Back on the air.

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:

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Yeah, I’ve been busy of late. Overlapping projects and successive deadlines saw to it that much of the last month has been a blur. Other things like this space had to take a back seat while I tended to the Things That Pay Bills, but now I’m enjoying a brief–a very brief–respite before I start in on The Next Thing.

Today’s writing schedule is light: Tending to editor’s notes for Headlong Flight, which will be my next Star Trek: The Next Generation novel due for publication next spring, along with putting the final polish to another novel project. There’s also a bit of regular monthly client work. I may see editor feedback for the manuscript I delivered last Friday morning, for a project that hasn’t yet been announced, but that’ll likely happen later in the week.

Meanwhile, we have a few programming notes:

lindahall-Trek50Back on May 14th, my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and I were guests of the Linda Hall Library here in Kansas City. We participated in their “Second Saturday Conversation” program where we presented, “Of Tribbles and Technology: Star Trek at 50.” We talked about Star Trek‘s influence on science and technology, and how it’s inspired at least a couple of generations of people to go into those fields, and how those people now help to inspire writerly folk like us to ponder that age-old question: “What’s next?” It was a tremendous honor to be asked to speak at this library, and we can’t thank the staff enough for inviting us into their realm.

First, my latest contribution to the Novel Spaces blog went live on May 17th. “Hey! I’ve Got Favorite Writing Books, Too!” continues the blog’s theme for the month, in which the regular contributors all discuss their favorite writing-related books. These could be manuals or style guides, or something more of the memoir variety as penned by a favorite writer. My list of suggestions is a bit…eclectic. 🙂

Next up? Rick Schepis over at The Bronze Review conducted a brief interview with me about Elusive Salvation, my new Star Trek novel that’s been on shelves for about a month, now. You’ve got your copy, right? Anyway, you can read the review by clicking this.

And speaking of Elusive Salvation, Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther over at Trek.fm had me doing exactly that. The latest episode of their Literary Treks podcast includes a heaping helping of me yammering at length about the new book and various other related topics. FYI for those of you who may be wanting to listen to the podcast but haven’t yet read the book, beware that spoilers abound!

Elsewhere around the Wardiverse, my hetero life mate, Kevin, and I were guests at this past weekend’s Planet Comicon here in Kansas City. This show just gets bigger and better every year, people. I think it’s already able to stand on par with some of the bigger shows around the country, and I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that’s not all that far away from being one of those “destination” conventions that people mention in the same breath with stuff like San Diego, New York, Denver, etc. Many thanks to Chris Jackson, Will Binderup, and everyone else who worked so hard to put on such a terrific show.

I think that covers it all for now. We now return you to your lives, already in progress.

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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.

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.

Novel Spaces – “The Thrill of A New Book”

writerLooking at the calendar, I see that it’s the 17th again, which means it’s my turn at bat over at the Novel Spaces blog!

(It means a few other things, too. For example, today in 1972 saw the premiere of M*A*S*H on TV. That’s pretty important for pop culture nerds like me. But, that’s a topic for another post.)

This month–which marks my 50th Novel Spaces post, for those keeping score at home–I use as my point of departure yesterday’s arrival of my contributor copies for The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, to which I provided an essay. I still get jazzed about receiving my copies of a new book. I know all the work that went into making this or that story or essay is real only when I’m holding the finished product in my hands, or I see it on a bookstore shelf. I’ve felt that same tingle every single time, and it never gets old.

Novel Spaces – “The Thrill of A New Book”

Pardon my bit of self-indulgence. We now return you to your lives, already in progress.

My Novel Spaces archive.

Novel Spaces – “Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Prize”

writerWell, I made it exactly one month into the new schedule over at the Novel Spaces blog before missing my new posting date. For those keeping score at home, it was yesterday.

Derp.

Still, I kinda sorta had a decent reason. You see, I was writing a piece for my August contribution, and then somebody on my Facebook feed posted this picture:

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And that made me do a rethink.

Therefore, my contribution this month has to do with that pang of envy we as writers might feel from time to time, when we see another writer–and maybe it’s even someone we know–announce a project or book deal that gets us to thinking if only for a passing moment, “Hey, that’s not fair.”

Wrong. Wrong thinking. Not cool to go down that road. There are better uses of your time, Writer. Turn that energy toward pushing more words.

Novel Spaces – “Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Prize”

Yep, it happens to all of us, but it’s what happens next that really matters.

My Novel Spaces archive.