Talking Trek with the Worst. Comic. Podcast. EVER!

Hey! I babbled again, and this time I brought my cohort along with me!

Or, maybe he brought me along with him. Hell, I don’t know, anymore.

The important thing to take away from this is Kevin and I ended up doing a joint interview, something that hasn’t happened in a long while. Fate and circumstances see to it I end up doing a lot of these things to promote my solo work, but this time we’re not even pimping anything. Turns out a couple of local friends who happen to have a podcast wanted to talk Star Trek and what do you know? We’re right here in the same time zone. The result? Kevin and I as guests on the latest episode of the….

WORST. COMIC. PODCAST. EVER!

WCPE-Logo

And if that logo maybe stirs up some memories from your childhood, go with that feeling.

Ah, Bailey.….

Oh, right. Podcast.

Guided by our hosts, John Holloway and Jerry McMullen, we discuss a variety of Trek-related topics. We bounce around from our writing to our takes on the recent generation of series (Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard) and various fannish pursuits like conventions and visits to the super awesome Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, New York. But you know it is a podcast focusing on comics, so the conversation does make its way around to the story Kevin and I wrote for the Star Trek: Waypoint comics miniseries back in 2016, and the tons of fun we had working on that.

So, if any of that sounds like an interesting way to wile away an hour or so while you’re sitting in traffic or in line for one of those sweet chicken sandwiches from Popeye’s or whatever, give this a listen:

Worst. Comic. Podcast. Ever! Episode 291:
Talking Trek Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore

Many thanks to John and Jerry for having us on their show. We’ll see these guys again in March at Planet Comicon here in Kansas City, and maybe one of these days we’ll find a decent excuse reason to head back to their den of nerdity for another exciting installment!

WCPE-Approved

More Star Trek IncrediBuilds action. This time: the Klingons!

Regular followers of this space know I’ve been writing various things and bits for Insight Editions for the past few years. It started with the Vulcan and Klingon Travel Guides before I was asked about writing for another of their imprints, IncrediBuilds. My mission: write “guidebooks” to go with special, eco-friendly wood model kits they were creating for the 10+ age bracket. I started with books for the original U.S.S. Enterprise and its counterpart from Star Trek: The Next Generation. These were followed with a deviation to another licensed property, Toy Story, for which I wrote the books to go with models of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Both of these were fun because I got to go for an audience that was slightly younger even than that for which the Star Trek kits were intended.

Oh, and it’s possible you may have heard about my coming Kirk Fu book.

Another project I did for Insight/IncrediBuilds last year and which is getting set for release is a return to the Star Trek realm, and this time we’re doing the Klingon Bird- of-Prey!

IncrediBuilds-BoP(Click to Biggie Size)

As with all IncrediBuilds kits, this little guy is designed to be assembled without the need for glue or tape or anything else holding it together. Even though it’s meant for slightly smaller hands, the model has a few itsty-bitsy parts, and the guidebook also includes tips on painting and customizing the model. Once you put it all together and maybe slap some paint on it? For my money this may be the best of their three Star Trek offerings to date.

KlingonBOP-IncrediBuild Model(Click this pic and you’ll get a nifty pre-order link!)

As for the book I wrote, I cover a general history and lineage of this ship class, notable Klingons who’ve commanded such vessels, and battles and other encounters which have involved Birds-of-Prey. There’s even a section about the “H.M.S. Bounty,” the ship captured by Admiral Kirk and his crew in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and used so extensively in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Finally, I step out of the box a bit for an overview of the ship’s design for the films and how it was used in later movies and TV series episodes, as well as how it inspired designs seen in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery.

As with my previous IncrediBuilds collaborations, I had a lot of fun writing this one, thanks in no small part to my editor at Insight, Holly Fisher, with whom I’ve worked on all of these to date and who’s been awesome from the jump. It’s always fun to delve into a bit of Star Trek lore and present it in a way younger readers might enjoy. There are already plans afoot for more of these book/model kits, and I’m obviusly hoping Insight will see fit to bring me back for more IncrediBuilds action.

In the meantime, the Star Trek: Klingon Bird-Of-Prey IncrediBuilds kit will be released on or about March 23, and you can pre-order your very own copy (or six) by clicking on this little linky-type thing right here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here putting one of these together. For the children, you understand.

It’s coming from the multiplex…in September!

The 1980s is a decade you had to experience in order to fully appreciate.

MaxHeadroomSure, you can listen to the music or watch TV shows or movies of the era and get a sense of what it was like, but unless you lived it — with the crazy fashion (much of which I eschewed) weird generational politics as the Baby Boomers made their mark while we young, developing Gen-Xers tried to figure out how best to sneak our Walkmans into school or infiltrate the theater and the R-rated raunchy comedy flicks after purchasing tickets to Explorers or The Goonies or whatever — you’re simply missing some key context and flavor. Attempts at recreating that aesthetic and vibe are all over the place so far as their levels of success, and I admit I enjoy shows like Stranger Things or comics like Paper Girls as examples of how to it right. I mean, it’s hard to explain to somebody why you thought you wanted to be Don Johnson or Max Headroom when you grew up.

(Okay, Max Headroom may not be the best example. You know what? Screw it. I’m leaving him in there.)

Continue reading “It’s coming from the multiplex…in September!”

Talking all kinds of Trek with Trekpod!

Yep, you got it. I’m babbling again.

This time, I sit down with host Tony Robinson for a chat on Trekpod, a Star Trek-themed podcast which aims to interview writers, artists, and other creative sorts from all corners of the ever-expanding Star Trek universe.

For this installment, Tony and I discuss my “secret origin story” and how I came to be someone who writes Star Trek stories on a weirdly regular basis. We also talk about other writing projects with which I’ve been involved over the years, collaborating with the various writers in the Star Trek writing stable, and working as a consultant for CBS. There’s also some time spent chatting about my early days as a Star Trek fan, my military background and how it informs my writing, and even the time I spend volunteering at the National World War I Museum and Memorial here in Kansas City. The interview runs about 45 minutes, if you feel like sticking it in your ears:

Trekpod Episode 004: Dayton Ward

TrekPod-Dayton
Many thanks to Tony and the crew at Trekpod for having me on the show. I had a nice time chatting and look forward to doing it again sometime.

December writing wrap-up.

And just like that, 2019 is in the books. No more “Year of Blade Runner.” No more “Year of Akira.” We’re on to 2020, fellow cyberpunks!

:: Ahem ::

As with previous months, I’m happy to report that my consulting duties with CBS continue to occupy a sizable chunk of my time. December’s reviews of “things in gestation” included material from both Simon & Schuster and IDW Publishing, as well as a few things outside these realms which are currently being considered by the Star Trek Brand Development arm of CBS Global Franchise Management. Lots of neat stuff in the offing, y’all.

In and around all of that, I still managed to tend to a few writing-related chores. Here’s the December rundown:

Continue reading “December writing wrap-up.”

2019 in review: “My job is weird.”

Dayton-BeatYep. I think the headline says it all.

2019 was definitely a year of new and exciting things, on several fronts. There was much change here at Ward Manor, but in reality the more things changed the more they stayed the same. This is a good thing.

First, I’m happy to report that Clan Ward is doing well. Our daughters, now in 7th and 6th grades, continue to amaze me. They’re both excellent students, involved in extracurricular activities in and outside of school, and generally just awesome kids in every way worth measuring. I’d like to think my wife and I had something to do with that, but one can’t discount the value of the teachers from whom they’ve learned as well as the friends they’ve made along the way. We’re fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is rather close knit in many respects, and the friends we’ve made since moving here have been amazing. I don’t make new friends all that easily and for far too long I was pretty okay with that, so there are times when I’ve had to take a pause and reflect on just how big my social circle has grown in the past few years. That’s thanks in large part to meeting and hanging out with the parents of the kids our daughters call friends. Now we’re to a point where our family vacations with a few of these other families. If you’d told me even five years ago that would be a thing, I’d have given you severe side-eye.

Yet here we are, and I’m pretty damned cool with that.

Continue reading “2019 in review: “My job is weird.””

Star Trek: Inflexions trading card set from Rittenhouse, with words by me!

When I decided I wanted to have a go as a full-time freelance writer, I adopted an unofficial motto: “Have Words, Will Write.”

What does that mean? Basically, when it came to writing I was up for pretty much anything, even (and especially) if it meant wading into areas of writing beyond novels, short stories, magazine pieces, and web content. I wanted to try new things, and hopefully expand my skill set. That first year when I went full-time freelance saw me take on new clients who employed me for a variety of projects from the Vulcan travel guide to branded Twitter content. These led to things like the IncrediBuilds kits and other cool little projects. My goal is to be the kind of writer an editor could call on no matter what they wanted me to do because they’d know when they heard my name, “Yeah, that dude can get shit done.”

Which is (I hope) why I was recommended to the good folks at Rittenhouse Archives to write the copy for their newest set of Star Trek trading cards, Star Trek: Inflexions.

StarTrekInflexions

Rittenhouse has been in the Star Trek card game for a lot of years, now. I don’t collect cards like I did when I was a kid or even as I did into my 20s and 30s, but I do have a couple of their sets. For example, I was (and remain) particularly taken with the set they did for the animated Star Trek series. So, when Rittenhouse head honcho Steve Charendoff came calling and described what he had in mind, I knew this was something I had to try.

I have no shame admitting there was a bit of a learning curve. Writing good copy for a space as confined as the back of a trading card is a definite skill, and I dare say there’s also more than a bit of art to it. However, my experience writing the aforementioned branded Twitter messaging actually helped in this regard. I ended up writing copy for the 100 cards that form the Star Trek: Inflexions base set, with factoids and infonuggets about all of the main cast members from each of the first five live-action Star Trek series (original series through Star Trek: Enterprise). Along the way, Steve and I had discussions about what topics we should cover and how best to present them. While I didn’t pick the images used on the front of the cards, I did suggest a few based on some of the bits I was writing. Steve was very patient with my questions and I enjoyed the collaboration, making this a fun experience for my first time out.

StarTrekInflexions-Autos

In addition to those cards, Rittenhouse also piles on a number of extras and bonuses such as autographs (including some rarities from their “vault”…see below), sketch cards, “painted portrait” cards, and all sorts of other Trek goodness. I think there may be twice as many extras/bonuses as there are base cards! To get an idea of what I mean, check out the set’s complete checklist.

StarTrekInflexions-Autos2

Star Trek: Inflexions was released earlier this week, and should now be available at or through your local hobby shop and other venues who sell these sorts of cards.

Many thanks to Steve and the rest of the crew at Rittenhouse Archives for inviting me to play in their sandbox for a bit, and to friends Paula Block and Terry Erdmann for recommending me in the first place!

StarTrek.com: 40 years of Star Trek publishing at Simon & Schuster!

PocketBooks-TMP-StoreDisplay.JPG1979: The human adventure – on the screen and on the page – really was just beginning.

For those of you new to this neck of the woods, you may or may not know I write – among other things – Star Trek novels. A bunch of ’em, in fact. Been doing it for a long time…long enough I’m beginning to feel a little self-conscious about how many years we’re talking.

(Narrator: “It’s something like 20. Damn. This dude is old.”)

Shut up, narrator.

Anyway, yes. I’ve been writing Star Trek novels for a long time but it’s compared to how long Star Trek novels have been getting published, I’m just getting warmed up. Indeed, Star Trek publishing has been active in one form or another since the days of the original series being in active production in the 1960s. Several publishing houses have added various tomes to the Final Frontier’s ever-expanding library, but one publisher in particular stands apart from the rest, as much for the longevity of their relationship with Star Trek as the width and breadth of the titles they’ve offered: Simon & Schuster.

snw-coverNow, sure, I’m here to be a bit of a cheerleader for S&S, because after all I’ve had a lengthy and prosperous relationship with these folks. The house’s Pocket Books imprint, which for decades oversaw the publication of hundreds of Star Trek novels and other books, gave me my start. The Strange New Worlds writing contests were responsible for my first paid professional stories. The first novel I wrote for publication was a Star Trek novel, and Pocket was also the publisher of my first original science fiction novel, The Last World War. Those initial successes paved the way for numerous other opportunities, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to ride that wave ever since.

And all of it thanks to Simon & Schuster and a publishing program which began forty years ago.

Trek-TMP-NovelizationOkay, so it began more than forty years ago…these things take time to get up and running, you know. However, the fruits of that labor started showing up in stores in the fall of 1979 as part of the leadup to the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. S&S had acquired a publishing license which would take over from rival Bantam Books, who to that point had been publishing their own Star Trek novels as well as adaptations of original series episodes. Though new original novels would not begin hitting shelves until 1981, owing to the remaining time on Bantam’s existing agreement, S&S was still able to kick things into gear by rolling out an ambitious publishing effort designed to capitalize on the new, big-budget Star Trek movie. While Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of the film’s script was arguably the highest-profile item on a slate featuring fifteen titles, there were quite a few really coooooool books released as part of this package.

Looking at you, Spaceflight Chronology.

So, as fans celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture this month, I thought it would be appropriate to also take a look at the beginnings of Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek publishing program. The results of my latest stroll down Memory Lane can be found in this new piece just published over at the official Star Trek website:

StarTrek.com: Simon & Schuster and 40 Years of Star Trek Publishing

SimonSchuster-TMPcollage

Launching as a tie-in to the film, S&S’s Star Trek publishing efforts continue to this day. Indeed, Dead Endless, the latest Star Trek: Discovery novel and written by Dave Galanter, will be published by S&S’s Gallery Books imprint on December 17th.

Shameless aside on our way out: Star Trek books make great gifts for that Trekkie on your holiday shopping list. Just sayin’.

November writing wrap-up.

Anybody seen November? I could’ve sworn it was here a minute ago.

So, what’s been going on? As has been the case these past several months, a good portion of my time continues to be devoted to my various consulting duties with CBS. November included reviewing and weighing in on projects in various stages of gestation at Simon & Schuster and IDW Publishing, as well as helping with a few things currently underway at CBS Global Franchise Management. I even managed to write another couple of articles for StarTrek.com which will be posted in the coming weeks (see below).

And of course there are always a few other balls in the air. You know…the usual sorts of chaos.

So, here’s what was what during November:

Continue reading “November writing wrap-up.”

October writing wrap-up.

Holy crap, 2019 is a blur.

A good portion of my month was devoted to various aspects of my consulting duties with CBS, which continues to be a source of much fun. A lot of reading, reviewing, commenting, and such is the usual order of things, but then every so often I get asked to actually write something from scratch or contribute to something already in motion. Such was the case during the latter half of the month. One of those you’ll read about below, whereas other things you’ll never even know I was there. 🙂

With all that said, here’s the October rundown:

Continue reading “October writing wrap-up.”