Somewhere to Belong

Star Trek: Discovery

An all-new novel based upon the acclaimed Star Trek TV series!

Captain Michael Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery are finding that each day is a critical adjustment to their new lives and new missions in an Alpha Quadrant more than nine hundred years in the future. It’s here that Discovery is reconnecting with various worlds where the cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. There’s been precious little time for the crew to truly come to terms with their present reality, as their devotion to duty hides the emotional stress that could impact their effectiveness, and even threaten themselves or others.

After a successful journey to yet another planet cut off from the Federation, Discovery picks up a distress signal located in a nearby star system—a plea that harbors roots from their past lives in the 23rd century, and which may now lead to an entirely new crisis, plunging them all into mortal danger…


Been a while since I’ve done one of these, huh?

In truth, this novel was supposed to come out late last year, but forces and factors beyond my control saw to it my book along with several others was pushed by Simon & Schuster out of last year’s schedule into this year. At first that was an odd feeling, as it made me realize that 2022 would mark the first time in fourteen years that I wouldn’t have at least one piece of Star Trek fiction published anywhere. Weird, that. I mean….I was starting to get itchy, y’all.

But hey! It’s 2023 and we’re back to cookin’ with gas.

As I’ve already mentioned in a couple of interviews conducted prior to the book’s release, Somewhere to Belong is a bit of a departure for me in a couple of ways. First, it is — incredibly enough — the first time I’ve written a novel tying into a series that was still in production and set during the events of said series. For Discovery in particular, it marks the first time I got to play with the entire cast of characters, rather than what I did with my previous effort, 2018’s Drastic Measures, which focused on Gabriel Lorca and Philippa Georgiou ten years prior to the events which kick off the series.

For the characters, I saw an opportunity to get into their heads a bit during that gap between seasons three and four. There were — at least to me — various questions about how Michael Burnham and her crew were adapting to their new reality, which seemed to have been answered “off-camera” once fourth-season episodes started airing. Wondering what those answers might be was my way in, so to speak, and working with my editor, Margaret Clark, and Kirsten Beyer at Secret Hideout, we developed a basic premise which I was then sent off to flesh out. I can’t thank Margaret and Kirsten enough for their guidance early on.

(For those wondering, I wrote this novel while Discovery‘s fifth season was in production, and I delivered the manuscript long before the announcement about the show coming to a close when that season begins streaming next year.)

If you’re keeping score, Somewhere to Belong is my 24th Star Trek novel and the 20th I’ve written under the editorial guidance of Margaret and Ed Schlesinger, representing Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books imprint. I’ve been working with either or both of these folks for nearly twenty years. It doesn’t matter how many times I thank them for their assistance and support, as it’ll never be enough.

This is also the eighth Star Trek novel of mine to receive an audiobook adaptation. In a change of pace for me, this new story greatly benefits from the vocal stylings of the amazing January LaVoy. I’ve listened to her read other books, including Una McCormack’s Discovery novels The Way to the Stars and Wonderlands, and I think she does an incredible job here.

Somewhere to Belong is now available at bookstores everywhere, in trade paperback, e-Book, and both digital and CD audiobook editions. If you’re still one of those folks who loves going to an actual store for your reading material, I humbly suggest patronizing your local independent bookseller. If that sort of thing isn’t feasible for whatever reason, then of course we have other options:

Simon & Schuster
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
BookShop

In addition to providing a permanent home for links to find and order the book, this blog entry also will serve as the book’s “official” Q&A thread. Those of you who want to chat about the book, feel free to post your questions/etc. to the comments section. For those of you who’ve found this page and perhaps not yet read the book, BEWARE SPOILERS ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.

April 26-28: Pre-order Somewhere to Belong for 25% off!

To be fair, you can pre-order a bunch of titles for the same discount, but I’m gonna be selfish for a minute in this space and start with pumping up the volume on my own book.

Those of you who frequent my corner of the Intrawebz know that I have a new Star Trek: Discovery novel coming out on May 30th: Somewhere to Belong. What’s that? You say this somehow slipped past you? Worry not, friends. I’ve got a refresher all lined up for you:


Captain Michael Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery are finding that each day is a critical adjustment to their new lives and new missions in an Alpha Quadrant more than nine hundred years in the future. It’s here that Discovery is reconnecting with various worlds where the cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. There’s been precious little time for the crew to truly come to terms with their present reality, as their devotion to duty hides the emotional stress that could impact their effectiveness, and even threaten themselves or others.

After a successful journey to yet another planet cut off from the Federation, Discovery picks up a distress signal located in a nearby star system—a plea that harbors roots from their past lives in the 23rd century, and which may now lead to an entirely new crisis, plunging them all into mortal danger….

For those of you who might wish to pre-order to book and maybe save a little scratch along the way, you’ll be pleased to learn Barnes & Noble is offering a special discount of 25% if you place your order between today, April 26, through Friday, April 28.

Somewhere to Belong is part of that promotion, allowing you to pre-order the book in trade paperback, eBook format for Nook and compatible devices and apps, digital audiobook, and even the audiobook in CD format for you lovable Luddites (my people!).

(For those of you who’ve asked, I’m now pleased to tell you that January LaVoy performs the audiobook adaptation. Among many other things, she also read Una McCormack’s Disco novel, Wonderlands, and I can’t be more thrilled she and her amazing voice were available for my book.)

B&N has set up a “Coming Soon” landing page to make it easy for you to see what’s inbound over the next couple of months, so feel free to take all sorts of advantages of the offer by using the promo code PREORDER25. Did I mention I have a new book of my own coming out in trade paperback, eBook format for Nook and compatible devices and apps, digital audiobook, and even the audiobook in CD format?

Let’s fly, yo.

Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

Today we’re celebrating the 92nd birthday of the Man himself: Captain Kirk, T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911 Guy, Denny Crane, Priceline Negotiator, and CAPTAIN JAMES TIBERIUS BY GOD KIRK.

:: ahem. ::

We’re talking about a guy who’s been in front of a camera over a span of eight decades. Seriously, go look at his IMDB entry. I get tired just reading it, and that’s not even counting writing, producing, and directing credits. It’s even money you can find him somewhere on your TV right now. He’s working on three or four new projects even as I type this, and he shows no signs of slowing down. The dude even went to space, for crying out loud.

The one and only William Shatner: 92 years old, and still running circles around people half his age. I’ll have what he’s having.

Happy Birthday, sir. May you enjoy many more.

Star Trek: Discovery – Somewhere to Belong has a cover!

Look at that, right? The big news, laid out right there in the headline. No enticing you to click through to a crappy “independent” news or gossip site. No leading you on in a wild goose chase as you desperately attempt to decipher whatever encrypted message to which I might be alluding before making you suffer through a poorly written if not A.I.-generated and badly edited piece which offers information of little to no consequence.

That’s right, people. I respect you all enough to make sure that when I offer you information of little or no consequence, it’s locally sourced directly from my own keyboard.

“Hey, Dayton,” I can hear comeone calling from the stands. “Get on with it.”

Fine.

You’re here because you probably saw a tease of the pic included wherever the link to this post pops up, so here’s the whole thing. As created by artist Cliff Nielsen, the cover to my upcoming Star Trek: Discovery novel Somewhere to Belong:

Continue reading “Star Trek: Discovery – Somewhere to Belong has a cover!”

40 years of Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator.

Fair warning: It’s gonna get nerdy in here.

We’re good? Sweet.

Set the Wayback Machine for 1983, and me the wayward teen wandering into one of the numerous video game arcades taking up space inside pool halls or strip malls, renovated fast food joints and other odd-sized buildings all over the city of Tampa. My pockets jammed with however many quarters and dollar bills I could scrounge, I move past such favorites as Tron and Tempest, on my way to the hot new game I’ve been dying to play:

Your mission, should you insert your quarter(s) and press the button for 1 or 2 players, was to pilot the U.S.S. Enterprise from “sector” to “sector,” defending varying numbers of starbases from varying numbers of Klingon battle cruisers. Some of the enemy ships concentrated on destroying the starbases while others were intent on destroying the Enterprise (and you).

Successfully defending the starbases meant bonus points after clearing a “sector,” so your first priority was taking out the Klingons attacking them. Docking at a starbase also was one means of repairing “damage” and replenishing your various “consumables” — warp drive power, photon torpedoes, and deflector shields. However, docking at a starbase reduced the bonus points it offered for your successful defense. So, the object? Destroy all the Klingons, defend all the starbases, and do so (if possible) without being forced to dock for emergency repairs.

Every five sectors or so, you entered a special “bonus” round where you faced off against the “Nomad probe,” which was busy deploying mines like a rabbit shot-gunning Red Bull. Taking out Nomad without incurring damage from any of the mines meant more sweet bonus points, after which you charged into the next round of “sector battles” with ever more angrier, faster Klingons.

Continue repeating all of the above until your ship is destroyed.

(Pic courtesy of the Sega Wiki)

A fossil by today’s gaming standards, Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator was pretty slick when it was released by Sega in January 1983. The vector graphics were typical of the era, but the game also benefitted from Leonard Nimoy and James Doohan supplying their voices for various snippets of dialogue throughout the game. Familiar Star Trek music and sound effects rounded out the presentation. The controls were pretty simple, with a “spin knob” to control direction and four buttons–one each for phasers, photon torpedoes, thrusters and “warp drive” to get you out of a tough jam, at least for a couple of seconds.

The game itself came in two basic configurations: the standard stand-up cabinet model prevalent in most arcades, and the deluxe “sit-down” model that partially enclosed the player in a “captain’s chair,” with the controls set into the arms. Of course, back in those days it was common practice to repurpose arcade cabinets by swapping out the innards and the exterior artwork, so finding an actual honest to goodness sit-down model is a pretty rare event anymore. That said, now you know what to get me for Christmas or my birthday if you chance across one. Until then, I have to make do with what I have:

My oldest child, teaching me how not to suck at this game, circa 2008.

In addition to the original arcade game version, the game also was made available for home console systems of the day–Atari 2600/5200, Commodore 64, the TI-99, and so on. Stop laughing. The Commodore 64 graphics actually were better than the arcade model. I said stop laughing!

Forty years after I first played it in that long-gone arcade, I still love this thing. I don’t play it every day, of course, but every so often the itch needs scratchin’, you know? The model which currently sits in my home office was acquired soon after we moved into our house, allowing me to cross one item off my Bucket List (“Own actual Star Trek arcade game.”).

(Sadly, “Own actual Tron arcade game” is still on the list, so remember: Christmas or birthday. I’m not picky.)

Happy 40th, Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator. Who’s got quarters?

Tuesday Trekkin’: Some new love for Star Trek Vanguard!

We’re careening toward the end of the year and while this is supposed to be something of a slow week (HAH!), I’m hoping I can try resuscitate this blog-type thing on some level during 2023. To that end, feel free to offer suggestions for things you might want to see more (or less) of around here.

Meanwhile, it’s Tuesday, which means it could possibly also be time for another installment of “Tuesday Trekkin’,” one of several irregularly recurring features you newcomers might find here. This one is really just a shoddy excuse for me to yammer on a bit about some nugget of Star Trek fandom. Most of the time, this means me babbling about some fondly remembered bit of goofy merchandise or collectible, anniversaries and “milestones” or important dates in franchise history, convention memories, or whatever else tickles my brain on any given day.

The “Tuesday Trekkin’” moniker is also a tip of the hat to Dan Davidson and Bill Smith, aka “The Hosts of the TrekGeeks Podcast.” Their fan group over on Facebook, Camp Khitomer, is devoted to all things Trek where all are welcome to join in their positive vibes and community. Sometimes, they also like to push a #TrekTuesday hashtag over there, inviting members to share updates, links, and/or pictures celebrating their fandom, so this feature is definitely offered in that same spirit.

I’d actually planned to do this one a couple of weeks ago for reasons which (hopefully) will become clear as I proceed, but December kind of got away from me with work, family stuff, the holidays, and so on, but here we are! Those of you who follow such things know that Harm’s Way, a new Star Trek novel penned by friend and fellow word pusher David Mack, was published back on back on December 13th. In addition to being an original series tale featuring Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise in their prime during their historic five-year mission, the new story also ties into one of my very favorite aspects of the Star Trek “expanded universe,” the Star Trek Vanguard novel series.

Continue reading “Tuesday Trekkin’: Some new love for Star Trek Vanguard!”

Holiday reading: A few old (and new!) favorites.

When I was a kid, this time of year usually meant a slew of Christmas specials on TV. Charlie Brown, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the Grinch to name just a few folks who stared out from the family television all through the month of December. Nowadays, you can’t go a single day of the month without running into some channel airing something holiday related, and that’s without considering streaming/on-demand options or the really hard core folks who break out a Blu-ray, DVD, VHS or Beta tape, or LaserDisc.

(If you’ve got How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on LaserDisc, you are a holiday binge watching beast.)

Know what else is good to do this time of year? Curl up with a good book. Make it a holiday-themed book if you really want to be so sweet you break out with spontaneous diabetes. Would I ever write such a book? Sure, if I was able to conjure an idea. I thought I had the makings of a pretty decent one several years ago, but it turns out I wasn’t the only one with that same notion, and they beat me to the punch. Take a guess.

Until then, there are several books, old and new, I consider favorites for this time of year, each of them written by an author more capable than myself.

Continue reading “Holiday reading: A few old (and new!) favorites.”

Your Moment of TrekZen* – Classic Thanksgiving Edition!

We shall all sing songs of the Great Turkey Leg, on our way to the Stove O’ Kor.

Klingon Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Here’s hoping you enjoy a restful holiday in the company of family and friends. For those unable to do so – servicemembers, first responders, doctors and nurses, and lots of other fine people answering a higher calling or simply having to work a job that precludes them from taking the day off – we thank you for your service and commitments and wish you a safe return home. And let’s not forget those who for whatever reason might be alone today, or who might need a helping hand.

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

Tuesday Trekkin’: Star Trek Halloween costumes!

Been a minute, huh?

Things have been busy here at the manor, forcing me to let idle things like this “irregularly recurring” feature that’s little more than an thin excuse for me to babble on a bit about some nugget of Star Trek fandom. Most of the time, this means me babbling about some fondly remembered bit of goofy merchandise or collectible, anniversaries and “milestones” or important dates in franchise history, convention memories, or whatever else tickles my brain on any given day.

The “Tuesday Trekkin’” moniker is also a tip of the hat to Dan Davidson and Bill Smith, aka “The Hosts of the TrekGeeks Podcast.” Their fan group over on Facebook, Camp Khitomer, is devoted to all things Trek where all are welcome to join in their positive vibes and community. Sometimes, they also like to push a #TrekTuesday hashtag over there, inviting members to share updates, links, and/or pictures celebrating their fandom, so this feature is definitely offered in that same spirit.

I’d actually been thinking about this one for a bit, given the season. We’re less than a week away from Halloween, so naturally my thoughts turned to the very oddball assortment of costumes that have come along specifically for engaging in trick-or-treat landing parties (or, “away teams” if that’s your kink). If we’re being brutally honest, Star Trek Halloween costumes have always been sort of a mixed bag. Not counting the really higher-end costumes that run into the hundreds of dollars, companies like Rubies II, which has been making affordable Halloween costumes and accessories since the 1950s, including various iterations of Star Trek. Their selection is, I imagine, decent for the price-range, though I suspect very few of us can make them look as good as the actors on any of the shows.

Are you more the do it yourself type? For years, the Simplicity Pattern Company offered back in the 1980s sewing patterns for both the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. They updated and rereleased those patterns in 2016 as part of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, accompanied by new patterns from TNG and the Star Trek films. Somewhere in my archives I have a set of the 80s patterns, though I never tried to make them, myself. I have a sneaky suspicions the final result would not look even as good as the photos on the original packaging.

Don’t feel like going all in with the whole costume? I suppose you could just get by with a mask. Trick or Treat Studios carries among their sizable inventory a few Star Trek masks that are bit pricey, but maaaaaaaaaan do they look cool.

Star Trek masks, L-R: The Gorn, the Balok puppet, and the Mugato.

On the other hand, the less said about this one, the better.

The infamous Michael Myers mask as seen in the Halloween movies, and the William Shatner mask which served as inspiration and point of departure.

However — HOW. EVER. — no discussion about Star Trek Halloween costumes is complete without the king of them all: the Ben Cooper jobs based very loosely on the original Star Trek series. Now this was my Halloween experience as a young, single-digit proto-human in the 1970s. Look at the stunning on-screen accuracy, the near-total lack of ability to breathe let alone see, and if you’re thinking the entire thing is one stray match away from total walking miniature inferno, well….you’re not wrong.


Trick or treat, yo.

To read much more about these little packages of insanity, check out these articles from Trekker Scrapbook and Plaid Stallions, which is where I found the above Ben Cooper costume photos. Ben Cooper has recently gotten back into the costume game, offering “nostalgic” costumes for grown-ups modeled after the original designs. So far, they’ve released costumes based on Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and superheroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash. Can Star Trek be too far behind? Let’s hope not.

All right, friends! Armed with newfound vital knowledge on this #TrekTuesday, which of these are you planning to wear for Halloween?

Pics or it didn’t happen.

New Star Trek: Discovery novel coming May 2023…from me!

FINALLY, IT CAN BE TOLD.

For a while now, those of you who read my little toy-filled corner of the internet have been reading about an “Untitled tie-in novel” that’s one of my current works-in-progress. Indeed, my monthly writing wrap-up posts usually had something annoyingly vague like this to say about the book:

There have been some rumors and such about what this is, but I can’t really say much as nothing’s been formally confirmed or announced. I can say that the placeholder title I’ve seen bandied about is not accurate. It’s what they stuck into my contract at the time, before I’d even written an outline. Suffice it to say there’s a different title on the pages I’m looking at right now.”

Then there were the mysterious listings on Simon & Schuster’s website, which offered little in the way of actual info, because a delay in publication (see below) meant they weren’t yet ready to share any details about the book until the time was right. For example, curious knowledge seekers checking out the latest happenings in Star Trek publishing land might’ve come across a listing with a cover image like the one shown here.

This along with what was essentially “template data” is what fed out to the various book retailer sites. Meanwhile, I didn’t say much, instead waiting for the publisher and Paramount to approve the public release of any promo info about the book, which is my cue to start yammering about it.

So, yammer I shall!

As of today, I can officially announce that my next novel will be Somewhere to Belong, a Star Trek: Discovery novel set between the show’s third and fourth seasons. What’s it about, you ask? Well, allow me:

Captain Michael Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery are finding that each day is a critical adjustment to their new lives and new missions in an Alpha Quadrant more than nine hundred years in the future. It’s here that Discovery is reconnecting with various worlds where the cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. There’s been precious little time for the crew to truly come to terms with their present reality, as their devotion to duty hides the emotional stress that could impact their effectiveness, and even threaten themselves or others.

After a successful journey to yet another planet cut off from the Federation, Discovery picks up a distress signal located in a nearby star system—a plea that harbors roots from their past lives in the 23rd century, and which may now lead to an entirely new crisis, plunging them all into mortal danger….

And there you go.

I actually delivered the manuscript back in April, but supply chain issues affecting the availability of paper and thereby forcing printer scheduling issues saw to it this book – originally slated for release in late 2022, was instead pushed into next year. Naturally, this affected the timetable of various things baked into the book’s development life cycle, including everything from when it was sent to a copyeditor to when I received galley (typeset) pages to when a cover might be commissioned. Also impacted by the rescheduling was the timeframe when I could actually announce and begin soft-promoting the thing. As it happens, today’s the day!

When I was asked to write the book and while talking with my editor as well as friend Kirsten Beyer, as my story ideas started to take shape I realized I wanted to spend at least some time with the characters in the aftermath of the Season Three events. Basically, Discovery and its crew arrived in the 32nd century and hit the ground running, with almost no time to acclimate to their new “home” let alone contemplate their place in it.

Star Trek: Discovery season four key art. This won’t be the cover, even though I think it fits the book’s overall theme very well. Stay tuned for that!

Once I learned there would be a time gap between those events and the start of Season Four, I started thinking about the crew’s reactions to the decision they made to jump with Michael Burnham to the future. How are they adjusting? Are they adjusting? Anybody having second thoughts, regrets, wondering if they made a terrible mistake or they simply feel homesick? Plus, there were a few interesting threads left dangling at the end of Season Three that lent themselves to playing in this space.

Along with this, I also just wanted to put these characters through something closer to a “traditional” Star Trek adventure. No crazy galactic crises or threats of war, but instead maybe a first contact situation and a chance to see how Burnham and her people can adapt to the way things like this are handled in the here and now of the year 3189 vs. 2258. Unlike Drastic Measures, which I wrote as a prequel set ten years before the events of Discovery‘s first season, here I was writing within a more strict set of parameters. As this story is set in that narrow gap between seasons, I had to work within the constraints that implies, but hey! Welcome to writing tie-in fiction for a show that is currently in active production. 🙂

As I write this, the book is scheduled for publication on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 and is currently up for pre-order from all the usual places. It’ll be available as a trade paperback and an eBook, as well as an unabridged audiobook. I encourage folks to patronize and support their local independent booksellers if at all possible, but if that’s not an option you can also find links here: Star Trek: Discovery – Somewhere to Belong.

Let’s fly, y’all!