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[sticky post] 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.)


Happy Birthday to the Shat!

That's right, it's the 81st birthday of the OG Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner!

Damn. 81, and still kickin' it harder and faster than dudes half his age. I feel like such a slacker. Here's to many more wonderful birthdays, sir.

(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 overboard...you 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.

So...got yours yet?

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


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.)


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: RyanMacklin.com: Fighting for Gwen.


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

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 TextsFromLastNight.com!
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 H.uy. 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.)

She'll make .5 past the toybox....

As some of you may know, my oldest daughter, all of 5, is a budding Star Wars geek.

Don't worry, she still digs Rapunzel from Tangled and various other Disney characters, but she migrates between those things and stuff that some people might dismiss as "just for boys." To them, I say, "Pffft!" If my kid wants to do the Star Wars thang, I'm not going to discourage her. We haven't graduated to the actual movies yet, but she (and her younger sister, to a lesser extent) really likes the Clone Wars series. Thanks to the merchandising behemoth that is Lucasfilm, there are plenty of books, games, and other items intended for kids in her age bracket to make her eyes go all "HOLY SCHNIKES!" whenever we happen past the toy section at the store.

One evening, after a particularly extended run of good behavior at home, school, and Taekwondo, we decided to let them take some of their Christmas gift money and pick out something at the store. For some reason they've gotten into Thomas the Train, so we've acquired a couple of those sets (which all can connect together to form a GIGANTIC TRAIN SET THAT CONSUMES ALL OF THE OPEN SPACE IN THE LIVING ROOM. It's actually pretty cool, and half the fun is working out the different configurations for the tracks and sets to wind under and around furniture, and all of that jazz. Erin, focused on that bit of fun, picked out yet another expansion set. At this rate, I may be able to fashion a system which will deliver chicken wings from the kitchen down to my office and return the dirty plate upstairs on command.

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Addy literally stopped in her tracks and her mouth did indeed drop open when her eyes fell upon this:

(Click pics to Biggie Size)

I'd seen these before, long with other figures and vehicles. Playskool has a Star Wars license, and they've put together a pretty slick line of toys for the 3-6 range. As you can see, the Falcon opens up to make a playset, and there's all sorts of little accessory doo-dads to snap into this bracket or plug into that connector. Stuff like the dish and the cannon pops off the outside and snaps into place on the inside. Everything seems designed for little, awkward hands in mind. Opening the ship too far doesn' break it; it just pops off and you can pop it right back on. All the little pieces go inside when the kid's done playing, you pop it closed, and it even has a little concealed carrying handle. The figures are rendered in that exaggerated/stylized manner that for some reason to me is just frikkin' cool.

Where the HELL was this kind of stuff when I was a little kid? Part of me wants to run out and get all the other vehicles and figures for this line. You know, for the kids. Always for the kids, you know.

Of course, as we get it home and I start helping the kids put this and the train set together, I keep returning to one thought.....

Why the HELL doesn't Star Trek have stuff like this?!?

If I could've had a playset like this, with a totally whacked-out versions of the Enterprise and Kirk and the gang when I was a wee lad, I'd have flown that thing around the house and out in the yard until it crumbled to dust. Playsets for the bridge, engineering, the transporter room, an alien planet/village/whatever? A shuttlecraft? Hell, I'd buy one of everything right now if somebody made the stuff.

You know...for the kids.

Yes, Star Wars is more popular than Star Trek, at least when it comes to kids and toys. I don't know if that's just a characteristic of each property's fandom as a whole, or what. I know it's not a function of CBS being unwilling to provide licenses for such things, because some really fun stuff has come out over the past few years. That said, whenever any Star Trek merchandise is announced which brings with it anything approaching "whimsy," hardcore fans seem to foam at the mouth, weeping and wailing at this latest assault on the Holy Trek. "How dare they sully the sanctity of Roddenberry's vision" or some such dumbass thing.

Meanwhile, Star Wars keeps getting the cool shit, and kids eat it up.

And I'm right there on the floor beside them, having a grand old time. Pew! Pew! Oh, and the train tracks run right past the spaceport, yo.

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

“Ask Dayton” on the G&T Show…#19!

Yes, yesterday was Sunday, bringing with it 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!

In addition to the normal array of Trek-related news, they also took some time near the end of the show to read this week's "Ask Dayton" question and answer. Apparently someone was listening to the show last week, as this question basically reframed one of my own smart-assed quips as a question and batted it back to my side of the court.

Sneaky bastard.

Anyway, here we go:

Dear Dayton: If a Star Trek actor were to show up at your house to date your daughter, such as Icheb "that freaky Borg kid from Voyager," would you kill him or not? If so, by what method? And what would you do with the body?

Yes, this is one of those things dreaded by every father with a daughter. Though mine are young enough that “first dates” are still years away, I can’t imagine my general attitude toward such a blessed event changing between now and then. Come to think of it, I definitely can see my stance becoming more headstrong and extreme the older I get, to say nothing of the older my daughters get.

What does this mean for potential boyfriends? In a word? DOOM.

Now, before we go any farther, I want to be clear on something. While I do believe the character of Icheb is a "freaky Borg kid from Voyager," I mean no disrespect at all to actor Manu Intiraymi, whom I’ve met a convention or two and therefore know he’s really a pretty cool cat. No fooling. If you get the chance to meet him at a show, do it. He’s one of the nicer con guests on the circuit.

That said, if he...or anyone...tries to date my daughter, I’d have to kill him.

It’s nothing personal, dude. Honest. This is likely to be the fate of pretty much anyone who attempts such a feat, whether they’re a Star Trek celebrity or just one of the idiots with whom my daughters will attend school. It’s probably a damned certainty that the first luckless bastard who decides to nut up and approach my darling offspring with a crush or love or lust in his heart will end up stone cold dead. I’ve often mentioned my plans for that initial would-be suitor, which involve stringing up said lothario’s body from the tree in my front yard and leaving it as a warning to unwitting passersby. Forget those “eight simple rules for dating my daughter.” I have no rules for you, but I do have a single, simple question: How fast can you run? No, don’t bother answering; it doesn’t matter. I can hit a man-sized target in the head at 500 yards. You can run, but you’ll only die tired, and with blue balls to boot.

Now, let’s assume for a moment that there are other prospective daters out there, hoping to arrive at my domicile with the intention of spiriting away one of my daughters for an evening of frivolous social interaction at one public venue or another. For them to ignore the obvious cautionary tale that is the rotting, maggot-infested corpse of the first boyfriend hanging from the sturdy oak providing shade to my front lawn is—I suppose—a testament to their character. One might consider such a person to be brave, determined, and confident. On the other hand, I wonder if they’re just fucking stupid. Of course, I do honestly entertain the possibility that such a person is so consumed by the feelings he holds for one of my daughters that he’s willing to risk life and limb in order to make her happy. However, I’m almost certain that such a noble, shining example of humanity does not walk around with his pants hanging off his ass. Look, dick; I have a gun, ammo, a shovel, and access to undeveloped land. They won’t even find your DNA in the bear shit.

Yes, I know that, eventually, someone will catch my daughters’ attention and perhaps even capture their hearts. I truly hope that does happen, and that they’re able to forge a lifelong, unfailing bond of love and friendship even stronger than the one I share with my own wife. If and when that does happen, I will be faced with accepting this new person into our lives and even the potential for them ultimately to join our family. By the time we reach that point, this individual will have faced numerous tests and will have been forced to rise to uncounted challenges, and anyone who emerges from that gauntlet will have earned the right to take my daughter’s hand.

But if he tries to get in her pants before any of that shit happens, I won’t hesitate to bust a cap in his ass. Live long and perspire, you little prick.

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.

Next week? It'll be the 20th "Ask Dayton" segment. I gotta be honest; I figured the bit would go two or three weeks, a month at the outside. But, according to Nick, there seems to be no stopping the train, at least for the time being.

As always, thanks very much to Nick, Terry, and Mike for including me in on the fun.

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

Texts from Last Night, Mar 3-9.

Be sure to check out TextsFromLastNight.com!
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 3rd-4th:

(804): I just woke up in bed with 4 girls. Either i dont remember the best night of my life or they think im gay.

(360): He started yelling "fuck the environment" then puked all over the baby trees.

March 5th:

(301): I wish real life had facebook tags so i could figure out who all these people are.

March 6th:

(713): jacking off on stolen wireless... gotta enjoy the small things in life.

March 7th:

(440): she was a 2... and a legitimate 2. like, helen keller is a 1, this girl... 2.

(701): My professor just used "labia" and "numchucks" in the same sentence. I am dying.

March 8th:

(619): i got lost in a forest last night. this morning I realized the "forest" was just 6 trees on campus.

March 9th:

(586): Is she bent over a couch yet or did daylight savings time throw off her usual schedule?

(239): it's like god just wants me to be high for five days in a row. keep the blizzards coming.

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


Vanguard goodies, courtesy of David Mack.

With the final novel of the Star Trek: Vanguard series, Storming Heaven, due to be released in just a couple of weeks, series co-creator David Mack has plunged into the depths of his archives (not to mention raiding a couple of our file cabinets, too), to provide readers and fans of the books with some extra special treats.

DavidMack.pro: Star Trek: Vanguard - The Finale

Collected here are various bits of Vanguardian goodness, such as technical schematics of the station and the sweet little Archer-class scout ship, the U.S.S. Sagittarius. Also included are links to interviews as well as blogs and sites belonging to various contributors to the saga since its inception, such as the art of Masao Okazaki (creator of Vanguard Station) and Doug Drexler, the man behind the covers for all of the Vanguard novels. David has also provided links to various interviews and podcasts where the topic is Vanguard-heavy. Heck, Mr. Mack has even created a special bit of Vanguard wallpaper for you, featuring the cover art from the books.

And hey, he's just getting started.

As the finale approaches, Dave's got other material waiting in the wings, such as excerpts from that oh-so mysterious "series bible" you've heard us babble about from time to time. He's also planning a roundtable podcast where he'll pull in me, Kevin Dilmore, Marco Palmieri and possibly James Swallow, who wrote a Vanguard story set in the Mirror Universe. There's also the contest he's running, where two lucky fans will win a complete set of all eight Vanguard paperback books--including the notoriously hard-to-find third book, Reap the Whirlwind--each signed by their respective authors. There may be a few other surprises, too.

So, head on over to Dave's blog and start get a quick Vanguard fix. Oh, and while you're waiting for the last book to get here? Might wanna get your cup and helmet. It's gonna get crazy.

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

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I originally wrote this for my mother's birthday a couple of years ago, and realized the following year that I'd used up all of the coolest anecdotes and funniest little bits the first time around. So, I decided to make this part of an "annual tribute" to She Who Gave Birth To Me, in recognition of the number redacted anniversary of her own grand entrance into this crazy little field trip we call "Life."

Therefore, without further ado:

Here's to you, Mom, for dressing the wounds I sustained upon tying a bath towel around my neck and leaping from the top of the stairs because I saw Superman do it on TV.

Here's to you, Mom, for fueling at a very early age my interests in books and reading for the sheer pleasure to be found if you just let the written word guide the way; it's a gift I've treasured every day of my life.

Here's to you, Mom, for blaming Dad instead of me when, as we were trying to move a new sofa-bed into the house, the bed came out of its mounting and knocked an antique pitcher and bowl off a nearby table, destroying it on impact.

Here's to you, Mom, for teaching me that the things in life worth having are not easy to obtain, but that the rewards of perseverance are immeasurable.

Here's to you, Mom, for not disowning me when, at the age of 16, I backed my truck too close to the side of the house and ripped off the power box, without even the courtesy of dying by electrocution in the process.

Here's to you, Mom, for taking the woman who one day would become my wife, and treating her from the first minute like a second daughter.

Here's to you, Mom, for taking that same woman aside, and teaching her very early on how not to put up with my bullshit.

Here's to you, Mom, for being there when our children were born, doing everything you could to ease our transition into the incredible next chapters of our lives.

Here's to you, Mom, for putting into motion from that first day your master plan to spoil your grandchildren and relish in the mischief they now pull on us, as justifiable retribution for the hell - however infrequent yet unforgettable it might've been - that my sister and I raised as kids.

Here's to you, Mom, on your birthday. I hope you enjoy it, and many more.

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

Prepare to drool.

If you're a fan of the original Star Trek, and if in particular you have a thing for info or pictures from behind the scenes of the show's production, have I got a treat for you. Well, not me, really. Somebody else has a treat for you; I'm just the guy getting ready to give you a link. Check this out:

Flickr.com: birdofthegalaxy's photostream

In "birdofthegalaxy's" own words:

"I am a very long time Star Trek fan. I bought a lot of film clips (in this context single frame 35mm movie positives) in the early Lincoln Enterprises and Star Trek convention days and have again recently added to the collection through on line auctions and networking. This flickr site is my way to share images that are rare or special in some way for the fans of Star Trek TOS. The majority of the images are digital scans and restorations from original film frames I personally possess in my collection, a few are my restored digital images from photos, computer files, or film clips I have borrowed or been sent."

This collection of photos, including pics of model photography, make-up and costuming, production staff working on the different sets, bloopers or other things taking place between filming sequences, is total frikkin' AMAZEBALLS DEEP-FRIED IN AWESOME SAUCE. WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING. AND A CHERRY ON TOP.


Some of the pics in this collection are available elsewhere on the web, but a whole bunch of them look to be the result of this fan's efforts to restore images from the aforementioned film clips (I have an envelope with some of those, myself, but none of them are this sweet). This is a true labor of love. If you're as big a geek for the original show as I am, you're gonna love taking this little field trip.

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

Happy 25th Birthday, Lethal Weapon!

I'm not too old for this shit. Are you?

Spring, 1987: Some friends and I head out from the base to the movie theater, ready to check out what looks to be a pretty fun action movie. Ah, such innocent times. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were riding high, but Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were still waiting in the wings. What did we have? Mad Max as a "cop on the edge" partnering with...Albert from The Color Purple (or Mal from Silverado, if you prefer)?

Okay, then.

Our admittedly minor concerns were baseless of course, as Mel Gibson and Danny Glover bring us the first team-up of Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, and proceed to lay down the smacketh upon all manner of criminal folk. Drug dealers, mercenaries, and other miscreants stand no chance against the "Lethal Weapon" and his partner, who may or may not be too old for this shit.

Yes, these days Mr. Gibson is the focus of a much different kind of attention, but back in 1987? He was The Man. Coming off his third turn as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Gibson gives us an all-new take on the tried and true "loner cop on the ragged edge" trope, with Glover serving as his older, more experienced, and ever-suffering compadre. The action, quips, and typical 80s tough-guy humor all come fast and furious as Gibson's Martin Riggs shoots, punches, kicks, and otherwise pummels his way through a seemingly unending wave of bad guys. Oh, and Eric Clapton is on hand to provide some kick-ass music, too.

Directed by Richard Donner (The Omen, Superman: The Movie, and The Goonies), Lethal Weapon was the hot action ticket in 1987, and of course spawned three sequels over the next eleven years (along with a sorta kinda cameo nod-type thing in 1994's Maverick). I place the Lethal Weapons alongside the Die Hards as my favorites of 80s-spawned action fests.

Happy Birthday, Riggs and Murtaugh!

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

Fighting for Gwen: "Robin & the Stars"

Over the weekend, I posted about a fundraising effort, Fighting for Gwen, and how you can get in on 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 first of the stories is being released today! First up: "Robin & the Stars" by C.E. Murphy, and is set in a universe of her own creation and aimed at younger readers, Tales from Gryphon Beach.

Other stories will be following 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: RyanMacklin.com: Fighting for Gwen.


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

And hey! I also write….

To the extent that I'm "known" at all as a writer, I'm known primarily for my Star Trek work, because let's face it: That's a big hunk of my resume. There certainly are worse ways to be remembered, I suppose. Serial killer. American Idol fan. Whatever.

On the other hand, I like to remind folks once in a while that I do write other things. Some of that stuff doesn't get noticed a lot, because it's written for smaller press publications, which often get overlooked or even dismissed in this crazy publishing world and its emphasis on "best sellers," "blockbusters" and...well, Snooki.

"BAH!" I say.

With e-Books booming and readers taking ever more peeks at what's available for their e-Gadget of choice, perhaps I need to do a better job of bringing attention not so much to my own material, but rather the folks who create and manage these small press houses for which it can be oh-so much fun to write.

For example, Selina Rosen oversees a wonderful little operation called Yard Dog Press. She, her partner Lynn Stranahan, and pretty much everyone who writes for her are funny, irreverent, and have this nasty habit of telling some damned fine stories. Some of those get published, either as novels or novellas, or collections of short stories. One of my favorite things to come out of there is a novella titled The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse. YDP also published a lot of work by the late Ken Rand, including a whole bunch of stories set in one of my very favorite of his creations, the Lucky Nickel Saloon. My connection to the Yard comes because of Selina's own creations, Bubbas of the Apocalypse, for which I've written stories featured in a couple of her anthologies. And not for nothing? Selina is one of the funniest people I've ever met.

Then, there's Flying Pen Press, based out of Denver. I came to know them thanks to a little editing job I did for them called Space Grunts, one of a series of anthologies with an aim toward recreating that old-school pulp SF feel of yesteryear. It was an opportunity for me to stretch a little bit, and get a taste of the editing side of things. I contributed a story to the next anthology in the series, Space Horrors, which gave me a chance to try something different yet again.

Speaking of something different, there's also Cliffhanger Books. I actually stumbled across them by accident, at a time when they were accepting submissions for a superhero-themed anthology they were putting together called Gods of Justice. It was only after I'd finished prepping a story for submission that I realized one of the editors on the book was Kevin Hosey, who I know thanks to the various Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contests. If you like superheroes--and don't need all of them to wear capes and tights--you might consider giving Gods of Justice and gander.

Another awesome effort underway within the independent publishing realm is Sky Warrior Books, headed up my Maggie Bonham. Maggie is one of the savviest people I've encountered when it comes to promotion and leveraging the advantages of small press and e-Publishing platforms. She and her editors also are very selective, which of course begs the question of how I got anything published there. I was thrilled to have my story "Stop-Loss" appear in their anthology Zombiefied, edited by Carol Hightshoe.

Several of my friends and professional colleagues have started or aligned themselves with various independent publishing ventures, and are producing a boatload of interesting and exciting material. Check out Tales of the Scattered Earth, a creation of Aaron Rosenberg and David Niall Wilson over at Crossroad Press, with stories by them as well as Keith R.A. DeCandido. Keith also has his own series there, Super City Police Department. Aaron, along with a few other folks I know, also is involved with another author-driven publishing enterprise, Crazy 8 Press.

Elsewhere, word slinger and zombie lover Elizabeth Donald is the mastermind behind The Literary Underworld, which caters to all of your undead, supernatural, and otherwise paranormal needs. And just to pimp a local effort, Eric Reynolds over at Hadley Rille Books has really put together something special, publishing books, as Eric says, "with an emphasis on space, archaeology, climate and other science-related topics, with a goal to bring a new sense of adventure of the Universe to the reader." He's managed to create a very impressive catalogue of titles. Go. Look.

And those are just a few off the top of my head.

In fact, what this blog post needs is more links. More links to indie press folks, please. If you're reading this and you've published through a small press (yours or someone else's), then share your work through such venues, and point readers to where they can find your work. If I can get enough responses, I'll start a directory page and try to keep it updated.

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

The way-late February writing wrap-up.

Wow. I totally spaced on this. So, you know...hello, March. You came screamin' in a few days ago, and you haven't let off the gas since you got here. Nice to see you, too. Prick.

So, a few things happening here and there. Let's see what's what:

The February rundown...behind the cut!Collapse )

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


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