Happy 15th Birthday, Star Trek Vanguard.

YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH, DAYTON! NO WAY IT’S BEEN THAT LONG!

Um, yep. I’m afraid it really has been that long.

Today, July 26th, marks the 15th anniversary for the official publication of Harbinger, the first novel in what would become “the saga of Star Trek Vanguard.”

vanguard-harbingerFor those of you who might not be familiar with these books, Vanguard as created by editor Marco Palmieri and author David Mack is a series of books that served as a “literary spin-off” of the original Star Trek television series. Running in parallel with the original show, Vanguard was set aboard a space station in a hotly contested area of space called “the Taurus Reach.”

Dave set events into motion with Harbinger, after which Kevin Dilmore and I were invited aboard to help continue the story. Over the course of seven novels and a handful of novellas, the series’ cast of characters found themselves in increasingly larger and more dire piles of shit as they learned more about the Shedai, the ancient race who once commanded the Taurus Reach, and generally were kinda sorta pissed that people were stomping around their old haunt like they owned the place.

And hilarity ensued.

I’m not going to ruin it all here with spoilers, but suffice it to say we got to have quite a bit of fun with those books. Spanning seven novels and a handful of novellas released over a period of seven years, Star Trek Vanguard, for whatever the hell my biased opinion is worth, remains one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of Pocket Books’ decades-long Star Trek publishing program. It also ranks as one of the most fun things I’ve ever done as a writer of Star Trek fiction. Being able to combine elements of my favorite incarnation of Star Trek with a serialized, epic storyline that unfolds over several books was like having – if you’ll pardon the Trekified expression – “the best of both worlds.”

(Note: Learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about Vanguard by clicking on this link-type thing right here: DavidMack.pro – Star Trek Vanguard)

Yeah, it was and remains something special, at least to those of us who worked on it. If you haven’t yet given the series a try…well…what are you waiting for? How do you look at this set of supremely kick-ass covers created by Doug Drexler and not even be a little curious about what’s wrapped inside them?

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Which brings us back to…it’s been 15 damned years? Man, I feel old.

But, I’m certainly not so old that I can’t pimp the hell out of the series on behalf of people who haven’t yet had the chance to read it.  If you’re into Star Trek and you’re looking for something a tad different, have I got a treat for you in the form of the Complete Star Trek Vanguard Reading Guide:

Harbinger – Dave
Summon the Thunder – me & Kevin
Reap the Whirlwind – Dave
Open Secrets – me (story by me & Kevin)
Precipice – Dave
Declassified – stories by me, Kevin, Marco, and Dave
What Judgments Come – me & Kevin (story by me, Kevin, and Dave)
Storming Heaven – Dave (story by Dave, me & Kevin)

There also are a couple of additional stories which, while not essential to enjoying the main “saga,” might still be of interest:

Distant Early Warning – me & Kevin (a Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers story)
In Tempest’s Wake – me (sort of a coda to the Vanguard series)

The Black Flag” – James Swallow
(Included in the anthology Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Shards & Shadows)

Do I regret that the series ended, rather than continuing on? Not one bit. Vanguard was always envisioned as a story with a defined beginning and ending, and despite our various diversions and course corrections over the span of the stories we wrote, we ended up not too far afield from what Dave originally envisioned. We also got to end the series on our own terms, something not done before or since in Pocket’s Star Trek publishing program, and those eight books sit on my bookshelf as a testament to one of the most creatively rewarding projects in which I’ve ever taken part. I’m forever grateful to Marco and Dave for inviting me and Kevin to play in this wonderful little corner of the Star Trek sandbox.

Of course, Vanguard also begat Star Trek: Seekers, which allowed us to take a bunch of characters who only played supporting roles in the previous series and elevated them to stars of their own show, so to speak. Elsewhere, elements from the series have managed to find their way into other areas of the Star Trek “expanded universe,” but so far the three of us–Dave, Kevin, and myself–have held to our “pact” to refrain from revisiting Vanguard‘s core storyline or central characters. As I wrote more than a few years ago in response to a question about returning to the concept in some fashion:

As far as I’m concerned, the stories of Vanguard’s core cast have been told. Within the fictional construct of the Star Trek universe, their reward—and penance—for what happened over the course of those novels and novellas is to be consigned to obscurity; footnotes to a history about which few people ever will know the complete truth.”

Yep, I still feel that way. I remain immensely proud of the work we did, but I have no need to re-open that particular box. To borrow a bit of sports parlance, I think we left it all on the field. Better to leave it well enough alone, and move on to other challenges and opportunities.

So, Happy Birthday, Star Trek Vanguard. Here’s hoping you keep finding new fans.

Vanguard_series

It Came from the Multiplex, and now It’s a Real Book!

Days that include presents from the Book Fairy are better than days that don’t.

Multiplex-ContribCopyThis time it’s courtesy of Josh Viola and Hex Publishers, and contributor copies of It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers, a brand-spankin’ new anthology that will be out later this year.

Those of you who follow me here have likely read me yammering about this project off and on over the past year or so. Kevin and I were invited by the antho’s editor, Josh Viola, and a good friend of ours, Bret Smith, to contribute a tale to this collection and we leaped at the chance. We’d been wanting to something tied somehow to the 1980s for a while, and here was the perfect opportunity to get our asses in gear. I mean, why should people making TV shows and comics and books and other stuff and who never actually lived or grew up in this most excellent of decades be having all the fun, amirite?

The result? “Helluloid,” a story we wrote very consciously in the same vein as classic 80s horror flicks like House or The Return of the Living Dead. We made ourselves laugh pretty much the entire time we were planning and writing this thing. What also happened as we tossed ideas and note back and forth was that the location where our story takes place, a rundown movie theater, could very well be a setting for multiple tales, with or without any of the characters we were creating for this outing. “Helluloid” is set in 1985 at the Vogue, which by the mid 80s is running on fumes and is far removed from its 50s and 60s heyday. What else may have happened over the decades within those walls which have seen and heard so much?

Maybe we’ll see.

Meanwhile, you can totally pre-order It Came from the Multiplex by checking it out its page on the Hex Publisher’s website.

Hex-Multiplex-PreOrder

Many, many thanks to Bret for reaching out to us about this in the first place, and to Editor Josh who made the process so very easy and painless. It was a lot of fun working with him and the Hex crew. Hopefully we can do it again someday.

We’re going back to Neosho to talk writing and stuff!

Some of you may recall that Kevin and I traveled from KC down to Neosho, Missouri earlier in the year to participate as guests to the first ever ArtCon. Sponsored by the Neosho Arts Council, this comic and pop culture convention featured several comics and art guests, along with Kevin and myself. For a first con, it was pretty well attended and the people hosting it and working as volunteers were on point all day. They treated us very well and invited us to come back at some point.

Then, they doubled down on that last bit a month or so ago, by asking Kevin and me if we’d be up for a return visit not for a con, but instead to “talk shop.”

Neosho-AuthorTalk

“That’s great, Dayton,” I can hear some of you saying. “Um, whatcha gonna talk about for an hour or so?”

Good question!

In addition to talking about the challenges and fun to be had while writing in our chosen realms, it’s also been suggested that, with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission looming on our calendars, maybe Kevin and I could also devote a bit of time to talking about the symbiotic relationship that NASA and science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular have enjoyed over the years. As we’ve both been able to talk with various folks who actually work at NASA (including, he says totally without shame, a couple of actual astronauts who’ve “been up there”) and even discussed this very thing, we can definitely speak a bit to this topic.

Our little author talk will be held at the Neosho Chamber of Commerce at 2pm on Saturday, June 22nd. Once we’re done, we’ll have a table set up where we’ll be happy to sign books (and maybe even sell a few).

Thanks very much to Sarah Serio and the Neosho Arts Council for inviting us back to hang with them for a bit!

Come find me and Kevin next month at the Freestate Comicon!

I have to tell you I thought I was done with the whole convention/book signing thing for the year. Not that I’m against such things, you understand. Instead, I simply figured I’d attended all the shows and whatnot I was going to see for a while, at least until next spring or so.

Nah. Looks like I’ve got one more in me.

Kevin and I have been invited to be guests at next month’s Freestate Comicon, a one-day show that along with the series of KC Fan Con events has been doing its thing here in the Kansas City area since 2006.

The puppetmaster behind these shindigs, Craig Klotz, has been a friend to Kevin and me for what seems like ever, and if we don’t see him at Planet Comicon or Kansas City Comicon, then we’ve been guests at some of his own shows over the years. So, when he asked us if we’d be interested in hanging out with him and a bunch of other KC-based creators, collectors, vendors, and fans, of course we had to say “Sure!”

So, if your plans for Saturday, September 8th have room for hanging out with this gang of folks, come on and see us! I’ll have copies of various titles including Star Trek: Discovery – Drastic Measures among other things, and we’ll definitely have copies of our issue of Star Trek: Waypoint and even the trade paperback collecting the entire miniseries.

It’ll be a day of comics and pop culture fun for the entire clan, so come on by the Douglas County Fairgrounds in beautiful Lawrence, Kansas, and say “Howdy!”

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.

Star Trek: Waypoint

STWaypoint-TradeCoverShort stories that run the gamut of Star Trek‘s history, set during the Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, and more, featuring all your favorite characters. Capturing a galaxy of emotions, these weird and wonderful stories may expand on rarely explored corners of the universe, or provide closure for long forgotten plot threads, but they all remind us why we love Trek.

————————-

Collecting the six-issue miniseries from IDW Publishing as part of celebrating Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, Star Trek: Waypoint marks mine and Kevin’s first foray into the realm of comics writing. Editors Sarah Gaydos and Chris Cerasi let us run (almost) completely off leash once we pitched them our basic concept, which was pretty much “A love letter to the old, wacky Star Trek Gold Key comics from the 1960s and 70s.”

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Then…then…they partnered us with veteran comics artist Gordon Purcell and colorist Jason Lewis, and holy crap! Did these two gents do an amazing job recreating the look and feel of those comics gone by.

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I know, right?

Our story, “The Menace of the Mechanitrons!” appeared in Waypoint #2. Now it, along with the eleven other stories from the mini-series, have been collected into a single swank-looking trade paperback which now graces my “brag shelf” along with copies of my novels and other writerly shenanigans. Kevin and I join a stellar lineup of writers and artists including Gordon and Jason: Donny Cates, Sandra Lanz, Mark Chater, Sam Maggs, Rachael Stott, Mairghread Scott, Cecil Castellucci, Corin Howell, Megan Levens, Vivek J. Tiwary, Scott Bryan Wilson, Hugo Petrus, Capar Wijngaard, Simon Roy, Cavan Scott, Josh Hood, Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, and Christopher Herndon.

Where can you get your own copy? I’m so happy you asked:

IDW Publishing’s website
Trade Paperback and Kindle e-Book/Comixology format from Amazon.com
Trade Paperback from Barnes & Noble
Trade Paperback from Books-A-Million

The book might be a little big for a stocking stuffer, but I suspect you can manage well enough. Y’all are a pretty savvy bunch.

Come see me and Kevin at Kansas City Comic Con!

Awwwwww Yissssssssss.

KCCC-header

Thanks to the con’s own swank and rather handy header graphic, I’m left with almost nothing to tell you about next weekend’s Kansas City Comic Con, which will take place next weekend, November 10-12, at Bartle Hall in downtown KC. Why did I just repeat everything that’s listed in the graphic? Because I just know that without fail, someone will ask when or where the con is taking place.

So, here I am…covering my bases.

Expect to see a lot going on at this year’s show. For one thing, the con is hosting a 40th anniversary reunion with cast members from 1978’s Superman: The Movie. Visiting our fair town next weekend will be Margot Kidder, Sarah Douglas, Jeff East, Diane Sherry Case, Jack O’Halloran, and Aaron Smolinski.

Representing the 1960s Batman TV show are Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether, and fresh off the set of Star Trek: Discovery and his breakout role as Lieutenant Commander Saru, actor Doug Jones. You’ll also see the one and only Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith, along with Jason Mewes prowling the premises, along with several other guests from film and TV.

On the creator side of the guest list, hometown prolific AF comics writers like Jason Aaron and Dennis Hopeless will be on hand, anchoring a large slate of comics and prose creators. There is also a sizeable roster of cosplay personalities, showcasing their craft all weekend.

Oh, and hey! Kevin and I will be there, too.

KCCC-Dayton&Kevin

We’ll have tables in the con’s vendor area, upon which you may find for sale limited quantities of – among other things – new and recent releases like the Star Trek: Waypoint trade paperback along with my Klingon Empire Travel Guide and Predator: If It Bleeds.

Or, bring whatever you want signed and we’ll do that for the low-low cost of Nuthin’.

So, if you’re not doing anything next weekend, such as celebrating the Marine Corps’ 242nd birthday or commemorating Veterans Day (perhaps by visiting the National World War I Museum and Memorial?), maybe we’ll see you at the con!

Come see me and Kevin at @StarFestDenver!

SF17PinArt

It’s almost that time again!

 

Come Thursday, my hetero life mate and frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, will be aiming the Mirth Mobile west as we take on the grueling, unrelentingly boring drive across Kansas via I-70 on our way to bee-yootiful Denver, Colorado. Why? Because this year marks our 15th consecutive year attending the totally fun and kick-ass StarFest Convention.

We’re talking about nearly three full days’ worth of multi-media awesomeness, including SF and Fantasy, Horror, Comics, Gaming, Robotics, and Art, and all sorts of other good stuff, brought to us by the good people at Denver-based Starland, who’ve been putting on this show for 40 years. As it happens, a little bitty science fiction film you may have heard of, Star Wars, also celebrates its 40th birthday this year, so that seems reason enough to throw a party.

In addition to having space in the vendor/exhibitor/author alley area of the con all weekend, you’ll be able to find me and Kevin in various places all weekend. For example:

Friday:

Guests Meet & Greet – Main Events – 7pm-8:30pm

Saturday:

Costume Contest – Main Events (we’re both judging) – 8pm-????

Sunday:

StarFest Talent Show  (Kevin’s hosting, I’m judging) – 9am-9:45am
“The Completely Unexpected Media Tie-In Panel” – 10:30am-11:25am

There may be other panels and activities about which I’ve not been informed, or we may just crash a few things because they sound fun. Who knows?

For those wondering, Kevin and I will have on hand copies of our most recent publications, including everything published since last year’s show, of which there are several. Check it out:

2113: Stories Inspired By the Music of Rush (I don’t remember if we had this last year)
Star Trek: The Original Series – Elusive Salvation
24: Trial by Fire
Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: Vulcan
Star Trek: Legacies – Purgatory’s Key
Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Headlong Flight
our Star Trek: Waypoint comic

We’ll also have a varying number of copies of older titles.

So, if you’re attending the con, be sure to come by and say “Howdy.” Hope to see you there!

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KC-area peeps! Come see us at “Books in the Bottoms!”

Are you local to the Kansas City area, and just itching to come say “Howdy!” to me and Kevin Dilmore and see what we’ve been up to on the writerly front?

newlogoblackNext weekend, the historic West Bottoms District of Kansas City is hosting its Second Annual “Books in the Bottoms” event. It’s part of the District’s monthly “First Festival Weekend” that they do on the first weekend of every month. Kevin and I will be joining a number of other area writers to hock our wares in and around sampling the food and shopping and just taking in the festive ambiance that’s sure to be permeating the area.

The event runs Friday thru Sunday, February 3rd-5th, with writers staged at different shops and eateries around the District. The entire weekend promises to be fun, but if you’re specifically looking for me and Kevin, you’ll find us on Saturday morning from 9am-Noon at Good Juju, a wonderful little treasure trove of antiques, vintage collectibles, and pop culture goodies.

Additionally, a scan of the author line-up shows a number of friends on the roster, including J.R.Frontera, Dennis Young, James Young, Thaddeus Nowak, and the one and only Robin Wayne Bailey.

Hey. Wait. Instead of reading me ramble on about this, why not just check out the official press release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:   Amber Arnett-Bequeaith
VP and Spokesperson – West Bottoms Entertainment District & Full Moon Productions 816.842.4280 / 913.406.7833 1401
W. 13th St., KCMO 64102

Authors on-hand at Second Annual Books in the Bottoms Event  First Festival Weekend February 3-5 

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, January 26, 2017 – Benjamin Franklin’s truism, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” has a special meaning for First Festival Weekend, February 3-5. Not only will the event host sixteen local authors at the Second Annual Books in the Bottoms coinciding with First Festival Weekend, but it will draw on those looking for extraordinary experiences worth writing about and sharing socially.

Participating authors will represent a range of fiction genre from science fiction, fantasy and the supernatural, to children’s books, thrillers, and history-based fiction.  Fiction authors include David Pederson, Duane Porter, Jennifer Frontera, Claire Ashgrove, Ted Nowak, Kevin Dilmore, Dayton Ward, Aaron Hollingsworth, Dennis Young, Robin Wayne Bailey, and Anita Young.

Books in the Bottoms will also have five non-fiction authors, including Kansas City crime writer Phil LeVota, poet and prose writer Carol Estes, beer recipe author Pete Dulin, military analyst author James Young and Kansas City historian Pat O’Neill.

The free, three-day West Bottoms First Festival Weekend averages around 20,000 people looking for vintage, antique and one-of-a-kind statement pieces for their wardrobe and décor and enjoying the many cafés, drinks and food truck options.  The area’s six-blocks of multistory buildings makes it the largest indoor, year-round antique and vintage district in the country.

“The creativity in Kansas City is over-flowing, so it is no surprise we are able to gather so many talented authors,” said Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, VP of the West Bottoms Business District. “People are looking for unique experiences that are worth writing about and sharing with others. The West Bottoms’ First Festival offers a fun place to shop and the rare chance to actually meet and interact with authors.”  

West Bottom’s First Festival Weekend
Opens Friday through Sunday  –  Shops Open around 9 A.M. 
Food Truck Wine & Dine
Available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, off the 12th St. Bridge

About the West Bottoms Historic Entertainment District: 
The West Bottoms Historic Entertainment District has more than thirty-five stores in a six block area.  Many of the large, multi-story buildings off the 12th Street Bridge offer several floors of vintage and antique finds. The District is the destination for interior decorators and designers, collectors and consumers seeking stylish décor and gift options that have a history and patina that cannot be duplicated.
http://www.westbottoms.com


So, hey! If you’re out and about next Saturday, bring your bottom to the Bottoms, stop by Good Juju and say “Aloha!”

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New interview with me & Kevin @ TrekMovie.com!

You think people would learn their lesson, and quit calling us, but nooooOOOOoooo.

TrekMovie.com certainly hasn’t.

st-waypoint2-subscriptioncoverLate last month, the popular fan-driven Star Trek news site, for reasons surpassing understanding, dispatched intrepid interviewer Rich Shepis to talk to me and Kevin, without even the courtesy of giving him combat pay or even body armor. Nope. They just threw him at us, like the innocent little lamb that he is. I mean, “was.”

The result? A new joint interview with me and Kevin, which has now gone live over on TrekMovie. The topic? Mostly, it’s us yammering at length about our recent foray into comics writing. Specifically, that spiffy second issue of the Star Trek: Waypoint mini-series from IDW Publishing, as so ably overseen by the wonderful Sarah Gaydos and Christopher Cerasi, who almost without doubt are only now coming to grips with the horror of having invited us into their sandbox to play even for a brief while.

The interview was conducted via teleconference, with Rich transcribing our non-stop, ear-splitting cacophony of stream-of-conscious babbling. Hey, Kevin and I have been doing this for a long, long time by this point, so anybody daring to interview us both at the same time should really know better, don’t you think?

Everybody give it up for Rich. He weathered the storm, and lived to tell the tale.

Anyway, go check out our new confab, courtesy of Rich and TrekMovie, if only so you can behold the line that gave me my first true out-loud laugh of the day:

“Chemistry is that one intangible that either exists in a situation or doesn’t, and has contributed to form some of the greatest partnerships of all-time, including Lennon/McCartney, Kirk/Spock, and Star Trek writing partners Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward. In fact, the duo is perhaps the greatest off-screen bromance seen in the franchise’s history.”

Dammit. That’s funny.

TrekMovie.Com: INTERVIEW – Authors Kevin Dilmore & Dayton Ward

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(Photo Credit: Janice Sanborn)