Talking Klingons and travel guides with Literary Treks!

It’s been almost five years since launched their Literary Treks podcast. I know, because I was there, invited by then hosts Christopher Jones and Matthew Rushing to sit in as the show’s very first guest.

Since then, and even through a couple of changes in hosting duties, Literary Treks has continued to shine a spotlight on the world of Star Trek fiction in prose and comics form. Nearly every episode has featured an interview with an author, editor, artist, or other creative contributor. I did a quick count, and it turns out I’ve been on the show ten times since being Guest #1.

Wait! Correction: eleven times.

It turns out that the 200th episode of Literary Treks was also an opportunity for me to sit with current hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson and talk at length about my recently released tome, Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire.

HUTG Klingon Lifestyle (Twitter)

In addition to discussing how the book came together, we also talked about all the crazy places from which I drew ideas and inspiration, all of that gorgeous art littering the pages, and so on. It’s a rollicking hour or so, during which we also discuss – briefly and in the vaguest possible terms – my upcoming Star Trek: Discovery novel and some other stuff I’m working on.

Go on, have a listen:

Literary Treks #200: Klingon-It Up A Little Bit

Many thanks to Dan and Bruce for having me on yet again to talk Trek. As always, I enjoy these interviews and how you always keep me and my fellow scribes on our toes.


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Happy Birthday, Gene.

Today marks what would have been the 96th birthday of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.


“I would hope there are bright young people, growing up all the time, who will bring to [Star Trek] levels and areas that were beyond me, and I don’t feel jealous about that at all.”

– Gene Roddenberry, 1988

Thank you for giving us such a wondrous sandbox in which to play and dream.


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ReWard: Writing for “Exposure?” We’re Still On That?

While culling through this morning’s batch of e-Mail, I came across not one but two — count ’em, TWO — “invitations” to write for someone or something. No payment was offered, of course, and the language of the e-Mails themselves suggested that none would be forthcoming. Indeed, perhaps that my even wondering about such things might be viewed as a crime against the purity of the written word, blah blah blah.

Yep, you guessed it: I’d been offered the chance to write “for the exposure.”

Setting aside my initial thought that I’d never heard of a) the people sending the e-Mail or b) the publishing endeavor they claimed to represent, I next reaction was, “Are you fucking kidding me? We’re still doing that?”

Of course we are.

A couple of years ago during my stint writing for the Novel Spaces blog, I wrote about the long debated “writing for exposure” chestnut. Rather than regurgitate the gist of that earlier column, I figured I’d just make a few updates and tweaks before regurgitating it in full right here! Read on:

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Your Moment of TrekZen*.

Somewhere, in an alternate timeline, these books exist, and they are glorious.


This little slice of awesome was created by an artist who goes by the handle of “Johnny Radar.” Over on his DeviantArt page, this is just one of several such mock book covers he’s rendered which re-imagine various Star Trek episodes, characters, etc. as old-school pulpy SF covers from the days of yesteryear. As a collector of such tomes, this sort of thing just tickles my funny bone. There are a few I’d love to have as prints, because they’re Just. That. Cool.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek and/or classic SF cover art, then be sure to wander over and check out Johnny Radar’s work.

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

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Vegas, baby! Post-#STLV17 catching up.

disco-con-embemSo, that big honkin’ ginormous convention in Las Vegas last week sure was something.

Five full days of high-intensity, full frontal Trekkery jiggling itself right in front of your face. You’re welcome for that visual, by the way.

And that was just what *I* endured. Some folks were there longer, as if that’s even possible. My hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore flew out on Monday, July 31st, with members of his team from Hallmark so they could spend Tuesday setting up their booth space in the con’s exhibitor hall. Other people performing similar duties arrived on scene for their own setup. The good peeps from CBS Licensing had their hands full, constructing not one but two galleries containing props, pics, and other goodies to celebrate Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s pending 30th anniversary as well as the up and coming Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres on September 24th.

Me? I pretty much screwed around the whole time.

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First Blood at 45.

While the film First Blood, Sylvester Stallone’s initial cinematic turn as troubled Vietnam vet John Rambo, celebrates its 35th birthday later this year, the book on which the flick is based and the debut novel by noted author David Morrell is celebrating its own milestone 45th birthday.

45? Years? Holy crap.

For those who’ve never read the novel, it does follow most of the same beats as its subsequent screen adaptation, but it’s also much darker and violent. Whereas the movie is set in the Pacific Northwest, the novel unfolds in rural Kentucky. The battle between Rambo (no first name given in the book) and Sheriff Teasle is much more personal, and the ending is, well….way different than what folks remember from the film.

For a first novel, Morrell smacked the proverbial ball out of the figurative park, and when the ball landed it was smokin’. Like most people my age who’ve read the book, I did so after seeing the film (and its sequel, come to think of it). It was my introduction to David Morrell, and in the years since I’ve read pretty much every frappin’ word of fiction that man has written. The Brotherhood of the Rose, Blood Oath and The Fifth Profession are particular favorites. He also wrote the script for a Captain America comics mini-series, The Chosen, which has become one of my very favorite Cap stories.

The story of First Blood‘s journey from novel to film is a long, winding one, taking nearly a decade. According to the book’s Wikipedia entry, the film rights transferred between three different companies, and there were eighteen versions of the script. Among the many notable differences (including that ending!) is the character of Colonel Trautman, who’s almost recognizable between the book and the movie.

Okay, spoilers (highlight to see): Rambo mortally wounds Teasle, who also wounds Rambo. Trautman kills Rambo, then stands by Teasle as he dies. Fade out.

Fun for everybody, right?

When it became apparent that movie Rambo would survive his version of the events, and a sequel soon would come to pass, Mr. Morrell would end up writing the novelization for that film. In his own words from the “Rambo and Me” forward included in my paperback edition of First Blood, he took on the task of novelizing the Rambo: First Blood Part II screenplay “in an effort to supply the characterization they omitted.” He would do so again with the 1988’s Rambo III. There was no novelization of 2008’s Rambo, which is a damned shame. According to comments from Morrell in interviews around the time of the fourth film’s release, John Rambo as portrayed in this movie was closest to what he originally had envisioned for the character, rather than the near-caricature into which he’d morphed for the second and third movies. I’ve wondered more than once what a Morrell-penned adaptation of that fourth film might be like.

Ah, well.

So, Happy 45th Birthday, First Blood the novel. I may have to read you yet again between now and the film’s 35th.

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Put away your breakables, Las Vegas. #STLV17

I’m coming for you, Sin City.


That’s right, kids! Thanks to the miracle of advance scheduling, by the time you read this I’ll be soaring west in a pressurized metal tube filled to overflowing with germs, desperate hopes, and cash which may or may not be disposable as I head for the gloriously dry heat of the Nevada desert and the unending sea of neon and broken dreams that is Las Vegas.

It was just a year or so ago that Kevin and I traveled to Vegas to celebrate Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary. Five full days of fun and friends, it was one for the books. Now here we are, one circumnavigation of the sun later, and it’s time to do it all over again.

For 2017, there’s a lot to be jazzed about so far as Trek goes. First, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s premiere on television. Yeah, read that last part back again. Thirty frikkin’ years? It seems like only yesterday that I sat with some of my friends in a barracks rec room at Camp Pendleton, watching this new show with its new captain, that weird robot, and some kid they eventually let drive the ship. I mean…the hell’s that about? To help commemorate three decades of making it so, the entire ST:TNG cast will be on hand for all sorts of reminiscing and whatnot. Be sure to book your photo ops early!

Meanwhile, the other “Big News” is that we’re inching ever closer to the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, which will air on September 24th. Rumors and gossip are running rampant, but you can be sure some juicy tidbits will drop at various point during the con.

And when you get tired of all that? You can come looking for me and my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, along with fellow Trek word pushers David Mack, Robb Pearlman, Mike Johnson, Ethan Siegel, Larry Nemecek, and…of course…my sister from another mister, Kirsten Beyer. At least two editors I know of, Ed Schlesinger from Pocket Books and Sarah Gaydos from IDW Publishing, will also be on hand in the hopes of adding an air of maturity and calm to the proceedings.

Good luck, you two.

So, for those of you heading to the con, here’s hoping our paths will cross somewhere in the midst of all that insanity. Gonna be fun, right?


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July writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsDear 2017: Slow the hell down. Seriously.

I mean, the hell? Where has this year gone? I’m cruising along, enjoying a mild spring, and then BOOM! School’s out, kids are home, kids are wanting to do stuff all the time, there’s swim team stuff and holiday get-togethers and all that jazz, and somewhere in and around all of that, I’m trying to get some damned work done.

As I write this, the kids have two weeks before they return to school. Two. Weeks.

I can hold out that long. I think.

Anyway, what was July all about, on the writing front? A little of this, a little of that, and so on and so forth. Let’s have a look at the monthly rundown, shall we?

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Maximum Velocity

maximum-velocity-front-coverThe Best of Full-Throttle Space Tales

The Full-Throttle Space Tales series collected action-packed, high octane science fiction stories across the full potential of the genre. Here, the original editors have teamed up to pick the very best of Full-Throttle Space Tales, eighteen stories collected here for the first time.

Stories by David Boop, C.J. Henderson, W.A. Hoffman, Julia Phillips, David Lee Summers, Carol Hightshoe, Irene Radford, Bob Brown, Scott Pearson, Alan L. Lickiss, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Dayton Ward, Anna Paradox, Ivan Ewert, Erik Scott de Bie, Shannon Page, Mark Ferrari, Gene Mederos, Jean Johnson, Mike Resnick, and Brad R. Torgersen

Buckle up, because we’re accelerating to Maximum Velocity!

Trade Paperback from
Kindle e-Book from
Nook e-Book from Barnes & Noble
Multiple e-Book formats from Smashwords
Kobo e-Book


Back in 2009, I edited an anthology of military science fiction stories, Space Grunts, the third installment of Full-Throttle Space Tales, a series of pulpy SF short fiction with each volume centering around a particular theme. There ultimately were six collections, all published by David Rozansky and Flying Pen Press:

spacegrunts-coverSpace Pirates – edited by David Lee Summers
Space Sirens – edited by Carol Hightshoe
Space Grunts – edited by moi
Space Horrors – edited by David Lee Summers
Space Tramps – edited by Jennifer Brozek
Space Battles – edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

A few years ago, Flying Pen got away from publishing fiction, and all of the original anthologies are out of print. The rights to the individual stories have reverted back to their original authors, and few have even republished their tales in other anthologies or markets.

Then, in early 2014, David Lee Summers broached the idea of finding a way to reprint the original FTST anthologies, perhaps with an eye toward one day reviving the series. After the idea lay dormant for a bit, until the summer of 2015 when fate so fit to bring me to a convention with David and Jennifer Brozek. We revisited the notion and decided it still had merit, but finding a home for six collections of short stories felt to us like a daunting if not impossible task. So, the idea of creating a “Best of” anthology was hatched, while retaining the hope of this perhaps kick-starting a FTST revival.

David, with the help of original FTST contributor David Boop, took our idea to best-selling and award-winning author/editor Kevin J. Anderson, who happens to have his own independent publishing company, WordFire Press. Kevin was enthusiastic about hosting our little anthology, so with that in our pocket, we five editors got to work figuring out what would go in it.

The idea was simple: Each editor selected three to five stories from one of the anthologies for consideration by the other editors. To keep things as impartial as possible, we decided to reread the anthology that came before ours in the sequence (with David pulling double duty since he’d edited two). For example, I went through the stories collected in the second anthology, Space Sirens, and made my recommendations. At long last, the result of all our deliberations is this shiny new tome, Maximum Velocity.

Many thanks to Kevin J. Anderson and the team at WordFire Press for giving us our new home. Thanks also to the other editors and most especially to the other authors, without whom this entire endeavor wouldn’t even have been possible.

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Talking with TrekCore about the Klingon Travel Guide!

What happens when you spend 20-30 minutes spewing stream-of-consciousness blathering into a phone, pausing for the occasional breath while the person on the other end recovers from that maelstrom and attempts to ask another question?

Sometimes, it ends up printed as an interview somewhere.

That was the case last week when I spoke to Rich Schepis, who walked into the fire burning hot inside the lion’s mouth long enough to talk to me for about my recently released tome, Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire.

HUTG Klingon Lifestyle (Twitter)

Rich is a patient, understanding sort, and he was able to pull apart the verbal hairball I hacked his way, and turn my yammering into something intelligible. I hope they pay him pretty well, over there.

Have a read, if you’re so inclined: – INTERVIEW: Dayton Ward’s Guide to the KLINGON EMPIRE

Many thanks to Rich and the gang at TrekCore for putting up with my shenanigans.

In related news, I found out this morning that the Vulcan Travel Guide is included as one of the juicy items in the second edition of the “ThinkGeek Capsule,” which is ThinkGeek’s super cool version of a LootCrate subscription box. So, if you were looking for a reason to pick up that book AND something snazzy to subscribe to on a regular basis, well then BOOM! Two birds with one stone, and all that. – Let’s Look Inside ThinkGeek Capsule #2


Neat, amirite?



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