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... ]

Just For Fun: My Favorite Moments, Part 2

Continuing the discussion of the things I've liked most in my works...   Castaway Planet: Eric and I ended Portal fairly certain that this was the last of the series, but not necessarily the universe. The main cast of Boundary had gotten pretty old to be gallivanting around the Solar System. However, when we thought about doing a space-based version of Swiss Family Robinson or Mysterious Island, the Boundaryverse suggested itself strongly as a candidate. So fast forward a century or two, let the humans learn the interstellar [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: The Annotated Evil Overlord Part 5

  Herewith is the final part of the dissection of the Evil Overlord list. Back to more "regular" columns later this week!   For convenience, I'm including our panel listing in each post. Our Expert Panel We have assembled for this special conference several fine villains who have wreaked havoc throughout the known multiverse. Let's meet them: Virigar. King of the Great Werewolves and progenitor of the species, Virigar is the most-feared monster on all of Zarathan. A soul-eating, nearly indestructible being, Virigar's age is [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: The Annotated Evil Overlord, Part 4

  Almost to the end. Part Five is the final section!   For convenience, I'm including our panel listing in each post. Our Expert Panel We have assembled for this special conference several fine villains who have wreaked havoc throughout the known multiverse. Let's meet them: Virigar. King of the Great Werewolves and progenitor of the species, Virigar is the most-feared monster on all of Zarathan. A soul-eating, nearly indestructible being, Virigar's age is unknown, his full powers a mystery. He has killed gods and demons and [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: The Annotated Evil Overlord, part 3

  For convenience, I'm including our panel listing in each post. Our Expert Panel We have assembled for this special conference several fine villains who have wreaked havoc throughout the known multiverse. Let's meet them: Virigar. King of the Great Werewolves and progenitor of the species, Virigar is the most-feared monster on all of Zarathan. A soul-eating, nearly indestructible being, Virigar's age is unknown, his full powers a mystery. He has killed gods and demons and men, shrugged off or consumed spells and energy weapons, and [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: The Annotated Evil Overlord, Part 2

For convenience, I'm including our panel listing in each post. Our Expert Panel We have assembled for this special conference several fine villains who have wreaked havoc throughout the known multiverse. Let's meet them: Virigar. King of the Great Werewolves and progenitor of the species, Virigar is the most-feared monster on all of Zarathan. A soul-eating, nearly indestructible being, Virigar's age is unknown, his full powers a mystery. He has killed gods and demons and men, shrugged off or consumed spells and energy weapons, and survived [ Continue reading... ]

Just for Fun: The Annotated Evil Overlord, Part 1

  Back in the days when Usenet was the largest discussion forum on the Net, there was a discussion of all the things that an EFFECTIVE Evil Overlord had to do -- and NOT do -- that were often overlooked, or directly worked AGAINST, in many works of fiction. It became a thread of discussion titled "If I Am Ever the Evil Overlord...", and various people (including myself) contributed to it as it grew. Eventually it (and its successors/companion pieces such as If I Am Ever the Hero, If I Am Ever the Sidekick, etc.) was gathered together and [ Continue reading... ]

Spheres of Influence: Chapter 29

  And we reach the end of the snippets that I'm doing for this book! Wu Kung's doing his bodyguard thing with Ariane out and about...   -----     Chapter 29.      A smell of caution and deviousness preceded the voice, so Wu was already turning in that direction when Oscar Naraj, dressed in one of his more conservative white suits, spoke. "Good morning, Captain Austin. You seem to be going out early."        "Ambassador." Ariane nodded to him. She smells a lot less cautious around him these days. I really have [ 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 27

  Well, they weren't on board Zounin-Ginjou just as travellers; they had somewhere to *go*...     -----   Chapter 27.      Impressive, DuQuesne thought. Not quite up to the standards Seaton and I set, but then, this is real.        As he'd guessed, Zounin-Ginjou was a luxuriously-appointed battleship, a warship with an admittedly thick coat of ocean-liner paint. The fact that Orphan was the lone member of the Liberated had obviously driven him to push the limits of automation in the Arena – and had drastically [ Continue reading... ]