April writing wrap-up.

How is it MAY already? How are we a quarter of the way through 2021 already? How did that happen? SOMEONE MAKE IT MAKE SENSE.

:: ahem ::

So, yeah. April. That went fast, didn’t it? I spent a good bit of the month immersed in revisions to my current novel in progress (see below) along with a couple of other items on my writing agenda. Some things are in play as my plans for later this spring and into the summer began shifting as far as what I thought I might be working on. That’s not a bad thing at all, mind you; just an unexpected yet welcome turn of events apparently will see to it I’ll be busier than anticipated on the writing front. More on this as the situation develops.

But before I get steppin’ goward that future, I’ll take one last look at what went down last month:

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I went and Trekked myself YET AGAIN.

Because it’s been a minute since the last time I babbled incoherently into a microphone and someone recorded it, I sat down a couple of weeks ago with Darrell Taylor and J.K. Woodward, hosts of the Go Trek Yourself podcast. I’ve been a guest on their show a couple of times already, and it’s always fun to catch up with Darrell and J.K. as our conversations bounce from topic to topic.

Such was this case this time. Things started off well enough, with the guys asking me about my “secret origin story” and how being a childhood Star Trek fan eventually put me on the path to being someone who gets to write Star Trek novels and other fun stuff for something resembling a living. We also spent some time talking about my most recent Star Trek novel, Agents of Influence (available at fine brick-n-mortar and online booksellers everywhere, you know), as well as a little bit of teasing about Star Trek: Coda, the trilogy on which I’m working with friends and fellow word pushers James Swallow and David Mack. Our discussion focused on how the project came about as an outgrowth of the “Star Trek novel continuity” that’s been a real thing for the last 15-20 years. Don’t worry, though! No spoilers lay within. Additionally, I’m a big fan of J.K.’s comic work including his numerous contributions to Star Trek via IDW Publishing, so of course we have to chat a little about that. It’s easy to get lost in these sorts of discussions when there’s a great shared affection for this thing from which we’ve derived such immense enjoyment and which has been responsible for so much of our individual successes.

And if that’s not enough? We even manage to talk about sports a little. Because of course we did.

So, if that sounds like something you’d want to stick in your ears for an hour or so, just go right ahead and click on the handy link I’ve provided:

Go Trek Yourself Episode 91: Dayton Ward and the Agents of Influence

Many thanks to Darrell and J.K. for having me on yet again to shoot the breeze and have some fun talking about our shared nerd love. I’m sure we’ll find a reason (excuse?) to do it again sometime down the road!

Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021: Now available in hardcover and trade paperback!

So, it’s like this: Back on March 16th, Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 was released by Crazy 8 Press in eBook format. As editor Bob Greenberger explained at the time, the eBook was obviously easier to format and make available as a download, helping him to start sending digital perks to those folks who supported the Kickstarter campaign to secure the funds required to publish the book. At the same time, preparations were being finalized to have the book made ready to offer in hardcover and trade paperback formats.

Well, they’re now available!

Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 is yet another celebration of those exciting pulp fiction stories of yesteryear, but with something of a modern twist. The book is jammed to overflowing with 27 stories told in classic pulp style, each one filled to overflowing to action, adventure, excitement, thrills, chills, mystery, romance, humor, and all sorts of juicy pulpy stuff.

Several of the writers from the original Thrilling Adventure Yarns return for the new volume, spinnning all-new tales with characters created for the first go-around. Others take on popular characters who now lurk and quest in the public domain, such as Sherlock Holmes himself! There are also new additions to roster, which explains Kevin Dilmore and myself teaming up for a new story, “Protocol 23,” which might very well be the first such yarn featuring characters we created. Plus, the cherry on top has to be a never-before-seen story by legendary pulp writer Lester Dent, the creator of Doc Savage. That alone has to be worth the price of admission, but buy your ticket and you still get 26 more stories as a bonus, amirite?

The roster for Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 includes: Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Paige Daniels, Lester Dent, Mary Fan, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E. Hutsell, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, William Leisner, Jonathan Maberry, David Mack, Ron Marz, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Stuart Moore, Will Murray, Jody Lynn Nye, Scott Pearson, Aaron Rosenberg, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Richard C. White, and Sherri Cook Woosley.

The book also contains all-new art to go with each story, so readers be treated to the artistic stylings of June Brigman, Kerry Callen, Gary Carbon, Mike Collins, Daerick Gross, Matt Haley, Karl Kesel, Peter Krause, Luke McDonell, Ron Randall, Dan Schkade, Bart Sears, Daniele Sera, Jeff Weigel, and Mark Wheatley.

The book’s page at Amazon.com has been updated to reflect the availability of the hardcover and trade paperback editions along with the eBook version, so go and get your pulp on, whydontcha?

March writing wrap-up.

All right, March. You were at least a little better behaved than you were last year.

Compared to February, March was a cake walk. I spent a bit of time decompressing after delivering the manuscript for the new novel. A few other housekeeping items also needed some love and attention, and now I’m starting to get the itch to work on the next thing. What will that be? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading, I suppose.

So, what was up, writing-wise, during March? Let’s have a look….

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Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 is NOW LIVE!

That’s right, I said it.

Following up on 2019’s original Thrilling Adventure Yarns, editor Bob Greenberger and Crazy 8 Press are bringing forth yet another celebration of those exciting pulp fiction stories of yesteryear, but with something of a modern twist.

Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 comes at ya with 27 — count ’em: 27 — stories told in the classic pulp style, each one filled to overflowing to action, adventure, excitement, thrills, chills, mystery, romance, humor, and all sorts of juicy pulpy stuff.

Several of the writers from the original volume have returned, spinnning all-new tales with characters created for the first go-around. Others take on popular characters who now lurk and quest in the public domain, such as Sherlock Holmes himself! There are also new additions to roster, which explains Kevin Dilmore and myself teaming up for a new story which might very well be the first such yarn featuring characters we created. Plus, the cherry on top has to be a never-before-seen story by legendary pulp writer Lester Dent, the creator of Doc Savage. That alone has to be worth the price of admission, but buy your ticket and you still get 26 more stories as a bonus, amirite?

The roster for Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 includes: Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Paige Daniels, Lester Dent, Mary Fan, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E. Hutsell, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, William Leisner, Jonathan Maberry, David Mack, Ron Marz, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Stuart Moore, Will Murray, Jody Lynn Nye, Scott Pearson, Aaron Rosenberg, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Richard C. White, and Sherri Cook Woosley.

Thanks to a wonderfully supported Kickstarter campaign, Editor Bob also was to commission all-new art to go with each story, so readers be treated to the artistic stylings of June Brigman, Kerry Callen, Gary Carbon, Mike Collins, Daerick Gross, Matt Haley, Karl Kesel, Peter Krause, Luke McDonell, Ron Randall, Dan Schkade, Bart Sears, Daniele Sera, Jeff Weigel, and Mark Wheatley.

A trade paperback edition as well as a fancy schmancy hardcover are in the works and should be available soon, but for now? Get your pulp on over at Amazon.com as the book is NOW AVAILABLE as digital format as an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing exclusive! That’s right! Yesteryear is here as a cascade of free-flowing electrons right to your device du jour. Go check it out!

The way late February writing wrap-up.

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:

Yep. The past few weeks were a whirlwind of sorts, with me racing to finish up my manuscript for the latest novel project (more on that below). As a consequence, I had to let things like this blog and other frivolous pursuits fall by the wayside if I was to have any hope of completing that thing. The good news is I survived that and after a short recess (aka, “coma”) in which I allowed myself to decompress a bit, I’m back to work on various things. There’s writing to be done today, for example, mostly in my CBS consulting capacity, but I’m also starting to guide a few brain cells toward what I hope will be by next freelance writing project.

But first, a pause as we take a look at the month that was February 2021 and the writing stuff I managed to accomplish….

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Engineers, Tholians, and the genesis of a Star Trek writer bromance.

I’m gonna need a minute to ponder the significance of the moment.

Not so much the moment itself, you understand. I mean, sure. It’s pretty impressive at least so far as it matters to the people who care about such things. For me, it’s not so much that it’s a moment unto itself. Instead, I prefer to ponder that it was the first of many such moments.

February 28th, 2001: Twenty years ago today, Interphase, Part One, the fourth installment of the still minty-fresh Star Trek: S.C.E. novella series, was published in what we now call “digital first format.’ Back then, we were just calling plain and simple “eBooks.” Call it what you want, but what’s really important to me is that this story marked the first professional fiction collaboration between and me and the dude who’s become my best friend in addition to my frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore.

How’d it happen? For that we have to set the Wayback Machine to just a bit farther into the past: late summer 2000. Back then, Microsoft was developing their version of an eBook reader, and they approached various publishers about providing exclusive content for this new platform. This included Pocket Books and John Ordover, who was one of the in-house editors overseeing Star Trek fiction. John and author/editor Keith R.A. DeCandido developed Star Trek: S.C.E. (“Starfleet Corps of Engineers”).

Taking place around the same time as the 24th century Star Trek TV series and associated novel lines from Pocket, S.C.E. features a team of specialists who get sent to deal with all sorts of odd tasks. Recover and study alien technology? Yep. Assist with any number of construction or repair projects wherever there’s a need for such hardcore engineer voodoo? Of course. Clean up the sorts of messes which might come when starship captains turn off world-running supercomputers and plunge an entire civilization into chaos before zooming off to their next mission? You know it.

(Just like you know who I’m talking about.)

While still working as a freelance writer for the Star Trek Communicator magazine, my bud Kevin interviewed John about various Star Trek fiction topics including S.C.E., which was set to be officially announced via the magazine. As they talked about the types of stories this new series might have, Kevin pitched an off-the-cuff idea that John liked. At that time, I was in the midst of finalizing In the Name of Honor, my first Star Trek novel for Pocket, but Kevin asked me to help him flesh out his original idea, and that became Interphase, a two-part entry for the S.C.E. series and our first fiction collaboration.

In Pocket launched S.C.E. in October of 2000 with the series’ first installment, Dean Wesley Smith’s The Belly of the Beast. Once things got up to speed, it published a new novella every month until November 2007. Over the course of the series, Kevin and I contributed ten of what ultimately became 74 stories. It was a fun project, owing in very large part to Keith’s editorial machinations but also the overall spirit of collaboration which was one of the series’ hallmarks. We all contributed a variety of bits and pieces to the series as we wrote our respective stories, and other writers would take those nuggets and run off in different directions.

One of the very odd quirks we learned about later was when the PalmPilot came along: there was a version one could buy in stores that featured four or five eBooks as added content, provided free with a purchase of the device. One of the offered titles was — yep — Interphase, Part One. As a consequence, Part Two was a “best seller” on the PalmPilot site for something like two years.

Go figure.

The series also proved to be something of a testbed for “auditioning” new writers without the pressure of an entire novel, and several of the writers who got their start with Star Trek fiction on S.C.E. later wrote full-length novels for the various series. Indeed, though I had written In the Name of Honor and it was published to mostly favorable reviews, I think it was our contributions to S.C.E. that played a much larger part in Kevin and I eventually being “called up” to the starting lineup for the novels.

While my first collaboration with Kevin was actually an article for the aforementioned Star Trek Communicator, it was this project that really got us going. In addition to the ten S.C.E. stories we wrote together, we also contributed two other novellas, eight novels, and a handful of short stories for the various Star Trek lines, along with a Star Trek comic story and a few dozen Trek-themed magazine articles. And of course we’ve done quite a bit of non-Star Trek stuff, as well.

Now, about that “bromance” thing.

“Chemistry is that one intangible that either exists in a situation or doesn’t, and has contributed to form some of the greatest partnerships of all-time, including Lennon/McCartney, Kirk/Spock, and Star Trek writing partners Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward. In fact, the duo is perhaps the greatest off-screen bromance seen in the franchise’s history.”

Rich Schepis, TrekMovie.com – December 2016

Well, there you go. Sounds pretty official and legit to me, amirite?

Obviously we’re still going strong. I mean, sure…there was that whole business where we broke up and then we got back together again, but these things happen. Though we’re not writing Star Trek together with the same frequency we did in years past, Kevin and I are still collaborating. We’re set to write a short story for an upcoming anthology project which hasn’t yet been announced, and we have a couple of ideas we threw around just yesterday that we’re both excited about. Stay tuned to see what happens.

Meanwhile…holy crap. Twenty years since Interphase? I’m going to go lie down, now.

Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021: Now available for pre-order!

If you’ve been reading my monthly writing updates, you know that my frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, and I got back into our collaborator groove a bit last year, with short stories appearing in not one but two anthologies along with an essay in collection dedicated to the 1960s Batman TV series’ first season. One other thing we worked on is now on final approach to publication, that being a story for the upcoming Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021!

Like its predecessor from 2019, this latest collection of short stories draws inspiration from the tales that once filled pulp magazines from the 1930s to well into the 1960s. Stories of this sort run the gamut from Western to detective/noir to military, science fiction and everything in between. As with the first installment, this second anthology is coming at us via Crazy 8 Press and edited by our good friend, Bob Greenberger, who’s assembled a formidable roster of writers to give you a heapin’ helpin’ of pulpy writing goodness drawn (mostly) from those thrilling days of yesteryear:

Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Greg Cox, Paige Daniels, Lester Dent, Mary Fan, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Heather E. Hutsell, Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, William Leisner, Jonathan Maberry, David Mack, Ron Marz, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Stuart Moore, Will Murray, Jody Lynn Nye, Scott Pearson, Aaron Rosenberg, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Richard C. White, and Sheri Cook Woosley!

(Psst: You see “Lester Dent” in the line-up, right? As in “the guy who created Doc Savage?” Yeah. That Lester Dent. There’s a never-before-seen story by him right here in this book, yo.)

Have a look at the cover, whydontcha?

Click to Biggie Size.

Oh, and did I mention each story has its own swank illustration? Bob covered those bases, too, with the artistic stylings of June Brigman, Kerry Callen, Gary Carbon, Mike Collins, Daerick Gross, Matt Haley, Karl Kesel, Peter Krause, Luke McDonell, Ron Randall, Dan Schkade, Bart Sears, Daniele Sera, Jeff Weigel, and Mark Wheatley. Because you can’t have a pulp adventure anthology without some tasty pulp adventure art.

As I write this, a Kindle eBook edition is available for pre-order just by clicking on this bit of highlighted text right here. This edition is set to go live on March 16th, and a trade paperback as well as a hardcover edition is also coming. More info on that as it becomes available. Stay tuned!

It’s gonna get all kinds of pulpy up in here, people.

Gone writin’.

Rather than just do my usual thing in which nothing appears in this space for days on end with no explanation, I figure I’ll post this bit of advisory info.

I’m racing toward the finish line on the current novel-in-progress, and I don’t know that I’ll have time to ponder anything new – let alone interesting* – to put here during that time. It’d likely serve only to distract me from my primary mission, anyway, and that probably won’t endear me to my editor. So, I’m taking preemptive action. Unless a cool announcement or other bit of “Breaking News” happens, it’ll likely be very quiet here the next couple of weeks.

Barring any of that? See you on the other side. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves while I’m gone.

*= Make whatever joke you feel is appropriate. I left it wide open for you. Knock yourself out.

January writing wrap-up.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand BOOM. Just like that, 1/12th of 2021 is in the rearview mirror.

Unlike the century that was 2020, the first month of the new year screamed by so fast I’m sure I saw light bending. As one might reasonably expect, I found myself spending less time “doomscrolling” through social media. There remain a number of challenges to face, the ongoing COVID-19 situation chief among them, but I feel a bit better about how such problems might be tackled than I did – for example – six months ago. I guess we’ll see.

Those of you who know my backstory may be thinking my sports worlds are colliding, with the Kansas City Chiefs set to defend their Super Bowl title from last season against my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite living in the KC area for close to 30 years, I remain a Bucs fan as I have since the day the NFL announced the league was expanding and Tampa was getting a team. I always root for the Chiefs…unless they’re playing the Bucs. I’ve been with them from the very inauspicious beginning and ridden the waves through the highs and lows over the course of the past 45 years. You can be sure I’ll be cheering them on this Sunday. That said, should the Bucs fall to the Chiefs, I can’t honestly say I’ll be that upset.

Meanwhile, there’s that whole work and writing thing I supposedly have going on.

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