Catch me if you can….

So, I’ll be getting around a bit during the next week, at least in an online sense.

First, this coming Sunday morning, August 21st, I’m supposed to be dropping in to the Sunday G and T Show, a weekly internet-based talk show/podcast hosted by my friends Terry Lynn Shull and Nick Minecci. One of the show’s focuses is Star Trek fiction, and they’ve even started monthly book club. The first entry in their read and discussion group is Star Trek: Vanguard – Declassified, which has now been out a couple of months. That’ll be one of the topics on Sunday, and I’m sure the Vanguard talk will also turn to the upcoming books in the series, as well. I’m not sure yet what time I’m supposed to be on, but I’ll obviously post that info once I get it.

Next? Starting next Tuesday, August 23rd, I will begin posting as a regular contributor to the Novel Spaces Blog. Longtime friend and fellow Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Corps of Engineers vet Kevin Killiany has been a regular contributor there for quite some time now, and he approached me last week about joining the team. After my first post next week, I’ll move to my regular rotation and post a new column on the 16th of every month. I have no idea what I might talk about, so expect lots of observations about bacon in all its myriad forms.

Finally, next Wednesday, August 24th, at 9pm Eastern, I’ll be the guest for Bryan Thomas Scmhidt‘s weekly Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat, which he co-hosts with writer/editor Sarah Hendrix over on Twitter. If you want to follow or join the discussion, simply follow the “#sffwrtcht” hashtag. If not, a transcript will be posted to the chat’s page over on Bryan’s site.

Yeah, that’s enough for one week, I think.

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Halloween story – 2011 edition?

Reading John Scalzi’s new short story that he posted to Twitter today in honor of reaching 20,000 followers reminded me that I should probably start thinking about what — if anything — I might do for my third annual “Halloween Twitter Story.”

Weren’t around back then? Maybe you had something more interesting to do those nights? For those still wondering, during each of the past two Halloween nights, I “live-tweeted” a story via Twitter, delivering each tale via that platform’s 140 byte-per-Tweet limit. The first year’s story was relatively short, and I was able to get in and out without too much trouble. Last year’s story was longer, and I actually got stopped by Twitter by tweeting too much within a prescribed time frame.

Whoops.

With that in mind, I’ve decided that while I won’t be doing any prolonged “live-tweeting” of any new story this year, I’d still write one, and in keeping somewhat with this “Twitter tradition,” I’d write it so that each sentence is 140 characters or less. For the most part, that’s how each of the first two stories was presented, anyway.

Oh, and for those who might want to see what the hub-bub was about, you can read those stories here:
Halloween 2009: “Last Stand
Halloween 2010: “Counter-Protest

What to do this year? I’m actually stuck on that point, at the moment. The first year was easy, because I already had a story in the file which lent itself to the idea and required little conversion/updating on my part for it to fit the Twitter format. Last year’s story grew out of prompt given to me by my friend “Terpette” on Twitter. I’ve got a couple of potential ideas for this go-around, but nothing’s really grabbing me at the moment.

I shall have to ponder this a bit….

Twitter diversions: #sixwordnovels

Every once in a while, something fun happens on Twitter which rises above the usual background noise that is people telling each other where they’re eating or who they’re hanging out with, or spambots pimping you with some shitty product because you dared to use a word in your own tweets that’s a keyword from their “marketing database” designed to annoy the shit of pretty much everyone. And if none of that ends up boring you to tears, you can always read my tweets.

Today’s example of something more fun? One of the trending topics was “#sixwordnovels.” As you can guess, the point was to tell a story (novel?) in six words.

The topic was raging pretty well early in the day, and I periodically dropped one here and there when I had a free minute or two. Here’s what I tossed out there. What follows are the complete tweets as I posted them:

  • God sighed. “Time to start over.” – #sixwordnovels
  • The editor said, “Add more vampires.” #sixwordnovels
    (This one got a retweet from somebody at Pocket Books. Alas, no novel contract, though ;D)

  • Girl meets werewolf; werewolf eats girl. #sixwordnovels
  • Armstrong said, “Those aren’t our footprints.” #sixwordnovels
    (I tweeted this one a while back, when Tor was sponsoring a little “Six Word SF Story” contest on Twitter. So, technically, this one is a reprinted novel.)

  • Satan’s first day sucked. “No matches?” #sixwordnovels
  • Here’s a self-serving bit for #sixwordnovels: The last world war…really wasn’t.
    (Friend Kevin Mellon (@kmellon) quickly hit me up with a reply: “Follow that up with a tweet about your next book. ;)” This begat my last submission of the day….)

  • @kmellon Next book? The Shedai awoke, very pissed off. #sixwordnovels #STVanguard 🙂

I guess this sort of thing beats reading the chatter about Justin Bieber….

(On an unrelated note, when I performed a spell check on this entry before posting it, it flagged “STVanguard” and then offered five alternatives. The fifth option was “sphincter.” Make of that what you will. Hmm….)

“Counter-Protest,” now available for normal folk.

For those who might care, I’ve put up a page for “Counter-Protest,” the short story I “live-tweeted” this past Halloween. This version lacks the Twitter hashtags and is formatted for viewing by…you know…regular folk, who can handle life events in chunks larger than 140 characters at a time.

I know there’s one or two of you out there.

Anyway, you can find the story by following this link.

Enjoy (I hope).

Tor’s “Six Word SF Story” exercise on Twitter.

Last week, the good folks over at Tor.com asked their followers on Twitter to create a six-word fantasy story.

There were a slew of responses to that challenge, so Tor did something similar today, only this time hardy souls were tasked with creating a six-word science fiction story. I threw a tweet into the mix earlier this morning, and “Stubby the Rocket” over at Tor included it in the blog entry highlighting some of the examples from the Twitter feed. My six-word missive:

@daytonward Armstrong said, “These aren’t our footprints.”

If you follow the links, people are adding new “submissions” in the comments, but you can also play along on Twitter by following and employing the “#sixwordscifi” hashtag.

Enjoy!

“Counter-Protest”

Following on the fun we (supposedly) had for Halloween 2009 when I “live-tweeted” a piece of zombie flash fiction on Twitter, I was asked to repeat the exercise again for 2010. The result of that call was this story, “Counter-Protest.”

The basic idea came from trekkieturtle, who suggested a story about zombies having their way with the folks from a certain “church” of certifiable whack-jobs. They get their rocks off by staging protests at (among other things) the funerals for fallen service members, where they hold up signs that convey notions of God punishing said soldiers as vengeance for our society’s embracing of homosexuality. “Thank God for IEDs” and “Pray for More Dead Soldiers” and other assorted vile bullshit are common slogans on display at such events.

(Yes, I know that the 1st Amendment protects this bunch and their antics, just as it protects my right to offer my humble opinion that every single one of those nutbags will eventually end up in the fiery pits of Hell, impaled through the ass on their own personalized hot pokers fashioned to resemble the flame-spewing cock of Mephistopheles himself. And, if there truly is a God, every single one of their deaths and subsequent banishments to Satan’s rec room will be aired on PBS.)

Anyway, while I loved the basic idea of sending zombies after this bunch, I’d already done zombies last Halloween, so I gave it some thought and figured out a way to use her suggestion while still doing something different. The result?

As with last Halloween, I presented this new story on Twitter as a (seemingly unending) series of tweets, interspersed with me handing out candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Each tweet was appended with the hashtag “#wardfic” so folks could keep track of the feed I was conjuring. I even tweeted myself into a “Twitter time-out” at one point, necessitating me sitting in Twitter Jail for almost two hours before I could resume posting. For those who followed in real time, this raised a few questions as to whether I blew off the story to go and watch The Walking Dead. But, I finally managed to get back online and finish the “show.”

Now with Halloween 2010 safely behind us, here’s the entire story, without the Twitter hashtags and formatted for reading by regular people who can handle more than 140 characters at a time.

'Counter-Protest,' the complete story, behind the cut.

Almost time for the “Counter-Protest.”

A week or so ago, I announced that I’d be doing another “Halloween Twitter Story” again this year, following the postive feedback I got from last year’s story in this vein, “Last Stand.” Now that we’re getting closer to Halloween, I figure it’s about the right time to offer up some info. Besides, I’m having fun creating “cover art” which aids in selling the story’s premise of spoofing a certain group of hateful douchebags. Example:

Like last year, the story will be presented as a series of tweets, and each tweet will be appended with a Twitter hashtag. In this case, I’ll be using “#wardfic,” so by searching on that, you’ll have access to the story tweets, albeit in reverse order.

I’ll probably start the Twitterfest around 6:30pm (Central Time) on Halloween evening, right about the time the neighborhood kids are beginning their trick-or-treat rounds. So, if you’re reading this and you’re on Twitter and you *don’t* want to be subjected to my Twitterhea, I won’t take it personally if you put me on ignore or simply unfollow me for the hour or so it should take to get through the whole thing.

(Though I might take it a bit personally if you don’t un-ignore or re-follow me once it’s all said and done. Don’t make a grown man cry, all right?)

For the rest of you die-hard faithful and even just the ones who will be caught unaware once I start, see you Sunday!

This year’s Halloween Twitter story.

Some of you might remember that last year, I “live tweeted” (what other kind of tweeting is there?) a piece of flash fiction to Twitter on Halloween night, switching between firing off a few tweets and handing out candy to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. You can read about my crazy notion here.

If you want to read a “de-Twitterfied” version of the story, go here.

“So, Dayton,” I can hear some folks saying (though it could just be wishful thinking), “are you gonna do that again this year?”

Yeah, why not?

The original seed for this year’s story came from trekkieturtle, suggesting I spin a yarn about zombies having their way with a certain group of religious fanatics. No, I’m not naming names, but I think we all know who I’m talking about. The group in question gets their rocks off by staging protests at (among other things) the funerals for fallen service members, where they hold up signs that convey notions of God punishing said soldiers as vengeance for our society’s embracing of homosexuality. “Thank God for IEDs” and “Pray for More Dead Soldiers” and other assorted vile bullshit are common slogans on display at such events.

(Yes, I know that the 1st Amendment protects this bunch and their antics, just as it protects my right to offer my humble opinion that every single one of those nutbags will eventually end up in the fiery pits of Hell, impaled through the ass on their own personalized hot pokers fashioned to resemble the flame-spewing cock of Mephistopheles himself. And, if there is a God, every single one of their deaths and subsequent banishments to Satan’s rec room will be aired on PBS.)

Anyway, my story….

I decided that while I liked the notion of taking a poke at such a gang of unrepentant bigots and taint pimples, I’d already done zombies last year. With that in mind, I gave it some more thought and took things in a different direction, and it was that something different that actually helped me find the story’s ending. So, what did I come up with?

Like last year, this story’s in the 1,000-or so word range. What’s gonna happen? Well, you’ll just have to wait ’til Sunday, October 31st. I’ll have more info, like what Twitter hashtag(s) to follow and all that, as we get closer. Hope to see you there!

Space Horrors TwitterParty!


All day today (okay, 9am-9pm Eastern), Flying Pen Press publisher David Rozansky (@DavidRozansky) is hosting a “TwitterParty” to celebrate the release of Space Horrors.

For the Twitterati among us, follow the #FTST “hashtag” to keep tabs on the ongoing discussion(s). Several of the anthologies contributors as well as editor David Lee Summers (@davidleesummers)
will be chiming in throughout the day, and David is planning longer interviews with some of the authors (including me) along the way.

So, get to tweeting, yo!

The trouble with tribble tweets.


This new entry at Doug Drexler’s website, The Drexfiles, is pretty amusing. It’s a photographic travelogue of a wayward tribble. Thanks to Doug’s rather storied career, the tribble goes on a pretty slick journey to various Hollywood locales. Be sure to check out some of the characters the little wanderer encounters on his/her journey.

The entry reminded me of some stuff we did for Star Trek Magazine editor Paul Simpson last year, for an issue that came out a couple of months ago. Last fall, he came to Kevin and me with an unusual request: retell an episode of the original Star Trek as a series of “tweets,” or the 140-character missives you’ll find on the “microblogging” service Twitter. It sounded like fun, and since Kevin and I have acquired a reputation – earned or not – as being a bit on the irreverent side of things when it comes to writing about Star Trek, we figured this was right in our wheelhouse.

The result? Well, behold “The Trouble With Tribbles,” 140 bytes at a time….

The whole ugly thing behind the cut….