Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Cuz it needs to be said before you read any further:

This Blog is Rated R.


(No foolin'.)

My primary blog was moved to WordPress starting in July 2011. I had been mirroring entries here since then, but I think enough time now has passed that most folks know where to find me.

I'm not deleting this blog, as I still use my LJ account to read and comment on my friends' journals, and to send and receive messages. As for this blog, I have disabled comments across the board, mostly so that I don't have to deal with spam any longer.

So, if you've been reading my LJ, I hope you'll continue to follow my blatherings over at The Fog of Ward. As with here, I've left it open for reading by everyone, and posting comments is about as easy to do there as here.


Planet Comicon...THIS WEEKEND!

Awwww, yeah.

This weekend is the annual Planet Comicon here in Kansas City. As they state with pride on their website, it indeed is KC's largest pop culture and comic book convention. No, it's nowhere near San Diego-sized, but a convention is like a penis: It doesn't really matter how big it is, so long as you can have fun with yours.

As it happens, the con does attract a rather respectable contingent of media guests each year, and 2012 is no exception. Receiving top billing for this year's show is Admiral Adama himself, the incomparable Edward James Olmos. I had a chance to meet Mr. Olmos at Shore Leave a couple of years ago, and the man is a true class act. He'll be joined by Billy Dee Williams, Gil Gerard, Erin Gray AND Felix Silla from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Jake Lloyd and Adrienne Wilkinson of Star Wars fame, Amy Okuda and Robin Thorsen from The Guild, and KC native Blair Butler from G4TV's Attack of the Show. Check out the full guest details at the con's website.</a>

One of KC's big secrets is that a number of top-notch comics professionals live in the region, or close enough to be enticed to make the trip to the con. This show always manages to gather an impressive group of such folks, including local guys-done-good Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Freddie Williams, Kevin Mellon and Dennis Hopeless just to cover the tip of the iceberg. Again, see the guest list for the full roster, and pray you don't get tapped to provide refreshments.

The show also will have panels, a costume contest, gaming, demos, photo ops, and all sorts of geeky goodness. Kevin and I will be there, showing off our wares. We'll also be on a panel Saturday afternoon, along with comics pro and novelist Alex Grecian, where we'll talk about writing. Or, strippers. Or, bacon. Or, maybe how all three come together in perfect harmony. I'm sure Kirk Chritton will have a game plan, because you see what can happen when you leave me in charge. Stay tuned for details.

So, if comics, gaming, collectables, SF movies and/or TV and other pop culture stuff is your bag and you're in the area, come check out the joint, whydontcha?

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)



In a fit of mischief one evening last fall while writing That Which Divides, I joked on Twitter that I was going to insert a joke about the Starfleet Academy Titanium Spork, currently sold by the awesome gang at ThinkGeek.

Naturally, somebody from that august organization, that being my buddy and brother in geekery, John Frasier, caught that idle rambling thought of mine, and we talked offline about it for a bit. I figured the reference wouldn't make it past my editor or the good folk at CBS Licensing, but when I was given provisional clearance (as in, "Try not to go know, for once."), I decided to throw caution to the winds.

The result is this excerpt from a scene in the book:

Chekov hoped his forced chuckle covered the sound of clearing his throat as he held up his “personal eating utensil,” or “PEU,” as it was known in Starfleet vernacular. Essentially a spoon with the end of its scoop molded to feature a trio of fork tines, the implement was a standard equipment item issued to cadets at Starfleet Academy. Though generally used only during training missions on Earth or off-planet locations where even rudimentary dining facilities often were not provided, the “pew” was a vital component of a cadet’s field gear. “I’ve had it since the Academy,” he said, smiling at the memories the utensil evoked. “During a training mission on Andor, a fellow cadet broke three fingers on her right hand. We were in the middle of a ground combat exercise and no medical equipment was nearby, so I used this as a field-expedient splint.”

Smiling in obvious appreciation—and perhaps a small bit of amusement—M’Ress nodded. “Its titanium construction would make it quite suitable for such a purpose. Very resourceful, Ensign.”

“It was enough to immobilize her hand until help arrived,” Chekov said, holding up the pew as he finished his story. “Once the exercise was over and we were on our way back to Earth, I decided it was a sort of good luck charm, and I’ve had it ever since.”

Well, I chuckled, anyway. I figured a few others would, as well, and that'd be the end of it.


Check it:

ThinkGeek - Star Trek: That Which Divides
Oh, yeah. It's in there.
(Click to Biggie Size)

For the very first time, ThinkGeek is selling a Star Trek novel on their site, in and amongst all the other cool stuff they offer. I'm so totally jazzed about this, it's not even funny. John Frazier at ThinkGeek, as he does for a good chunk (if not the whole chunk) of everything else on the site, set up the page and wrote the copy in order to give it that distinctive TG flavah. The fact that the book happens to make mention of a TG product is, I'm certain, entirely coincidental. yours yet?

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


Unreality SF’s annual “Story of the Year” poll!

Unreality SF is hosting their annual "Story of the Year" poll, looking to pronounce one media tie-in story "the best of the best." For that, they need the help of you, the (I hope) readers of TV, film, and other tie-in fiction. Such folks are invited to submit their top/favorite three stories which were published during the eligibility period. In this case, the period includes all novels, novellas, short stories, comics, and audio dramas published between March 1st, 2011 and February 29, 2012.

The winning story's author even will receive a trophy, by golly. I'm pleased to say that my novel for the Star Trek: Typhon Pact miniseries, Paths of Disharmony won this honor last year. Here, take a look at the shiny stuff they sent me:

(Click to biggie size.)

Now, since I think we long ago established that I'm a shameless attention whore, I'll go the extra step of pointing out to you that I have stories eligible for consideration again this year:

Almost Tomorrow (Declassified, Star Trek: Vanguard, June 2011)
What Judgments Come, by me and Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: Vanguard, September 2011)
That Which Divides (Star Trek, February 2012)

There's been an awful lot of good stuff published during this past year, a lot of it by folks I consider friends and colleagues. So, even if our scribblings aren't among your favorites, if you're a follower of tie-in fiction and have some favorites which are eligible this year that you'd like to see recognized, wander on over to Unreality SF and participate in the new poll, whydontcha?

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


Fighting for Gwen: “A Tall Tree Overlooking the Joliba”

Earlier this month, I posted about the fundraising effort Fighting for Gwen, and how you can be a part of the action. By donating to Gwen's cause, you set yourself up as a subscriber to a series of stories written for distribution to the donors. From what I've been told, response so far to this initiative has been very positive, but they can always use a bit more help.

The second of the stories was released today! Next up: "A Tall Tree Overlooking the Joliba" by Josh Roby, a quick-moving tale with some pulp adventure flavor. See the kind of stuff you're missing? Eh?

Other stories will continue to follow at a rate of about one every other week or so, and there' still time for you to be a part of something special. Read about Gwen's story and how you can get involved: Fighting for Gwen.


(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


That's What They Want You to Think, by Paul Simpson.

Okay, show of hands: which of you folks are into conspiracies? Do you have just a passing fancy for them? Are you amused by all the hoopla such "controversies" stir up, or are you one of the ones stirring up stuff? Do you cut yourself every time you try to apply Occam's Razor? If so, then have I got the book for you.
Cover for That's What They Want You To Think
Put down your copies of The Catcher in the Rye or On the Trail of the Assassins, or pause your streaming of Capricorn One, stop trying to look at all the layers in that PDF, and check this out, truthers: My friend Paul Simpson has a new book out, That's What They Want You To Think: Conspiracies Real, Possible, and Paranoid. It's just chock full of all sorts of suspiciously interesting goodness. As it says on the back cover:

Conspiracies. They happen every day. All it takes is a couple of people and a secret, nefarious plan. But then there are big conspiracy theories—the assassinations, cover-ups, and shadow governments that are endlessly debated on talk radio and the Internet. Are they real? Are they even possible? Or are they just plain paranoid?

Paul Simpson has researched a wide variety of conspiracies, from those historically accepted to those that spark accusations of “being a part of it” if you disagree with their supporters. In reviewing these famous (and, in some cases, infamous) theories, That’s What They Want You to Think does not start from the position of a believer or a debunker. In each case, Simpson makes up his own mind based on the evidence of primary documents—and some of his conclusions may surprise even the most dedicated conspiracy researcher.

Straightforward and engaging, That’s What They Want You to Think provides food for thought for both conspiracy buffs and skeptics. Novices and veteran researchers alike will debate the latest evidence and fresh takes on long-standing theories. Covering topics as diverse as the JFK assassination and faked moon landings, from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to Area 51 and the New World Order, Simpson makes you wonder if what you believe is real, possible, or paranoid.

You can get this bad boy right now in Nook and Amazon Kindle format. Oh yeah, you can:

Nook e-Book from Barnes & Noble
Amazon Kindle e-Book

So, run out and grab yourself a copy. You know...before They find you....

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


“Ask Dayton” on the G&T Show…#20!

Ah, Sunday. A day of rest and reflection, and of course another episode of the Sunday G&T Show, the weekly Trek-themed internet radio show and podcast hosted by Nick Minecci and Terry Lynn Shull.

Terry was away this week, leaving Nick to wrangle a couple of co-hosts to help fill the void. In addition to the usual news and updates involving a variety of Trek-related topics, Nick also took a few moments to read this week's "Ask Dayton" answer. That's right, folks; this week marked the 20th installment of this odd little series. According to Nick, the thing seems as though it'll be going for a while.

(Of course, maybe I just jinxed it right there.)

In related news, don't forget that you can cast a vote for your favorite of the first 19 "Ask Dayton" answers simply by clicking on one of those words I just highlighted for you back there.

Anyway, here's what we had this week:

Dear Dayton: If you were given the chance to script doctor Star Trek V, can you tell us what changes you would make? Also, if you could for Star Trek: Nemesis, what would you do to improve it? I feel that Star Trek V had some good ideas and moments, but it fell so short, as did Nemesis.

Also, choosing from characters across all the series, can you give us your idea of the ideal bridge crew (and if you wanted to put someone like Kurn as the XO or Ops officer, cool!)? Thanks Dayton!

Well, that last part certainly seems deserving of this....

Yes, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis get bad raps, much of which is deserved. On the other hand, both films—for me, anyway—have bits which are among my favorites across all of the movies. Call me a sucker, but I really like the campfire scenes in Star Trek V (minus some of the jokes, which I’ll address shortly), and the musical score is one of Jerry Goldsmith’s underrated efforts. As for Nemesis, the scene with Picard and B-4 where he’s talking about Data is a nice moment, as is Picard’s farewell to Riker. The scene with the Enterprise ramming the Scimitar is pretty damned effective, too. It’s really too bad they couldn’t find a decent story to weave in and around these things.

As a friend of mine, blogger and Trek enthusiast Jerad Formby, said during a roundtable discussion, there are times during Star Trek V where the Kirk-Spock-McCoy relationship in particular is depicted better than at any point during any of the films. On the other hand, a fair bit of Star Trek V’s troubles stem from its downsized budget after production already had commenced, along with overreaching in some respects while playing it too safe in others. After the critical and commercial success of the previous film, the humor of which was consistently listed among its strengths, there was an obvious attempt to up that ante in the next movie. With exceptions which can be counted on one hand, this almost always fell flat, and in some cases the jokes were so bad they were painful. I’m talking Zookeeper painful. I’m talking The Situation at Donald Trump’s Comedy Roast painful. Anything with Pauly Shore painful. I mean it; most of the jokes in this flick are violations of the Geneva Conventions with respect to torture and other inhumane acts against prisoners of war, all right?

What changes would I make to it? Aside from performing trauma surgery on the wet toilet paper serving as humor in a good hunk of the script, and perhaps exploring the question of why a Vulcan—and a heretofore unknown sibling of the entire franchise’s most famous Vulcan, to boot—would give two tenths of a tinker’s dam about the God worshipped by humans, the first thing I’d get rid of is the Uhura naked-feather dance thing. If this was Nichelle Nichols in 1969, I’d be all over it. I might even sneak a peek at the old undercarriage if we’re talking Nichelle Nichols in 1979, but 1989? Yeah, starting to look a little creepy there, like a porn star who’s a decade or so past any semblance of a viable on-screen life in the biz suddenly deciding to make a comeback as a “cougar,” banging studs who weren’t even born the first time she did her thing on camera.

Hmmm.... That analogy might be a bit harsh, now that I think about it. And not for nothing, but now I’m wondering if I might’ve given it a tad more thought than could be considered healthy.

I think the word that we’re looking for at this particular juncture is “Anyway.......”

We could talk about the flaws in this flick all day, but my biggest change, were I in charge, would be to give Shatner back his budget so he could film the climactic ending he’d originally envisioned, with rock monsters stomping the shit out of everything. This also would allow him to hire a special effects studio that could produce footage that didn’t look like it was ripped out of an unused episode from Jason of Star Command.

As for Nemesis, the first thing I’d do, after watching a few reels of dailies early on during filming, is let Stuart Baird know that as a feature film director, I think he might make for a good second-string fry-o-later operator at the McDonald’s down the block, and put Jonathan Frakes back in the driver’s seat. I’d get rid of the entire B-4 subplot (even the scene I liked) and that diversion to the planet so Picard can drive his dune buggy. Those had to have been pulled from an orifice even deeper and darker than the one which gave birth to Sybok. I suppose I could probably write in some dialogue for the scene right after the oh-so light-sensitive/”My eyes hurt! I have to live in the dark!” Remans board the Enterprise, and have some no-name ensign at the back of the bridge ask why nobody just turns on all the damned lights.

But, now we’re just starting to pick nits, so you know what? Never mind. I’d probably just do what I did in 2002: Get up and go sneak into the James Bond flick playing next door.

Now, on to the second part of the question, and my ideal bridge crew. This is actually pretty easy: I’d get Data, and once you have him you really don’t need anybody else. He can handle every station, doesn’t need coffee breaks, and won’t bitch about the long hours. Meanwhile, I can have the other positions filled by members of the Pussycat Dolls dance troupe. I might even let them keep their fishnet stockings when they wear their TOS-style mini-skirts and go-go boots.

Who am I kidding? Fishnets for the win.

You can hear Nick read the answer as a segment on the show each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The Sunday G&T Show. Listeners to the show are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.

Thanks again to Nick, Terry, and Mike for continuing to make me a part of the fun.

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


Texts from Last Night, Mar 10-16.

Be sure to check out!
Buy the book, by Lauren Leto and Ben Bator.

Follow @tfln on Twitter, and be sure to visit the Texts From Last Night website. That's where it all begins.

The following may contain offensive language. Proceed at your own peril.

March 10th-11th:

(301): and that's why he's hiding in the taco suit

(443): So guy #2, the dancer, is programmed into my phone under the name His number-11 digits. I should have stopped drinking.

March 12th:

(214): It was like the Ritz Carlton of jails. I got introduced to our criminal system the right way.

(703): he asked me out through an event invitation on facebook, the title read Romantic Dinner for 2

March 13th:

(508): she definitely has that "I'll bang you, but then I'll tell your girlfriend" look to her.

(401): The sex was so not worth the four dollars it cost to drive over the bridge.

March 14th:

(+44): swears the blind dude on this train is faking. Every day he stumbles and falls into a different girl's lap and then has to grab her tits to steady himself.

March 15th:

(917): Just saw a guy pushing a stroller with 3 twelve packs of corona in it with a toddler struggling to keep up on foot behind him.

March 16th:

(206): What should our trivia night team be named?

(925): Define Statutory

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)


Novel Spaces: "My Wife Let Me Write This."

Yep, it's the 16th again, which means TAG! I'm it over at the Novel Spaces blog. Since it's also my anniversary, I decided a brief side trip for some reminiscing (and yes, sucking up) was in order.

Novel Spaces: My Wife Let Me Write This.

Go forth, and read, yo.

My Novel Spaces archive:

(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)