was nominated for the PARSEC by fans and finalists were chosen by a yearly steering committee. Those finalists were then voted on by an independent panel of judges from outside of podcasting. Awards are given in several categories ranging from content to audio quality. The award was accepted by show producers Scott Pigg and Bryan Lincoln (who also won a PARSEC for Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation – Fullcast Podcast). Mur Lafferty, Michael R. Mennenga & Tracy Hickman founded The Parsec Awards in 2006 to celebrate Speculative Fiction Podcasting, under the banner of Farpoint Media.

When asked why HG World was selected over other finalist, Smith explained, “I have no idea. We simply try to tell a story about good people in a very bad situation. It isn’t about undead zombies and gore so much as it is about the real monsters that still have a pulse. I think our characters resonate with listeners and our growth as a production over the years is the result of a small, but widening community of fans who appreciate the art of audio fiction and we try to make the most of that medium.”

Listeners can subscribe to the show through iTunes or the show’s podcast feed ( to receive new episodes as they are released. HG World is currently at work producing its third season of episodes. Between releases, Producer Bryan Lincoln interviews authors, actors and producers in an interview show called “Behind the Screams.”

So…you know…go and get some of that zombie podcast action. There’s more than enough there to keep you up for a bunch of nights up to and past Halloween. Pass the brains, would ya?

Congratulations to HG WORLD!

Good news, everyone! Word out of Dragon*Con is that HG World, the kick-ass zombie apocalypse audio drama and brainchild of super-cool guy Jay Smith, has won this year’s Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form).


You can read the complete list of Parsec winners and finalists right here.

This is truly awesome news for Jay and the entire HG World gang. Congratulations, everybody! Ya done good!

Hearing people read the stuff you wrote.

So, last night, I did something fun.

Jay Smith, the creator and creative Yoda behind the kickass “zombie apocalypse” audio drama series HG World, sent me a batch of audio sample files to review. They consisted of “audition clips,” recorded by voice actors who are in the process of trying out to become members of the HGW production. Specifically, they were auditioning for the story I wrote for Jay, “…And Then One Night, All Hell Broke Loose.”

The auditions consisted of the actors recording various lines of dialogue, either lines plucked directly from the script, or variations perhaps intended to evoke a particular vibe or type of delivery. My story features both military and civilian characters, and Jay supplied me with a few different actors’ takes on various characters. While a few didn’t work for me at all, a handful really knocked my socks off. One voice actor in particular, who read lines for at least three different characters, knocked it out of the park, so far as I’m concerned. I compiled a list of my gut reactions to each audio sample, and sent that on to Jay for review.

I have to say, hearing your words come out of someone else’s mouth is pretty dang cool. So far, I’ve only had one story of mine adapted for audio presentation, that being “Stop-Loss” performed by voice actor Richard L. Richards, Jr., performing for Well Told Tales. That story’s told in first-person POV, and for my money he nailed the tone of my main character to perfection.

My HGW story is a different animal entirely, with multiple voice roles, so I’m very anxious to see how the finished episode turns out. My thanks and compliments go out to those folks who took the time to audition. The final decisions regarding casting will be Jay’s, but I certainly appreciated and enjoyed being in on what must be a difficult decision-making process.

Talkin’ about audio drama at Shore Leave.

I’ve been slow to get back into the blogging groove since returning from last weekend’s Shore Leave convention. Sorry about that, and I’m hoping to crank things back up here shortly.

One of the more interesting — if not highly-attended — panels during the convention was a discussion about radio and audio dramas. Hosted by HG World creator and driving force Jay Smith (dr_p_venkman) and with me and Keith DeCandido (kradical) occupying other empty chairs, we proceeded to have what ended up being a rather fun conversation.

The topics ran from favorite examples of classic radio drama (often referred to today as “old-time radio”) as well as audiobooks and more recent attempts at full-cast audio dramas, and finally the resurgence of the audio drama format thanks to the internet and podcasting. HG World was the hook, of course, and provided Jay with plenty of examples to illustrate various points as we fielded questions from our audience, which started with 1 member at the top of the hour before finally swelling to 12. Hey, what they lacked in numbers, they more than made up for with enthusiasm.

Jay, ever the scheming one, recorded the entire hour on video, and has made the panel discussion available for your viewing pleasure in four installments on YouTube:

OTR to MP3 – July 9th, 2011, Shore Leave 33:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

The audio isn’t always the greatest, given that for the first part of the hour we were basically talking to one or three people on the front row five feet from us, so we weren’t yelling to be heard in the back. After watching it, I realized that I did my level best to dork up the entire thing, sitting as I did with a large enough space between me and Keith that all three of us don’t always fit into the picture. Whoops.

Thanks to Jay for hosting the panel, for inviting me to play, and for posting the whole thing for others to see.

All Hell’s fixin’ to break loose!

Listen up, zombie fans!

Last night, I received word from Jay Smith (dr_p_venkman), creator and main driving force behind the kickass audio drama podcast series HG World, that he’s started the casting process for two stories, “Last One Standing” by Terri Osborne (terri_osborne) and my own “…And Then One Night, All Hell Broke Loose.” These are two of four stories Jay commissioned last year to serve as a bridge to HGW’s forthcoming second season.

For those of you who fancy yourself voice actors (unlike, say, me), Jay has posted the casting/audition info for both episodes over at the Audio Drama Talk forums.

I certainly had fun writing my episode, and Jay helped me over the humps with respect to the pesky quirks of writing for an audio drama. As I told him last night, it’s going to be fascinating listening in as actors give voice to my scribblings.

At present, Jay’s plan is to have casting calls finished by the end of June, and ramping up actual episode production by late August, with an eye toward releasing the finished installments in the late fall.

More info as it becomes available, but for now? I’m jazzed. Thanks again to Jay for inviting me into his post-apocalyptic sandbox to play!

The Parsec Awards…and HG World!

The nomination process for the 2011 Parsec Awards is underway, and because I have a special kind of man-love for my friend Jay Smith (aka dr_p_venkman) and his talented army of voice actors and production personnel over at 3015 North Studios, I’m asking you kind reader-folk to head on over to the Award’s nomination page and vote for their kick-ass zombie apocalypse audio drama, HG World.

How to do it? Well, assuming you’re familiar with the show and–like me–feel it deserving of some well-earned recognition, just hit the Parsec Award’s nomination page and enter the following in the provided fields:

Name: HG World

Web Site: OR


Author/Creator: 3015 North Studios/Jay Smith


Category: Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

Comments: This is a free-form field, so you’re free to enter whatever you want.

If you’re not a fan, well…what the hell’s wrong with you? Get on over to the show’s page on Podbean and commence to all that downloading/streaming/listening action. It’s all there, waiting for you, and your juicy, tasty brains.

Good luck to Jay and the whole HG World gang!

Go vote for HG World!

I’m very jazzed for my friend Jay Smith (aka dr_p_venkman) and his merry band of voice actors and production personnel over at 3015 North Studios!

Their kick-ass podcast “zombie apocalypse” audiodrama, HG World, has been nominated for a 2010 “Dead Letter” Award as presented by the fine folks at Mail Order Zombie. The nomination is for “Best Zombie Audiodrama.” This is the third year for the Dead Letter Awards, which also look to recognize notable achievements in zombie-related movies, prose fiction, comic books and video games.

If you’re a fan of the show, run on over to MOZ and fill out the ballot, and help show your support for Jay and the rest of the survivors. If you’re not a fan….well, what the hell’s wrong with you? Get on over to the show’s page on Podbean and commence to all that downloading/streaming/listening action. It’s all there, waiting for you, and your juicy, tasty brains.

Congrats to Jay and the whole HG World gang!