Our StarFest Convention schedule!

Starfest2018-logoHoly schnikes!

A week from today, we’ll already be on the third and final day of this year’s 3-day StarFest Convention, held as it is each year in Denver, Colorado.

2018 will mark mine and Kevin’s 16th consecutive appearance at this con, which has long been one of our very favorite shows to attend each year. Some of you have likely seen me write or heard me say this, but we almost always lock in the dates for this con before committing to any other appearances, in order to avoid date conflicts. The StarFest family has treated us like two of their own pretty much from the jump, and reconnecting with all the friends we’ve made over the years – along with meeting new ones each year, is a highlight.

So, what are we doing this time around? Well, in addition to taking up space and oxygen in the con’s “Author Alley” area, Kevin and I are involved in several activities throughout the weekend. Check it out:

Friday, April 20th

Taming the Novel Series – panel discussion – 5pm-6pm: Writing one book is REALLY hard. Writing several novels is even harder. Writing several novels in a coherent series with consistent characters and satisfying story arcs can make your brain explode. These series novelists will offer their best advice for how you can wrangle hundreds of thousands of words into a compelling story. Moderated by Travis Heerman, with Betsy Dornbusch, Kevin, and myself.

StarFest Meet and Greet – Main Events – 7pm-8:30pm: Come meet our guests face to face and to get to know them a bit at the start of the convention. You’ll enjoy desserts, coffee and nonalcoholic beverages while you have the opportunity to chat in a relaxed atmosphere.  Door prizes and fun guaranteed. All our guests have been invited to come subject to flight arrivals and last-minute schedule changes.

A convention membership (that includes Friday) is required to attend this event.

Planet of the Apes 50th Anniversary Screening – Main Events – 10pm-Midnight: It’s going to be a madhouse in Main Events on Friday night, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of a true science fiction classic! Based on Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel and starring Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, and the great Roddy McDowall, 1968’s Planet of the Apes launched one of the most successful and enduring motion picture franchises. Its revolutionary and iconic makeup designs earned artist John Chambers a “Special Achievement” Academy Award. The film contains one of the most unforgettable endings in the history of cinema, and occupies an indelible place in popular culture. Get to Main Events, you maniacs, and join author guests Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore for a late-evening screening of this landmark film on the occasion of its golden anniversary!

Saturday, April 21st

Costume Contest – Main Events – 8pm-10pm: As we do each year, Kevin and I assist with judging the con’s big Saturday night costume showdown. Kids, families, groups, etc. are all invited to show off their costuming and fandom passions. Prizes galore, along with emcee Kevin Atkins regaling us between categories and filling dead time with his latest collection of memes, jokes, and other oddities found on the internet since the last con.

Deadpool Late Show Screening – Main Events – (approx) 10:30pm-Midnight: Did we leave the stove on? You’ve got an eHarmony date with destiny! Oh, and author guests Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore as they defy all standards of good StarFest behavior and taste with our late-evening screening of Deadpool, the best superhero movie ever that’s not Black Panther, last year’s Wonder Woman, 1978’s Superman, or even 2011’s Green Lantern. If you’re looking for something to round out your Saturday at the con that doesn’t involve dancing, come on in to Main Events and hang for a bit with Kevin, Dayton, and the Merc With A Mouth. Just remember that this flick is rated “R,” as in “It’s REALLY REALLY RATED R,” so be aware. If you give us grief about this, Kevin and Dayton will find you and boom-box “Careless Whisper” outside your hotel room. WHAM! #DriveBy

Sunday, April 22nd

Starfest Talent Show – Main Events – 9am-9:45am: Do you have a song you need to sing? A skit you need to perform? Main Events is the place to do it on Sunday morning! Sign up Friday and Saturday at Costume Contest registration (near Convention Information). Walk-ons will be accepted on Sunday if time permits. Please keep performances to under 5 minutes each. Categories are 18+ and under 18.

Warm up those pipes, practice that guitar, or put the finishing touches on your skit!! You could win fabulous prizes!

And there you have it! Now, it’s also possible, even likely, that Kevin and I will find additional mischief in which to insert ourselves. We’re also trying to organize a joint signing with comic artist Gordon Purcell, who provided the oh-so nifty art for our Star Trek: Waypoint comic back in 2016. It may well end up being us crashing each other’s tables at different points during the weekend. Follow me on Twitter if you’re at the con, and I’ll shoot updates there as they happen!

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Thank you, StarFest Denver! Also? Back to work for me.

Previously on The Fog of Ward:

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Not much going on around here over the past several days. Most of that can be attributed to our road trip to Denver for the annual StarFest Convention. For those keeping score at home, 2017 marked our 15th visit to the Mile High State for this particular show. As always, we had a terrific time catching up with old friends, making some new ones, selling a few books, and generally enjoying ourselves throughout the three days of full-on multimedia nerdity.

A big part of what makes the show so much fun is the staff. Headed up by KathE Walker and her husband, Stephen, StarFest is a family affair in more ways than one. The core group of people overseeing everything are either members of the extended Walker family or else close friends, and together they’ve been doing this thing for 40 years.

Continue reading “Thank you, StarFest Denver! Also? Back to work for me.”

Come see me and Kevin at @StarFestDenver!

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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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The Official Dayton & Kevin 2017 Convention Stalking Guide.

It’s still early, but the 2017 convention season is already starting to build out for me and Kevin. I don’t typically do very many cons each year, and Kevin does a few more in his role representing Hallmark. That said, there are a couple we always never to miss, along with a few others we’re always game to attend if schedules and planets align in proper fashion.

As of this writing, this Official Stalking Guide is a work in-progress, but we do have a handful of tentative dates already slotted. Nothing’s been absolutely confirmed, but it’s our sincere intention to lower property values at the following locales during throughout the year:

Starfest 2017 – April 21-23 – Denver, Colorado
One of our very favorite cons, Kevin and I will almost certainly be making our fifteenth consecutive annual trip to Denver to hang with the Starland gang. The trip has truly become something of a “family reunion” as much as it as a convention, as we’ve made so many friends there over the years, and each new con brings with it the chance to make new friends, or put faces to names we encounter over the internet.

Shore Leave 39 – July 7-9 – Hunt Valley, Maryland
Another show we make every effort to attend, mostly because it’s one of the few media cons of this size that also caters to a large list of author guests. Pocket Books and the Star Trek fiction cabal is usually well-represented, but there are also several other writer guests who show up every year and who have loyal followings. It’s three days of jam-packed programming, after which I may have to build in an extra day or so of sight-seeing so I can get down to D.C. and check out the restored U.S.S. Enterprise model at the Smithsonian.

Comic-Con International – July 19-23 – San Diego, California
Does this con really require an introduction? Kevin will be at this one, acting in his capacity as a representative of Hallmark Cards. If the writer gods are kind, he may also participate in a book signing or two, and perhaps even the odd panel.

The Official Star Trek Convention – August 2-6 – Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City plays host to one of the largest Trek cons going. Boasting a guest list that now routinely hits the 100+ mark, it really is five full days of Star Trek fandom goodness. Though this one is still written in pencil, Kevin looks to be heading that way to man a booth on behalf of Hallmark, and — as of now — there’s a slim chance I may make this one, too. Stay tuned.

New York Comic Con – October 5-8 – New York ‘Effin City
It’s the smaller, feistier version of the San Diego con. As with that one, Kevin will be working his ass off on behalf of Hallmark. Book signings and panels possible, depending on his schedule.

And there you go. The list is, once again, tentative and subject to change, additions, or even deletions.

So, if you plan to be at any of these cons, maybe we’ll see you there!

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Starfest bound!

Thanks to the wonder that is “scheduled posting” for ye olde blog, by the time this entry goes live, my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and I will be west bound and down and heading for picturesque Denver, Colorado. Why? It’s our fourteenth consecutive pilgrimage to the annual Starfest Convention!

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As has become our habit this time of year, we’ll spend the better part of three days immersed in geekery in all is various forms. Fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Firefly, comics, gaming, science fiction, fantasy, and horror will assemble to commence all manner of shenanigans. Since 2016 marks Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, expect a heavy emphasis on all things Final Frontier-ish.

In addition to having our tables in the “Author’s Alley” section of the vendor area, Kevin and I will be participating in programming, which means panel discussions and book signings, as well as helping out the con as we do each year with judging the costume contest on Saturday night and the talent show on Sunday morning, and pretty much whatever else the con staff asks us to do.

So, if you’re reading this and planning to attend the con, come find us and say, “Howdy!” Here’s hoping we see you there. 🙂

Is this thing on?

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:

I’ve been slow getting back into the blogging thing in the wake of last week’s Starfest Convention. Our annual pilgrimage to Denver was as much fun as it always is, even when you consider the freak storm Mother Nature tried to toss into our path as we were making our final approach into the Mile High City.

Despite that challenge (which ended up being very minor for us…not so for a lot of friends who ended up not making it down to the convention due to weather), we made it safely to the hotel and commenced to getting our geek on in fine fashion. After our usual pre-game ritual of lunch and game time at Dave & Buster’s, accompanied as we were by my wife and daughters, Kevin and I got into con mode as activities began ramping up on Friday afternoon. Friday evening was the annual “Meet & Greet” function, in which fans pay an additional fee to hang with the con’s guest in a casual atmosphere and without the hassle and chaos of autograph lines and all that. Kevin and I always feel out of place during this, but the fans never fail to make us feel like we’re supposed to be there right alongside the main “marquee” guests.

After the Meet & Greet, Kevin and did our second (annual?) “quote-along” movie screening. This time, we went with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as a way of paying tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett, both of whom we lost back in February. I don’t think we got the same level of audience participation as we did last year with Galaxy Quest, but it apparently attracted enough people that the con wants us to do it again next year (with a different movie, of course). I guess we’ll see!

Saturday seemed to race by, with Kevin and I spending most of the day in around the con’s “Author Alley.” We saw many familiar faces as well as a whole bunch of new ones, which is always nice. The day was capped off by the con’s annual costume contest, which Kevin and I help judge. There were a lot of very strong entries this year, and it’s always amazing to see the level of effort put into the various creations.

Sunday began with the annual talent show, the highlight of which was one young lady (I believe she said she was in high school) playing a version of “Enterprising Young Men” from Michael Giacchino’s score for the 2009 Star Trek film, which she had arranged herself for the piano. As I told her after the show, I wanted her to play it again, because I needed a new ringtone for my phone.

The rest of the con flew by in rapid fashion, and before we knew it, all of it was over and done. With everything packed away (or in the process of being packed away), Kevin and I acted on our standing invitation to crash the con staff’s after party in order to give our thanks to the crew and to say our goodbyes before people started heading home.

And so ends another Starfest. Hard to believe we’ve done 13 of those, now.

As always, we tip our hats to the Walker and Donnelly families, who do such a tremendous job of making such an incredible logistical challenge like running a convention look so easy. We also thank the army of staff and volunteers who do their best to make the weekend an enjoyable experience for everyone, and who always treat us like part of their extended family. Here’s hoping we get to do it all again in about a year or so.

 

Come find us at Starfest!

Hey! You’re reading this on Friday (at the earliest, anyway), but thanks to the magic of scheduled posting, I’m writing this on Wednesday evening. That’s right, I’m like Doc Brown’s dog in Back to the Future, skipping over minutes and stuff in order to communicate with you through time!

(Well, it sounded good in my head, anyway.)

Since it’s Friday, that means Kevin and I are hip deep in preparations to get our Starfest on. What that really means is that we’re probably out eating somewhere…most likely Dave & Busters, where we do our annual pre-con ritual of food and games before heading back to the hotel and kicking things into gear. This year will be even more fun for me than normal, as I have Clan Ward accompanying me on the trip. Now I have cover and excuses for playing all of those games at D&B’s.

So, what are we doing this year? Well, as is usually the case, we’ll have our tables in the Author Alley outside the main dealer’s room. As for activities, you’ll be able to find us with the other con guests at the Friday night Meet & Greet. Later that evening, Kevin and I will host our second (annual?) Quote-Along movie in the Main Events room. Last year it was Galaxy Quest, and this time we’re going to try to top last year’s attendance with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

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On Saturday night, we’ll take our places right in front of the stage as we help to judge the annual costume contest, and on Sunday morning we’ll be helping to host and judge the Starfest talent show. There may also be other panels in the offing, but as I write this some plans are still fuzzy. So, if you’re going to the con, watch this space, or my Twitter and/or Facebook updates.

Meanwhile, you’re likely to find us in the Author Alley a lot of the time, so swing by and say Aloha. We hope to see you there!

Coming to Starfest 2015: “Star Trek IV: The Quote-Along Voyage Home!”

April is fast approaching, and with it our annual pilgrimage to Denver and one of our favorite conventions to attend, Starfest!

2015 will mark our 13th consecutive year as guests of the convention, and I don’t mind saying that we have at least as much if not more fun with each passing year. The con organizers find all sorts of things for us to do and to keep us out of trouble. If we’re not hosting or participating in panel discussions, we’re helping to judge the annual Saturday Night Costume Contest Spectacular as well as the Sunday talent show, and we try to pitch in wherever extra help is needed.

And every once in a while, they let us just do something goofy.

Following on the success of last year’s awesomely well-attended “Galaxy Quest: The Quote-Along Adventure,” the con has asked us to try again for this show on Friday evening. Rather than simply repeat ourselves, we’ve opted to go with another perennial fan-favorite film:


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Is it time for a colorful metaphor? That and so much more awaits when you join writer guys Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore as they present a special screening of one of the most popular of the Star Trek films, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home!

Admiral Kirk and his intrepid crew are returning to Earth to stand trial for disobeying orders, stealing the Enterprise, blowing up the Enterprise and various other mischief. When a mysterious alien probe shows up and begins wreaking havoc all across the planet, Kirk and the gang realize that they must travel through time to save their planet, for the key to Earth’s future lies in its own past! Directed by Leonard Nimoy and produced by Harve Bennett, this fan-favorite entry in the Star Trek film series features great action and character moments for the entire cast, as well as a healthy dose of pitch-perfect humor and…more importantly…quotable lines!

That’s right, Trekkies! Shout out all of the movie’s best lines right along with the characters! Take the voyage!

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This year’s Starfest Convention will be held the weekend of April 17-19 at the Marriott Hotel – Denver Technical Center. If you’re attending, we hope you’ll join us for this little cinematic gabfest, during which we will honor and celebrate the recently and dearly departed Leonard Nimoy and Harve Bennett.

If you’re not able to make the movie, at least swing by our table to say “Howdy!” at some point during the weekend.

Be there!

Dayton & Kevin’s 2015 Convention Stalking Guide.

So, 2015’s convention season is starting to heat up, at least for me and Kevin. We don’t typically do very many cons each year, but there are a couple we always try to attend, along with a few others we’re always game to attend if schedules and planets align in proper fashion.

At this early point on the calendar, we have a handful of tentative dates already slotted.  Nothing’s been confirmed, one way or the other, but it’s our sincere intention to lower property values at the following locales during 2015:

Planet Comicon – March 13-15 – Kansas City, Missouri
We’ve been attending this show as guests for the last few years, and for years before that we’d go just as normal, ticket-buying folk. This con seems to be getting bigger every year, and the people running it are doing an amazing job making sure they don’t get too big too fast, as we see other shows do from time to time. The show promoters have been sure to assemble a nice mix of guests, including an impressive array of comics talent. For the price, it’s one of the better shows of its size I’ve seen. This year, I’m told the showrunner has some new stuff he wants Kevin and me to do, which sounds like it could be fun, you know….provided I don’t have to get naked, or anything.

Starfest 2015 – April 17-19 – Denver, Colorado
One of our very favorite cons, Kevin and I likely will be making our thirteenth annual trip to Denver to hang with the Starland gang. To be honest, the trip has become as much “family reunion” as it is convention, as we’ve made so many friends there over the years, and each new con brings with it the chance to make new friends, or put faces to names we encounter over the internet.

Comic-Con International – July 9-12 – San Diego, California
Does this con really require an introduction? Kevin will be at this one, acting in his capacity as a representative of Hallmark Cards. If the writer gods are kind, he may also participate in a book signing or two, and perhaps even the odd panel.

Shore Leave 33 – August 7-9 – Hunt Valley, Maryland
Another show we make every effort to attend, mostly because it’s one of the few media cons of this size that also caters to a large list of author guests. Pocket Books and the Star Trek fiction cabal is usually well-represented, but there are also several other writer guests who show up every year and who have loyal followings. It’s three days of jam-packed programming, after which my current plan is to spend a week with the wife and kids sight-seeing in and around the DC area.

New York Comic-Con – October 8-11 – New York ‘Effin City
It’s the smaller, feistier version of the San Diego con. As with that one, Kevin will be working his ass off on behalf of Hallmark. Book signings and panels possible, depending on his schedule. I haven’t completely written off the possibility of attending this one, myself, but it’s still too early for me to know for sure. Stay tuned.

And there you go. The list is, once again, tentative and subject to change, additions, or even deletions.

So, if you plan to be at any of these cons, maybe we’ll see you there!

kevin-dayton-sl2010(Photo Credit: Jen Snyder)

Starfest 2014 final wrap-up.

So, where the hell did that weekend go?

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That’s right, folks! The first weekend in May, in addition to being home to this year’s Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You!”), also was the weekend in which Kevin and I set out for Denver for our twelfth consecutive year as guests of the always awesome Starfest convention.

Joining us once again for our trip across the vast wastelands comprising western Kansas and eastern Colorado was our friend and fellow word pusher Christie Golden, who’s been a fixture at Starfest even longer than me and Kevin.

As we’ve mentioned here and there, Starfest is one of our favorite convention destinations, and every year we find some new fun and mischief in which to embed ourselves. In addition to participating on panels and along with our tables in the “Author Alley” where we signed many books, we also helped judge the Saturday night costume contest as well as the Sunday morning talent show. We’ve also taken to helping with the judging of the “balcony contest,” in which those fans with balconies overlooking the hotel’s rather sizable atrium decorate those spaces in the hopes of winning cool prizes and whatnot.

For this year we had suggested something new for Friday night: a Galaxy Quest quote-along. Despite our concerns that the event might not attract too much attention, we started the show with more than a hundred people and by the time the movie was over that count had more than doubled, and most everyone was quoting all of the film’s best lines (and sound effects, and alien screeches, and so on) all the way through to the end. The experiment was enough of a success that we’ll be doing it again next year with a different movie, and we may end up doing different flicks on Friday and Saturday night.

So, can I get a “HELL YEAH!” ??

Thanks.

The entire weekend was a blast from start to finish. We got to meet popular Star Wars comics and novel writer John Jackson Miller, who was making his first appearance at the con. John’s already written a Star Trek e-Book novella, Absent Enemies, and he’s contracted to write a full-blown Trek novel for next year. I’m hoping we cross paths again soon.

It was another wonderful weekend, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Walker family — Stephen, KathE, Steve, and Mike, along with spouses and even grandkids — as well as our friends Susan and Treecy, Bob, Brooke, Carol, Christina, David and Debby, Judy, Ken and Kelley, Kevin Atkins, Phil, and everyone else who worked so hard for so long to make it all look so easy to the casual observer. As they do every year, they took tremendous care of us, and I can only hope we held up our end of the deal. I’m already looking forward to seeing them and all the rest of our Starfest friends next year.