Thank you, StarFest Denver! Also? Back to work for me.

Previously on The Fog of Ward:


Not much going on around here over the past several days. Most of that can be attributed to our road trip to Denver for the annual StarFest Convention. For those keeping score at home, 2017 marked our 15th visit to the Mile High State for this particular show. As always, we had a terrific time catching up with old friends, making some new ones, selling a few books, and generally enjoying ourselves throughout the three days of full-on multimedia nerdity.

A big part of what makes the show so much fun is the staff. Headed up by KathE Walker and her husband, Stephen, StarFest is a family affair in more ways than one. The core group of people overseeing everything are either members of the extended Walker family or else close friends, and together they’ve been doing this thing for 40 years.

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Cabal and Other Irresponsible Invocations of The Muse: A Kickstarter project by Michael Jan Friedman.

You know this has to be serious when the post title takes up nearly two whole lines, amirite?

Friend and veteran word pusher Michael Jan Friedman has been busy. Long known for his numerous novels that span original science fiction and fantasy to licensed properties like Star Trek, Mike is also one of the plank owners of Crazy 8 Press, a small yet lovable indie publishing house dealing in all sorts of stylized wordplay and other chicanery.

Meanwhile, Mike’s been pursuing efforts on his own, here and there. In recent years past, he’s launched and successfully completed a handful of nifty Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns, including the Pangaea anthology in which Kevin and I have a story, and his own novels I Am the Salamander and Lost Days. Now, he’s compiled a collection of short fiction, and he’s once again looking for some help to procure the funds needed to see it published.


Cabal and Other Irresponsible Invocations of The Muse
A veteran sci-fi author
hopes to publish
the first-ever collection of his original short fiction

Rather than have me yammer on about this, I should let Mike do the talking:

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Come see me and Kevin at @StarFestDenver!


It’s almost that time again!


Come Thursday, my hetero life mate and frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, will be aiming the Mirth Mobile west as we take on the grueling, unrelentingly boring drive across Kansas via I-70 on our way to bee-yootiful Denver, Colorado. Why? Because this year marks our 15th consecutive year attending the totally fun and kick-ass StarFest Convention.

We’re talking about nearly three full days’ worth of multi-media awesomeness, including SF and Fantasy, Horror, Comics, Gaming, Robotics, and Art, and all sorts of other good stuff, brought to us by the good people at Denver-based Starland, who’ve been putting on this show for 40 years. As it happens, a little bitty science fiction film you may have heard of, Star Wars, also celebrates its 40th birthday this year, so that seems reason enough to throw a party.

In addition to having space in the vendor/exhibitor/author alley area of the con all weekend, you’ll be able to find me and Kevin in various places all weekend. For example:


Guests Meet & Greet – Main Events – 7pm-8:30pm


Costume Contest – Main Events (we’re both judging) – 8pm-????


StarFest Talent Show  (Kevin’s hosting, I’m judging) – 9am-9:45am
“The Completely Unexpected Media Tie-In Panel” – 10:30am-11:25am

There may be other panels and activities about which I’ve not been informed, or we may just crash a few things because they sound fun. Who knows?

For those wondering, Kevin and I will have on hand copies of our most recent publications, including everything published since last year’s show, of which there are several. Check it out:

2113: Stories Inspired By the Music of Rush (I don’t remember if we had this last year)
Star Trek: The Original Series – Elusive Salvation
24: Trial by Fire
Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: Vulcan
Star Trek: Legacies – Purgatory’s Key
Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Headlong Flight
our Star Trek: Waypoint comic

We’ll also have a varying number of copies of older titles.

So, if you’re attending the con, be sure to come by and say “Howdy.” Hope to see you there!



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Trekking to Ticonderoga and the Star Trek Set Tour!

Well, it seems the cat’s out of the bag on this one, as it’s been reported in different places and a couple of people have asked me about it.

Along with my hetero life mate, Kevin Dilmore, and a whole gaggle of fellow writers of various Star Trek persuasions (novels and other books, comics, even the odd script or two), I’ll be making the trek to scenic Ticonderoga, New York during the first weekend in May, to hang out at the incredible Star Trek Original Series Set Tour!


Along with Kevin and me, fellow Star Trek wordsmiths Keith R. A. DeCandidoMichael Jan FriedmanDave GalanterDavid R. George III, Bob GreenbergerGlenn HaumanBill LeisnerDavid MackScott Pearson,  and Aaron Rosenberg will all be descending upon poor little Ticonderoga for a one-day “Star Trek Writers Mini-Con” to be held on Saturday, May 6th, from 1pm-6pm.

What originally was just going to be a friendly get-together among friends has morphed into a “Meet the Authors” event that will include book signings and Q&A sessions. I don’t know if we’ll attract all that many curious visitors, but you can guarantee we writer nerds will make our own fun.

Why? Because of the sets, people.

The brainchild and dream project of ardent Star Trek fan James Cawley, this one-of-a-kind attraction is exactly what its name implies: A full-blown walking tour of one of the most faithful recreations of the original Star Trek filming sets ever devised. Working from blueprints and photographs of the original soundstages as they appeared during the filming of the original show in the 1960s, James and a group of loyal enthusiasts have constructed bang-on replicas of all the U.S.S. Enterprise interiors.

It’s all here, including such memorable locations as engineering, sickbay, the transporter room, and–of course–the bridge. Everything is linked by familiar Enterprise corridors, and the whole smash is laid out almost exactly as it was constructed on Desilu Stage 9. No detail is overlooked, from signage to buttons to odds and ends on shelves in Captain Kirk’s quarters to those unidentified doodads and thingamajigs hanging everywhere on walls and conduits and whatnot.

Here, take a look:

And there are plenty more photos on the tour’s official website and its Facebook Page.

It’s okay to drool. I did.

Those familiar with Mr. Cawley’s work know that these sets came about as a result of his desire to create new “fan made” episodes of the original Star Trek. After creating a series of well-received episodes, he has continued to work on improving the sets, and eventually worked out a deal with CBS to officially license the tour.

There have been several recreations of various original series sets over the years, including a few created by fans for similar fan film projects. None of the recreations I’ve seen in exhibits or traveling tours have reached this level of detail, though. To this point, I’ve only seen the photographs, but I can already tell you how this is going to go down.

(Cue vids and pictures of Dayton running around the sets like an 8-year old hopped up on Pop Rocks and Red Bull, smiling and touching all of the things and maybe even himself.)

Granted, Ticonderoga is a bit off the beaten path, but hey! If you’re able to join us on Saturday, May 6th, between 1pm and 6pm, come on out! The writer gang was going to be there, anyway, and we’ll be hanging around and having fun all day.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be on the bridge.

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April 9th, 1959: The Mercury Seven.

Ladies and gentlemen: Today we are introducing to you and to the world these seven men who have been selected to begin training for orbital space flight.

These men, the nation’s Project Mercury astronauts, are here after  a long and perhaps unprecedented series of evaluations which told our medical consultants and scientists of their superb adaptability to their coming flight.”

April 9th, 1959: America officially gets into the space race with Project Mercury.


(L-R: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom,
Wally Shirra, Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton)

They were to be America’s first guides to the stars. The right stuff, indeed.

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Happy First Contact Day, Trekkies!

April 5th, 2063: We’re only 46 years from this most excellent of events, yo.

While we wait, we continue to look to the future with hope and excitement. After all, we know that this monumental meeting between humanity and intelligent beings from a world beyond our own will usher in a new era of peace, optimism, prosperity and collaborative spirit as the people of Earth take their first tentative steps into a larger universe.


So, grab yourself the first Vulcan (or other non-terrestrial biological entity) you meet, wriggle to the left, wriggle to the right, and do the Ooby Dooby with all of your might. Let’s get this party started, all while living long and prospering in forthright, logical fashion, of course.

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Setting the record straight: the “Wardilmore Bromance.”

So, according to one source, Kevin and I ended our writing partnership this past Saturday.

Despite being published on April 1st, a very small handful of people still managed to ask if what they had read was A) true, B) might be true, C) done with our permission, and/or D) really true?

What the hell am I talking about? Behold, yo: Ward-Dilmore Writing Duo Calls It Quits


So, in order to head off any rumors, gossip, scuttlebutt, and whatever else we’re calling tabloid tales these days, I am here to set the record straight, once and for all.

Kevin and I are back together.

It got pretty heated here and there, especially in those areas of social media where we have a number of mutual friends, colleagues, and other acquaintances. For a while, things looked like they might take a turn toward the ugly side………


As for me? I was content to chart my own course following the release of Saturday’s news, but let’s get real for a sec: How can you resist somebody when they go to such lengths to let them know how they truly feel? For example, there was this scene outside my window on Monday evening:


He had me at, “Dude, let’s get some chicken wings and catch 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Alamo.”

Chief among the relieved parties was my wife, who is thankful I once again have someone for playdates and she can be left alone to drink wine and binge-watch Criminal Minds. Also relieved is prospective writing partner Scott Pearson, who won’t have to endure me and my overinflated ego and general lack of talent and work ethic.

You can catch Kevin and me together in a couple of weeks, in Denver for the annual Starfest Convention.

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Your Moment of TrekZen*.

Because it’s not always about silly pictures and my shameless whoring around here. Sometimes, I offer bits and nuggets of practical knowledge which just might see you through a troubling time or two. For example:


This design is featured on a snazzy and totally licensed T-shirt available from, among other places, Entertainment Earth. Go and check it out.

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

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March writing wrap-up.

all-the-wordsAaaaaaaaaaaand just, like that, 2017 is 25% in the books.

It’s like the damned year can’t wait to throw my ass over the cliff and into the waiting embrace of my looming 50th birthday.


March’s big news was that I got started on the new novel project, about which I am currently allowed to say nothing. At the same time, I’m working to finish an outline for another book, about which I’m also permitted to share precisely nada. A few other things are percolating on different fronts, as well. Hey! The life of a freelancer is in large part about planning the next few moves on the board.

(Note to editors: Will write for money. Or food. Or vodka.)

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Star Trek Vanguard: Five years on.

March 27th, 2012 saw the official release of Storming Heaven, the seventh and final novel in the Star Trek Vanguard series.

Holy shit, where did that time go?


Spanning seven novels and a handful of novellas released over a period of seven years, Star Trek Vanguard, for whatever the hell my biased opinion is worth, remains one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of Pocket Books’ decades-long Star Trek publishing program.

Conceived by editor Marco Palmieri and writer David Mack, Vanguard was intended as something of a 23rd century counterpart to the various “literary spin-off” series set 100 or so years later in the “Star Trek universe.” Novel series like Star Trek: New Frontier, Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of EngineersStar Trek: Klingon Empire, and Star Trek: Titan were outgrowths of characters and situations established by Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager, each of which had its own line of novels as outgrowths from their respective television shows.

Though Star Trek: New Earth, an earlier attempt to create such a line of novels to take place during the era of the original Star Trek TV series and follow-on motion pictures, didn’t gain much traction, editor Marco was convinced such a companion series to the adventures of Captain Kirk and his merry Enterprise band could work, provided it could offer something not found in any of the TV shows or other novel lines.

What did Marco and Dave come up with? An all-new set of characters and ships, set not just during the time of the original Star Trek TV series but in fact running parallel to the voyages of the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk’s command. Set aboard a giant space station at the edge of Federation territory, Vanguard’s central storyline revolved around a fiercely contested region called “the Taurus Reach,” which would come to be of great interest not only to the Federation but also the Klingon Empire as well as the Tholian Assembly (from the TOS episode “The Tholian Web”).

Events that unfold over the course of the Vanguard novels would be informed by bits and pieces from the original series, and in turn layer in additional context to things conveyed to us in various key episodes and even a couple of the movies. The main idea was to weave an all-new story in an around the mythos of the original show, hewing to that “canon” as close as possible while still enjoying the freedom granted by inventing characters, adversaries, and situations unique to the books. As an avid–nay, rabid–fan of the original Star Trek series, for me this was a dream job.

Once Dave laid the basic groundwork for the series not only with a very comprehensive “writer’s bible” as well as the manuscript for the first novel, Harbinger, Kevin Dilmore and I were invited to contribute the second book. Encouraged both by Dave and Marco to use the writer’s guide as a point of departure while developing our own ideas, Kevin and I added a few bits and pieces to the mix, ending up with what became Summon the Thunder. Then we were off and running, as it was decided that Dave, Kevin, and I would be the writers for additional books in the series. The three of us bounced a hella bunch of ideas off each other, some drawn from the long-term series arc Dave originally had envisioned, and others that we came up with that we all thought sounded better, and getting the call to write “the next Vanguard novel was something I relished.

I’ve already written at length about the series and its development and execution on more than one occasion, so I probably shouldn’t bore you with too much of that yet again. Suffice it to say that from start to finish, this was one big fat chunk of fun.

Which also means I have absolutely no shame when it comes to pimping the hell out of the series on behalf of people who haven’t yet had the chance to read it. So, Star Trek fans who might be looking for something to tide them over while waiting for the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery later this year? Have I got a treat for you, in the form of the Complete Star Trek Vanguard Reading Guide:

Harbinger – Dave
Summon the Thunder – me & Kevin
Reap the Whirlwind – Dave
Open Secrets – me (story by me & Kevin)
Precipice – Dave
Declassified – stories by me, Kevin, Marco, and Dave
What Judgments Come – me & Kevin (story by me, Kevin, and Dave)
Storming Heaven – Dave (story by Dave, me & Kevin)

There also are a couple of additional stories which, while not essential to enjoying the main “saga,” might still be of interest:

Distant Early Warning – me & Kevin (a Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers story)
In Tempest’s Wake – me (sort of a coda to the Vanguard series)

“The Black Flag” – James Swallow
(Included in the anthology Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Shards & Shadows)

Do I regret that the series ended, rather than continuing on? Not one bit. Vanguard was always envisioned as a story with a defined beginning and ending, and despite our various diversions and course corrections over the course of those novels and novellas, we ended up not too far afield from what Dave originally envisioned. We also got to end the series on our own terms, something not done before or since in Pocket’s Star Trek publishing program, and those eight books sit on my bookshelf as a testament to one of the most creatively rewarding projects in which I’ve ever taken part.

Of course, Vanguard also begat Star Trek: Seekers, which allowed us to take a bunch of characters who only played supporting roles in the previous series and elevate them to stars of their own show, to so speak. Elsewhere, elements from the series have managed to find their way into other areas of the Star Trek “expanded universe,” but so far the three of us–Dave, Kevin, and myself–have held to our “pact” to refrain from revisiting Vanguard‘s core storyline or central characters. As I wrote a few years ago in response to a question about returning to the concept in some fashion:

As far as I’m concerned, the stories of Vanguard’s core cast have been told. Within the fictional construct of the Star Trek universe, their reward—and penance—for what happened over the course of those novels and novellas is to be consigned to obscurity; footnotes to a history about which few people ever will know the complete truth.”

Yep. It’s five years on, and I still feel that way. I remain immensely proud of the work we did, but I have no need to re-open that particular box. To borrow a bit of sports parlance, I think we left it all on the field. Better to leave it well enough alone, and move on to other challenges and opportunities.

So, happy semi sorta anniversary, Star Trek Vanguard. Here’s hoping you keep finding new fans.

Posted in books, fandom, nerdity, trek, vanguard, writing | 5 Comments