On Writing: The Danger of Metawriting, OR, How I Wrote A Book That Did Exactly What I Wanted And Screwed It Up Anyway

The Arenaverse novels – Grand Central Arena, Spheres of Influence, and now Challenges of the Deeps – are inarguably my most successful solo novels. Grand Central Arena itself has continued to bring in significant amounts of money for me even now, seven years after release. I'm also very proud of the Arenaverse itself; developing it was, and continues to be, a huge challenge. One of the Arenaverse's key aspects from a writer's and reader's point of view, of course, is that it is not merely a story but a salute to, and occasional commentary [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 24

It's Ariane's turn to find out what's waiting for her... -----   Chapter 24.      Ariane stumbled to a halt, mouth dropping open, eyes wider than they had been since she was a child. The old man – who didn't look so old now, to a girl ten years older – smiled broadly at her and held his arms wide. "Hey there, racer girl!" I thought I was prepared. Boy, was I wrong, a part of her thought. That part, Captain Ariane Austin, Leader, knew perfectly well that this was – had to be – just an unexpected guise of Orphan's mysterious [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 20

Ariane and company were now in the Deeps... -----   Chapter 20.      "Orphan, we're being followed." The tall alien was beside her almost instantly. "Are you certain, Ariane Austin?" "Pretty sure. See these returns? And using the rear telescopes I thought I saw a couple glints where that cloudbank thinned out." Orphan straightened, stroking his headcrest in the way he often did when thinking. "This is an excellent place for an ambush. We are actually heading for another of the Sky Gates that – as far as I am aware – only I know [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 16

Orphan had an explanation to give... -----   Chapter 16.      "To use a human expression that's probably going to be interesting in translation, Orphan, we're all ears," Ariane said. Orphan tilted his head. "That... was an interesting expression indeed. But I get the gist of the meaning." He stood, leaning back against a railing in front of the actual viewport, silhouetted against the planet-sized whirlpool of cloud and storm ahead. "It begins many, many years ago, when I signed on for an expedition to the Deeps headed by a [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 11

Sun Wu Kung had won the race... -----   Chapter 11.      Even as Wu crossed the finish line, he was suddenly there in front of Ariane, skidding to a halt not three meters from the table at which DuQuesne and his opponent were seated, surrounded by rank upon rank of spectators, silent, staring, frozen in disbelief and shock. Even though she had been warned, Ariane was herself still in a state of utter awe. DuQuesne had said Wu was better than him. But this… And then the silence broke and a roar of applause, of furious curses and [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 5

Sharp-eyed readers will notice there's one edit that needs to be done in this chapter; missed it when I changed something during the writing process. So Simon had something to tell Ariane... ------   Chapter 5.      "All, right, Simon; you insisted we have breakfast in private today," Ariane said; per Simon's request, she'd even had Wu Kung stay outside the meeting room. "What is so important?" Simon was uncharacteristically sober; his usual smile was a shadow of its normal self. "I would have brought this up yesterday, but by the [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 1

Today we begin snippeting the third Arenaverse novel, Challenges of the Deeps, which will be released March 2nd, 2017. The eARC will be released in early December, by which point about one-half of the book will have been snippeted. Re-Enter the ARENA! -------     Chapter 1.      Ariane Austin felt the peculiar jolt that the Sandrisson jump always gave her, and found a smile on her face. "We're back," she said. "Out of the political frying pan and into the Arena's fire," DuQuesne said, chuckling. "Feels good, doesn't [ Continue reading... ]

Women and the Adventurer’s Census (Kicking Ass and Taking Names)

       I've on occasion been asked "what made you decide to have a woman as your main action character?", or something to that effect. Honestly, I don't really work that way. I don't sit down and say "Hey, I should write a story with a character that is X". I think of some neat story idea, and the characters I create are the ones that fit the story.        That said, I suppose the fact is that it would never have occurred to me NOT to have at least some of my stories with truly kickass heroines. Looking over my books published thus [ Continue reading... ]

Spheres of Influence: Chapter 28

  Sometimes even the Leader of Humanity just wants to get Out and About by herself...   -----     Chapter 28.      "So, Captain Austin, how do you find the Arena, now that you have returned and had some time to accustom yourself?"        Ariane felt that she did quite well not to visibly jump at the deep, sonorous voice that she associated with the most severe beating she had ever taken. True, she'd emerged victorious, but despite that great and dramatic victory, what she remembered most about her battle with [ Continue reading... ]

Spheres of Influence: Chapter 26

  Finally, Orphan gets to show off one of his favorite toys...     -----   Chapter 26.      "And finally," Orphan said, with a dramatic bow and sweeping gesture, "I shall complete the introduction so rudely interrupted these many months ago. My friends and allies, the flagship of the Liberated, the Zounin-Ginjou."        Compared to the many kilometers-long dock extending from Nexus Arena, the Zounin-Ginjou might have seemed small, but at this range Ariane realized that the ship was huge – and beautiful. The [ Continue reading... ]