Agents of Influence: We have a cover!

Huzzah!

While I’ve been occupied with other things, Simon & Schuster snuck in the side door and left me a care package in the form of the brand-spankin’ new cover for my forthcoming Star Trek original series novel Agents of Influence. I’m not even going to waste a lot of time with a meandering introduction to get you there. Here. Look:

AgentsOfInfluence-Cover(Click to Biggie Size)

What’s it all about, you ask? Well, BOOM:

Continue reading “Agents of Influence: We have a cover!”

Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na….Bat Book!

A while back, Kevin and I were invited to contribute to a book being put together by author/editor Jim Beard, with whom I’d previously worked and had much fun when he teamed up with author/editor Rich Handley to assemble Planet of the Apes: Tales From the Forbidden Zone. Having been allowed to scratch my Apes fanboy itch with a new short story based on that longtime favorite property, I was jazzed at the chance to dig in and yammer a bit about another fond childhood staple, the 1960s Batman television series.

Batman1966Logo

Instead of writing fiction this time, Kevin and I would be would be providing an essay about a specific episode. Two episodes, really, since most of the Batman stories were two-parters, especially during the show’s first two seasons, with the halves split between Wednesday and Thursday evenings each week. This collection would feature essays about each of the first season’s 17 stories (or 34 episodes).

The result of all that writing and whatnot? ZLONK! ZOK! ZOWIE! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66–Season One.

(Say that three times fast. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here contemplating how sweet it would be to actually write Batman ’66 short fiction.)

Our mission? Attempt to give readers and fans–old and new alike–something new to think about regarding this intentionally campy and oft-dismissed incarnation of the Caped Crusader. Kevin and I join Jim in this endeavor along with these fine folks:

BatBookS1-CoverEd Catto
Joe Crow
Keith R.A. DeCandido
Chuck Dixon
John S. Drew
Pat Evans
Chris Franklin
Bob Greenberger
Dan Greenfield
Rich Handley
Paul Kupperberg
Will Murray
Alan J. Porter
Mark Racop
Peter Sanderson
Steven Thompson

You can read more about this project from this little tease article written by one of the book’s contributors, Dan Greenfield, over at the 13th Dimenion website:

Sneak Peek: Dig the Next Great Batman ’66 Book

This first collection of all-new Batman ’66-inspired essays is coming (I think) this summer, available in trade paperback and eBook formats from the gang over at Crazy 8 Press. More info to share as it becomes available. Stay tuned, citizens!

The way late February writing wrap-up.

You’d think if you get an extra day during a month you could accomplish more.

Turns out? Not so much.

My consulting duties with CBS continue to keep me busy. Lots of review and commenting on various projects in their pipeline, including comics material from IDW Publishing, novels and such from Simon & Schuster, and a few very cool things beyond those platforms lurk on the horizon. There’s a lot of Star Trek storytelling going on (or it wants to be going on) out there. Pretty dang cool, if you ask me. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I still have illusions of being some kind of freelance writer, which means fussing about with this and that throughout the month. Here’s what happened in February:

Continue reading “The way late February writing wrap-up.”

Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual

star-trek-kirk-fu-manual-coverAs captain of the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise, James T. Kirk engaged in his share of fisticuffs, besting opponents with a slick combination of moves and guile that remains unmatched. Is there anyone you’d rather have watching your back as you take on Klingons, alien gladiators, genetically engineered supermen, and even the occasional giant walking reptile?

Kirk Fu is a series of unarmed combat techniques developed by one of Starfleet’s most celebrated starship captains over several years of exploring deep space. A blend of various fighting styles, Kirk Fu incorporates elements of several Earth-based martial arts forms as well as cruder methods employed in bars and back alleys on planets throughout the galaxy. It is as unorthodox in practice as it is unbelievable to behold. Including excerpts from Kirk’s own notes and personal logs, Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual is the perfect training guide for surviving the depths of space. With proper training and practice, every Starfleet cadet can become one with Kirk Fu.

Continue reading “Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual”

Kirk Fu reviews for YOU!

Look,

I think we all can agree creating a book based around the inimitable fighting style of Star Trek‘s very own Captain James T. Kirk is a bit on the silly side. But, here’s the thing: If anybody was going to do such a book, I wanted it to be me.

I mean, come on. You’ve seen me goofing off here and on social media, making or sharing all manner of Star Trek jokes, pics, cartoons, and whatnot. Remember the American Chopper meme? Coming up with Trek-themed April Fool’s gags like fake book projects or breaking up with Kevin? The idea that the voyages of the Starship Enterprise may have been faked?

And of course, there was Spock of Ages.

SpockOfAges-Poster

Such shenanigans are one of the main reasons I even bother with social media at all.

So, yeah. I’m the perfect clown to do something like a book about Kirk Fu. What I didn’t count on was the number of people who actually thought this was a good idea, let alone wanted to see it become a reality.

And yet, here we are.

star-trek-kirk-fu-manual-cover

It’s been a long road – as they say – getting from there to here. “There” being when I first pitched the idea to Chris Prince, my editor at Insight Editions, as I was finishing up work on the Vulcan Travel Guide. His initial enthusiasm for the idea was undeterred by the obstacles presented by a fickle publishing world, and he kept bringing it up at meetings and wherever else it was appropriate to broach such subjects.

By the time I was given a green light to actually write the book, editor Paul Ruditis was overseeing my efforts. Fate and circumstances saw to it Paul had to move on to other projects while I was still finishing up the manuscript, but he made sure I was left in good hands with the very awesome Holly Fisher, with whom I’d previously worked for the first two Star Trek IncrediBuilds projects. Holly was all about Kirk Fu from the jump, and she did an amazing job corralling not just me but also artist Christian Cornia while punching this thing into the end zone.

What I didn’t anticipate was how much attention the book would get.

To but this in perspective, my books don’t typically attract much in the way of mainstream interest. Yes, Star Trek and other genre news sites, fan sites, and reviewers report on them along with everything else going on in the Trek publishing sphere, and of course the hardcore Star Trek readers who follow what we do – day in and day out, month in and month out – are a treasure. But beyond that? It’s pretty rare for my work to be noticed “out there in the real world.”

That changed a bit with the aforementioned Vulcan Travel Guide, which gathered a bit of attention from higher profile outlets like Nerdist.com and even Entertainment Weekly. I don’t mind saying that last one was a pretty big deal for me. That my editors and the marketing group at Insight felt strongly enough to push the book in that direction told me they had real confidence the thing could sell. They keep calling me to write for them, so I guess I’m doing something right.

Which brings us to my latest Insight offering: Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual.

You’ve been reading about this thing for the last couple of years as we slowly – s-l-o-w-l-y – move ever closer toward publication and now that we’re in the home stretch the marketing team has been going all out. In addition to sending review copies to literally hundreds of outlets well over the book’s on-sale date, they’ve even created what I’m told is the first of two different book trailers. Wanna see? BAM:

See? You’re ready to stretch and warm up and get on with fighting aliens Jimmy T style, aren’t you?

Another surprise this time around is that Insight has given the go-ahead to the various outlets to publish their reviews well ahead of the book’s release date. I’ve already done a handful of interviews, the first reviews started popping up weeks ago, and we’re still two weeks away from publication. As with the travel guides, I can only guess this means my publisher is jazzed about this book and is happy to get the word out well ahead of time so folks can pre-order their copies. In an ideal world, everybody will soon be Kirk Fu fighting, with me and Christian as your guides.

Here’s a rundown of some of the reviews I’ve seen, including some by fans that are just really cool:

TrekMovie– January 31st
Captain Foley/Trekyards – January 31st (YouTube video)
Starburst Magazine – February 4th
TrekToday – February 4th
Trek Central – February 5th
Syfy Wire – February 6th
Borg.com – February 6th
Treksphere – February 12th
The Future of the Force – February 14th
Irish Trekkie – February 14th (YouTube video)
Trek on the Tube – February 14th (YouTube video…and beware the Canon Cop!)
Daily Star Trek News – February 17th (podcast)

These are just the ones I know about.

People are picking up what I’m throwing down, and I’m so totally here for it. I mean, it’s been almost a month since the first reviews started popping up, and here we are flying headlong toward Publication Day and I cannot wait to see this thing in stores. With all of that said, I’m still sorta gobsmacked this book has gotten the traction it seems to be enjoying, and to think: this is my first hardcover publication.

My high school English teacher and guidance counselor so owe me monster apologies.

You’ve pre-ordered your copy, right?

KirkFu

Happy Birthday, Stars and Stripes!

One of the cool fringe benefits of volunteering at the National World War I Museum and Memorial here in Kansas City is that as I continue my learning journey about the war itself, I pick up bits of knowledge and trivia about all manner of subjects. Some are directly tied to the conflict, of course, and others have only tenuous connections. Even those serve to increase my understanding not just of the war but also the world and events which spawned it.

Among the little infonuggets I’ve happened across while perusing one of the many artifacts and didactics filling the museum’s galleries is this: Today, February 8th, marks the 102nd anniversary of Stars and Stripes, the first officially sanctioned military newspaper to carry that storied name.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Stars and Stripes!”

January writing wrap-up.

So, January 2020.

That was a hell of a year, wasn’t it?

The new year has started off in the fast lane. Lots of stuff going on at Ward Manor, and as you’ve likely guessed a good bit of that involves Star Trek in some flavor or another. My consulting duties with CBS continue apace, and a good chunk of the month was devoted to reviewing or weighing in on assorted things in various stages of development. This primarily includes material from both Simon & Schuster and IDW Publishing but a couple of other things wormed their way into the mix. Lots of sausage being made, you know.

Meanwhile, on my own writing front, things are in a bit of a “moving things around the board” mode. Here’s what moved around in January:

Continue reading “January writing wrap-up.”

Back cover copy for my upcoming Star Trek novel Agents of Influence!

Those of you who frequent this space have likely read my occasional babbling about Agents of Influence, my upcoming Star Trek original series novel that’ll be out in June.

I’ve been waiting (im)patiently for quite a while to be able to share the book’s back cover description and at long last I have a green light to do just that. Therefore and without further ado, read on:


For years, Starfleet Intelligence agents have carried out undercover assignments deep within the Klingon Empire. Surgically altered and rigorously trained in Klingon culture, they operate in plain sight and without any direct support, while collecting information and infiltrating the highest levels of imperial power. Their actions have given Starfleet valuable insight into the inner workings of Klingon government and its relentless military apparatus.

After three of Starfleet’s longest serving agents fear exposure, they initiate emergency extraction procedures. Their planned rendezvous with the U.S.S. Endeavour goes awry, threatening to reveal their activities and the damaging intelligence they’ve collected during their mission. Tasked by Starfleet to salvage the botched rescue attempt, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must discover the truth behind a secret weapons experiment while avoiding an interstellar incident with the potential to ignite a new war between the Federation and one of its oldest adversaries.


Agents of Influence will be published by Gallery Books on June 9th in trade paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats. Pre-order links appear to be a little jacked up at the moment, but once it’s straightened out I’ll be sure to post those details.

Meanwhile, it’s possible the blurb may prompt some questions. 🙂

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.