“Oh, man,” they say. “He’s talking again,” they say.

Yep. Babbling. Again.

Actually, I babbled back in July, but the results of said babbling have only been just recently been made available. The incident occurred at this past summer’s Shore Leave convention, held as it is each year in Hunt Valley, Maryland and at which I was one of many writer guests in attendance.

Why the Baltimore County Public Library saw fit to lavish extra attention on me remains a mystery, but I’m certainly appreciative for the opportunity to talk about my life as a professional word pusher, and in particular the very specific kind of madness that is required to do something like writing within the ever-expanding Star Trek universe.

It’s a short interview, but we managed to cover quite a bit of ground within the five minutes or so that is this bad boy’s running time. We talk about the “rules” and challenges of writing in an established universe like Star Trek as opposed to something I might make up from scratch, the “levels” of freedom we enjoy when writing for the established screen characters versus characters we’ve created, my transition from part-time to full-time writer, and even my views on “writer’s block” and “the writer’s muse.”

We also talk a bit about the con and the panel programming it offers, including workshops offered for beginning writers, and my advice for “new” writers. Not to spoil anything, but my advice pretty much boils down to “write.” Oh, and read and go live a life so you have something to inform your writing.

Wait…you just read all of that and you still want to see it? Fine. Cool. Here you go:

It was a fun interview, and I’m grateful to Carl Birkmeyer and the BCPL for giving me a few minutes to talk turkey. All of you reading this, be sure to support your local public library!

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Here’s the cover for Available Light, my upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation novel!

I had to wait for StarTrek.com to do their big reveal, but now that they’ve done so (click on this link to go and see) free to show it here. Thanks to the artistic stylings of Doug Drexler and Ali Ries, I now have a cover for Available Light, my latest Star Trek: The Next Generation novel which is comin’ at ya in April 2019.

Behold, yo:

(Click to Biggie Size)

What’s it all about? Well I’m glad you asked:

The past comes back to haunt Captain Jean-Luc Picard in this brand new thriller set in the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Section 31, the covert organization which has operated without accountability in the shadows for more than two centuries, has been exposed. Throughout the Federation, the rogue group’s agents and leaders are being taken into custody as the sheer scope of its misdeeds comes to light. Now Starfleet Command must decide the consequences for numerous officers caught up in the scandal—including Admirals William Ross, Edward Jellico, Alynna Nechayev, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, along with many others, are implicated in the forced removal of a Federation president.

Meanwhile, deep in the distant, unexplored region of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must put aside personal feelings and political concerns as they investigate a massive mysterious spacecraft. Adrift for centuries in the void, the ship is vital to the survival of an endangered civilization which has spent generations searching for a world to sustain what remains of its people. Complicating matters is a band of marauders who have their own designs on the ancient ship, with only the Enterprise standing in their way….


While his collaborations with Ali adorn a few of my more recent offerings, Doug has been providing covers for a number of Star Trek novels for quite some time, now. I’ve definitely benefitted from the voodoo that he (and/or he and Ali) do so well. A couple of my all-time Star Trek novel covers just happen to be for books I wrote or co-wrote::

  

Available Light is due for publication on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in trade paperback, e-Book, and (I’m guessing) audiobook formats. Pre-order links are already live, so feel free to get a jump on your holiday shopping:

The book’s official landing page at Simon & Schuster
Trade Paperback or Kindle eBook from Amazon.com
Trade Paperback or Nook eBook from Barnes & Noble
Kobo eBook from Kobo.com

Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here. You know…trying to finish writing the thing…..

Happy Birthday, Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Tonight…the 24th Century begins…..”

That’s what greeted those of us lounging in front of our televisions 31 years ago tonight, when legendary radio and TV personality and ABC broadcaster Ernie Anderson introduced us to “Staaaaaaaaaar Trek: The Next Generation” with a 90-second teaser just before the premiere of the series first episode, “Encounter at Farpoint.”

Seems like…well, it sure as hell doesn’t seem like 31 years ago that’s for sure.

I’ve told this story before, but on September 28th, 1987, I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s premiere in the TV room of my barracks at Camp Pendleton. The room was stuffed with Marines, and maybe it was because of the beer, but we all stayed to watch the whole thing.

While we didn’t hate it, it was obvious that this show would go through a growth period as the folks behind and in front of the camera tweaked and pulled at this or that. Still, it was new Star Trek, by golly,  and little did we know at the time what that would come to mean.

Now here we are, 31 years after the series premiere and 16 years since the last time he did so, and Patrick Stewart is preparing to return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard. It’s a helluva fun time to be a Star Trek fan.

And while we’re waiting to see what comes of that? Maybe I’ll run “Farpoint” later tonight. Happy 31st Birthday, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Go. Go see what’s out there.

TNG-season1cast

Talking Klingons and the Klingon Travel Guide on the Bound By Honor podcast!

You gotta love those Klingons.

I mean, I know I do…enough that I write about them on occasion. Such was the case with last year’s Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire, in which I did my best to make the Klingon homeworld and various other planets under imperial rule sound like the most awesome vacation destinations you never knew you wanted to visit. My ploy seems to have worked, as I’ve received a number of notes and messages from people who’ve decided that’s where they’re headed for their next anniversary, birthday, spring break, or whatever.

You know…just as soon as there actually is a Klingon Empire, and Southwest Airlines adds it to their routes.

Anyway…

Last week, I sat down with hosts “Juvan,” “Jorn,” and “Ja’Jim” for an interview for Bound By Honor, their podcast devoted to Star Trek and Star Trek books. Our discussion covered several topics, including my early days as a Star Trek fan and my secret writer origin story before we move on to discussing the writing of the Klingon travel guide.

During our talk, I was surprised (and flattered!) that a few Klingon-focused fan groups have actually been using the book along with others such as Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s Star Trek: The Klingon Art of War as resources to help them flesh out various aspects of Klingon culture, world-building, and so on. It’s always fun to hear your work has been well-received by readers, but this is definitely taking things to another level. 🙂

The interview, which runs about an hour, has actually been labeled as “Part 1” of a two-part look at the Klingon travel guide. Part 2, coming in the next week or so, will focus on their review of the book itself. Meanwhile, have a listen to our little chat:

Klingon Assault Group – Bound By Honor Podcast: Dayton Ward Interview

Many thanks to my hosts for having me on. I had a fun time, and perhaps we’ll have reason to chat again sometime in the near future!

Your Moment of TrekZen*.

“They were supposed to wear the brown pants. Oh well. Maybe next time.”

Deadpool-Spock

This hilarious gem comes to us by way of Canadian artist Marco D’Alfonso. Be sure to check out his website and his DeviantArt page for all kinds of awesome pop culture mashup goodness.

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

“Space…the final frontier….”

These are the voyages where the legend began, 52 years ago tonight!

I’ve mentioned this before (about a zillion times), but my earliest memories include Star Trek to some degree. I wasn’t old enough to watch the show during its original broadcast run, but I watched the reruns every day after school. Beyond that, I had the Mego figures and that crazy bridge set. I built the AMT models, and I read the occasional Gold Key comic book or poster book or collection of James Blish episode adaptations.

All of that was just filler of course. Anchoring all of that were the reruns. Always, the reruns.

Back then, before VCRs, DVD, iTunes or NetFlix, you had to wait for your favorite episodes to cycle back around in the rotation. I watched the series on a little black and white television and its crappy little antenna as the show was broadcast on a low-power local UHF station in Tampa. Depending on the time of day and prevailing weather conditions, I might not always get a decent picture. If I was out in the boonies somewhere–like my aunt’s house–I might have to fiddle with the antenna throughout the episode, and as often as not I might be forced to choose between having a picture or having sound.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that today also marks the 45th anniversary of the animated Star Trek series, which premiered on NBC on this date in 1973. I did catch (most of) those episodes during their initial run, and the show helped to spark a lot of the Trek-related toys and other merchandise which came out in the mid 1970s, like those aforementioned Mego action figures.

Today, of course, I have Star Trek literally at my fingertips: Blu-rays on the shelf or episodes streaming over the internet, and I even have my favorite episodes stored on my phone. Then there are the books (Fun fact: I’ve written a few of those, in case you were wondering), comics, role-playing games, computer games, toys, models, websites, and pretty much anything you’d care to name. Today, Star Trek is everywhere. Hold up a picture of the original Enterprise or Kirk and Spock, and most people will know what you’re talking about.

Star Trek looks pretty dapper for 52. Enjoy your cake.

Talking Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 4 with the TrekGeeks!

And now for something somewhat different.

Yes, I sat down with another podcast, and sure…it was another Star Trek-themed podcast, but this one had the rare pleasure of not being about me!

“Whaaaaaat?” I can hear someone shouting from the cheap seats. “I thought he was always about him. The hell is this madness?

This time, I sat down with Bill Smith and Dan Davidson of the TrekGeeks podcast, to act as something resembling a referee, moderator, babysitter, or whatever as we discussed the fourth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in a rapid-fire “See It Or Skip It” discussion. What’s that about? Essentially, we run down the list of the season’s episodes, and give our quick hit “See It” or “Skip It” recommendations, and why. My job, supposedly, was to keep the show moving and prevent Bill and Dan from descending into mortal combat…or something.

Hardcore Star Trek fans will doubtless note that DS9’s fourth season is pretty strong, pound for pound. It probably won’t surprise you to know that (SPOILERS!) we ended up recommending most of the episodes as “See It.” Which ones did we opt to put in the “Skip It” column? Which ones made us waffle back and forth? Well, you’re just gonna hafta listen, aren’t you? Do that right here:

TrekGeeks Episode 149
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 4 – See It Or Skip It

Many thanks to Bill and Dan for inviting me to come and play for a bit. This one was a lot of fun, and I’ve already told them I’d be up for a future installment at some point.

Happy Birthday, Gene.

Today marks what would have been the 97th birthday of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

roddenberry-nimoy

“I would hope there are bright young people, growing up all the time, who will bring to [Star Trek] levels and areas that were beyond me, and I don’t feel jealous about that at all….It’ll go on without any of us, and get better and better and better. That really is the human condition–to improve.”

– Gene Roddenberry, 1988

Thank you for giving us such a wondrous sandbox in which to play and dream.

Roddenberry-Quote

Back cover copy and pre-order links for Available Light!

Those of you who weren’t around here back on Wednesday may have missed the announcement that Pocket Books has officially renewed its license to publish Star Trek novels, and the first of the books covered by that new agreement will start hitting shelves in early 2019.

Una McCormack is our lead-off hitter, and her Sylvia Tilly-focused Star Trek: Discovery novel The Way to the Stars will be out in January. Next up will be Greg Cox and his Original Series novel The Antares Maelstrom, out in March.

Then, there’s me, comin’ at ya in April with Available Light, in which I pick up Captain Picard and the rest of the Star Trek: The Next Generation gang from where I left things last summer with my previous TNG novel, Hearts and Minds.

In the wake of the announcement, now I can offer you Available Light‘s official, actual back cover copy, as well as a few pre-order links…because I know you’ll want to get on this as soon as possible, amirite?

Anyway, here we go:

Continue reading “Back cover copy and pre-order links for Available Light!”

Why, yes…I am indeed writing another Star Trek novel.

It’s been talked about, rumored about, and teased for lo these many moons.

It’s been a long road, getting from there to…..sorry. Accidental Star Trek: Enterprise reference. :: ahem ::

Anyway, at long last, Pocket Books, in the form of editor Ed Schlesinger who is spending this week out in Las Vegas for the ginormous Star Trek convention currently taking place there, announced yesterday that Pocket’s license to publish Star Trek novels was officially renewed, and also introduced the first three books which will lead off the 2019 line-up:

First up? The wonderful Una McCormack is back, this time to bring us an all-new Star Trek: Discovery tale:

The Way to the Stars, January:  Despite being an inexperienced Starfleet cadet, Sylvia Tilly became essential to the U.S.S. Discovery finding its way back home from the Mirror Universe. But how did she find that courage? From where did she get that steel? Who nurtured that spark of brilliance? The Way to the Stars recounts for fans everywhere the untold story of Tilly’s past.

It’s not easy being sixteen, especially when everyone expects great things from Tilly. It’s even harder when her mother and father are Federation luminaries, not to mention pressing her to attend one of the best schools that the Federation has to offer. Tilly wants to achieve great things — even though she hasn’t quite worked out how to do that or what it is she wants to do. But this year, everything will change for Tilly, as she about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime — an adventure that will take her ever closer to the stars…

Longtime Trek prose veteran Greg Cox is next at bat, with another Star Trek: The Original Series tale:

The Antares Maelstrom, March: Baldur-3 is an obscure planet just beyond the outer fringes of Federation space, until a group of struggling colonists discover vast quantities of the energy source pergium beneath the planet’s surface. An old-fashioned “gold rush” is now underway—a chaotic situation, as neighboring planets and space stations are vastly ill-equipped to deal with the flood of vessels and aliens competing to get to the planet in time to stake their claims. Although Baldur-3 isn’t technically under Federation jurisdiction, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are soon diverted to deal with the crisis . . . one which lies on the other side of the dangerous area of space known as the Antares Maelstrom.

Next? Why, that’d be Yours Truly, returning to the realm of Star Trek: The Next Generation and all the craziness you may have read about at the end of David Mack’s novel Control, and my own TNG tale from last year, Hearts and Minds:

Available Light, April: As fallout from the exposure of the “Control” AI security program and the unchecked crimes of Section 31 spans the entire Alpha Quadrant and ultimately reaches the halls of Starfleet Command, the admiralty must decide what the consequences will be for their own… including Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who helped bring down a Federation president and violated the principles of his oath. Meanwhile, deep in the unexplored section of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the Enterprise crew must put aside personal feelings on the matter and distant political concerns as they investigate the mystery a centuries-old massive spacecraft adrift in the void and under attack from marauders looking to claim the ship for themselves—and armed with weapons that are evenly matched with Starfleet’s finest…

(As you can see, I’m already rather busy with mine.)

Now, it’s worth noting that these are just the three books out of the chute. Rest assured more will be announced as deemed appropriate by The Powers That Be.

As for these three, expect more information as we get closer to the weekend, including pre-order links and actual/updated back cover copy descriptions, which are supposed to be fed out to the various book retailers/catalogs/etc. over the next couple of days.

So, for those of you who’ve been patiently waiting for news on this front along with those of you who…you know, haven’t…I for one appreciate you hanging in there with us as we all careened down this rather bumpy road to get to this point. Bring on 2019!