The End of Kings

From the Action Force Mailbag:

What is one fantasy trope that annoys you the most?


I struggled to answer with this. In the end, it’s all about execution. Anything I would suggest could be properly executed somewhere, and it’s all personal.

I dislike the deconstruction of “Evil Superman”, for example. Not the idea of a villain with incredible powers. There are plenty of those to go around. But there is a common idea that the edgiest thing one can do is create a version of Superman that is outwardly a hero but inwardly an egotistical, arrogant, possibly dull-witted, jerk. I rarely find that interesting, though there are exception.

I’m not crazy about zombie stories and, specifically, I’m not a fan of “Who is the real monster?” tropes where the humans turn on each other and cause as much or more damage than the zombies.… Read the rest “The End of Kings”

Why, Constance, Why?

Time to dig in the ol’ Action Force Mailbag, and see what comes up? I don’t get a lot of mail, so maybe if I answer more often that will change. And, hey, what better excuse to sit down and address you, my sem-adoring public?

Today’s Question:

I was wondering why you keep writing more of Constance Verity, among all the other wonderful universes you have created? I would so love another Earl/Duke – Emperor – Nessie – Mack story, and there at least seems to be as much scope for furthering the story in any one of these as you could find for Constance.

Ever since my first book I’ve been asked this question, in one form or another, about nearly every book I’ve written. One of my favorite things about my body of work is that everyone has their own favorite novel, and while some are definitely more popular than others, every book has its fans.… Read the rest “Why, Constance, Why?”

What I Read & Reading Recommendations

Writers often get asked what books they’re reading. It makes sense. It shows our influences, and if you like what we write, maybe you’ll like what we read. No guarantees, but it’s not a bad place to start.

The truth is that I don’t read as much as I used to. Part of this is just a change in culture. There’s a ton of media vying for our attention. I used to watch a heck of a lot more TV as well. I’m more unforgiving of my media than I used to be. Stuff that would’ve kept me engaged ten years ago doesn’t always make the cut.

The other part is that as a writer, I’m busier writing novels, meaning reading is often on the back burner.

And the other part though is that I’ve never had much of a tolerance for long books.… Read the rest “What I Read & Reading Recommendations”

Q&A, Quarantine Edition

You’ve probably already talked about this, but what inspired you to write Gil’s All Fright Diner? Do you live in a rural area? Are you a big Monstervision fan? Your heroes and villains in that are so distinct. Were they at all inspired by people you know?


Yes, I’ve talked about this frequently. Gil’s All Fright Diner is my first novel. (Well, first published novel, but let’s not get bogged down in technicalities since it really isn’t even that if we get down to semantics.) It’s also still one of my most popular. If I could point you to an older entry in the blog, I’d do so, but since rebooting, that’s lost to history. So why not talk about it again?

It’s not always easy to trace the origins and inspirations of a particular novel because it’s rarely as simple as X inspired me to write a book.… Read the rest “Q&A, Quarantine Edition”