Michael R. Underwood – author of “The Shootout Solution” and the soon-to-be-released “The Absconded Ambassador” of the fabulous Genrenauts novella series – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable…
Author Dave Robison
Michael R. Underwood brings a rare combination of perspectives to any literary discourse. His insights into the industry and market of speculative fiction is informed by his experience as North American rep for Angry Robot Books. His knowledge of narrative form and structure is refined by his academic achievements. But his understanding of storytelling comes from a deep commitment and practice of the craft.
Joined by co-host Giles Hash (co-host of the Beyond the Trope podcast) we engage in (far more than) 20 minutes of writerly discourse of Michael, exploring the structure and execution of the novella, the effective utilization of tropes in storytelling, and a unique perspective on framing your writing towards a specific market. Writerly goodness is at your fingertips, friends… just click that “PLAY” button!
Where’s today’s episode? That’s a heartbreaking story, actually.
Yesterday, when I sat down to produce the episode we had recorded on Friday with Michael R. Underwood, John Moreton, and co-host Lauren “Scribe” Harris, I discovered the audio files had been corrupted. Both the 20 Minutes With interview and the Workshop Episode were garbled beyond redemption.
With me heading out for CONfusion this week, there’s no time to re-record or devise anything to fill those release slots. So, for the first time in the history of the RTP, we’re going miss our scheduled episode releases for the next two weeks.
This is heartbreaking on many levels. I hadn’t realize how much amazing insight and discovery happens in these episodes until I’m confronted with the idea of NOT being able to share these conversations with you. It feels like a betrayal of the mandate of the podcast.
Regardless, I apologize for the gap in your podcatchers. I promise this is a temporary hiccup in the flow of awesomeness from the RTP and I’ll be adjusting processes to ensure this bit of unforeseen mayhem never happens again. I deeply appreciate your understanding.
Erin M. Evans – author of “Ashes of the Tyrant” (book FIVE in the Brimstone Angels series) – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend her uncanny mutant brainstorming skills to a post-apocalyptic tale of humanity struggling to survive through the aftermath of a holocaust.
The tale is offered up by Guest Writer Dayn Leonardson, who comers to the table with basic story concept of humanity sheltering underwater after nuclear Armageddon and leaves with… well, something bigger. A LOT bigger. Thanks to the sterling efforts of Erin and co-host Katie Bryski, we have what may be the fastest, most explosive succession of ideas and inspirations in Roundtable history. Literary gold is EVERYWHERE, but don’t take my word for it… just click that “PLAY” button!
Erin M. Evans – author of “Ashes of the Tyrant” (book FIVE in the Brimstone Angels series) – weaves many threads into her literary creations. Between her degree in anthropology, her years working as an editor, and her long-standing love affair with storytelling, her tales are richly woven tapestries of epic adventure drawn from the hearts of her beloved characters.
Joining me in the co-host chair is Katie Bryski – Stone Coast Alumni and author of “Heartstealer” and “Hapax” – we engage Erin in 20* Minutes of writerly discourse, exploring serialized fiction, structure complex character arcs, white boards, and more. You’re writer’s toolbox is about get some additions, friends… just click that “PLAY” button!
Jake Bible – author of “Reign of Four: I”, “Dead Team Alpha”, and so much more – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his brainstorming mojo (literally) to workshopping a tale of zombies as you’ve never. seen them before.
The tale is offered up by Guest Writer (and fellow Onder Librum creator) AJ Hare, a story of college life, fast/slow brilliant zombies, and the challenges of overcoming the world’s expectations of you. Joined once again by co-host and author Suzzane Church, we delve into AJ’s twisted world of slackers, frat boys, and diabolical zombies, in search of sweet sweet brains… I mean, gold! Literary Gold! Which, of course, we find. The creative mayhem begins as soon as you hit that “PLAY” button!
Jake Bible writes to entertain his readers. Judging by his readership and the sheer size and scope of his canon, he’s damned good at it. He’s written more books in the last 5 years, than many authors write in a life time (including “” and “”) and exemplifies the discipline and commitment to his craft that paves the way for a truly unique authorial voice in multiple genres for broad spectrum of readers.
My co-host is fellow Onder Librum creative and spec fic author Suzzane Church, author of “Elements” and a vast canon of short fiction that has appeared in numerous “Years Best” anthologies. Together, Suzzane and settle in for a marvelous 20(ish) minutes of writer discourse with Jake, exploring his notions of pulp fiction, the art of the mashup, his writing process, and more. There’s writerly goodness awaiting right on the other side of that “PLAY” button friends… click it!
David Nickle – author of Knife Fight and Other Struggles, Eutopia, and so much more – returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his considerable storytelling prowess to a steampunk fantasy set in the old west.
The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer, Robert Lewis, who’s tale of demon hunters trying to find sanctuary in the American west proves to be a catalyst for a truly memorable brainstorming feast. How could it be otherwise when the mighty Alasdair Stuart joins us in the co-host chair? Together, David, Alasdair, and myself launch into an inspiring exploration of Rob’s tale, unearthing vast expanses of writerly goodness and a mother lode of Literary Gold. The goodness begins, when you hit that “PLAY” button
Listen to Michael’s Knighting Ceremony (From Michael’s website) I have wanted to be an author ever since I fell in love with books at about the age of 12. The…
David Nickle is a singular and unforgettable voice in speculative fiction. His stories disturb and unsettle readers deeply and in ways that linger long after the last page is turned. His works have appeared in editions of The Year’s Best anthologies and won prestigious awards… speaking with him, you can hear the reverence for the writer’s craft in his words, a reverence that drives him to write uncommon stories and hold himself to the highest standards.
Joining me in the co-host chair is another champion of superlative fiction, Alasdair Stuart, the visionary captain of the Escape Artists podcasts and articulate scribe in any medium that involves storytelling. Together, we engage David in 20(ish) minutes of writerly discourse, exploring how one introduces “atmosphere” into a story, the value of writer’s groups, the merits gained by cultivating a critique’s aesthetic, and more. It’s an inspiring conversation fraught with writerly goodness… just click play and let the awesomeness ensue
Andrew Weston – author of “Hell Bound” from Perseid Press – returns to the big chair to workshop a story of survival amid the frozen wastes of a planet in the cold darkness of space.
The story is served up by Guest Writer Justin Tseng whose tale of a colony ship arriving at its destination only to spark a bitter war between the inhabitants of the planet is a fabulous feast for the brainstorming table. With John Mierau (of Serving Worlds fame… known to some as “El Writer Libre”) joining us on this epic quest of epicness, we launch into a brain maelstrom fraught with thunderbolts, epiphanies, and lots of “Oh YEAHs”. A jump start for your creative mojo awaits behind that “PLAY” button… El Writer Libre says “CLICK IT!”
Marguerite Reed, author of the newly released (and much acclaimed) “Archangel (The Chronicles of Ubastis)”, knew she was going to be a writer at 13. In her journey to discover her authorial voice, she found her own, along with a love for history, science, and a good fight. Her storytelling is fearless, her characters are authentic, and her artistic vision is fueled by her passion for the writer’s craft.
Joined once again by Lauren “Scribe” Harris – author of “Exorcising Aaron Nguyen (The Millroad Academy Exorcists Book 1)” – as my co-host we launch into a whirlwind of writerly discourse, exploring Marguerite’s perspective on the First Person POV, her process of refining a story, discussing women in Science Fiction, global authenticity in storytelling and more. It’s a veritable buffet of writerly goodness… to fill your plate, just click that “PLAY” button
J. Daniel Sawyer – author of “Predestination”, “The Resurrection Junket”, “Making Tracks: A Writer’s Guide to Audiobooks (and How to Produce Them)” returns (once again) to the Big Chair at the…
He was our first Guest Host and now the first person to BE a Guest Host three times. But it’s always worth it… J. Daniel Sawyer – author of “Predestination”, “The Resurrection Junket”, “Making Tracks: A Writer’s Guide to Audiobooks (and How to Produce Them)” and much more – is a rare combination of deep knowledge, savvy business, and writerly mojo.
Joined by Mighty Mike Luoma (of the “Glow in the Dark Radio” podcast), we engage Master Sawyer in 20(ish) minutes of superb writerly discourse, exploring how to prepare and develop a multi-book story arc, the value of using screenplay structure for developing stories, how to assess the storytelling format, and more. The writerly goodness flows as soon as you hit that “PLAY” button.
Gail Carriger – author of the Parasol Protectorate series, The Finishing School series, the Custard Protocol, and more – returns to claim her rightful seat in the Big Chair at the Roundtable (with a nice cup of tea) to lend her not inconsiderable writerly mojo to brainstorm a tale of young adventurers in a most dangerous city.
The table for our brainstorming feast is set by creageous Guest Writer Rick Milone, a story of friends caught in conspiracies in a city that defends the world against its greatest evil. Joined once again by the incomparable (and brilliant) Lauren “Scribe” Harris as co-host, we launch into a truly epic, sometimes (very) silly, but ultimately fabulous search for Literary Gold. We found SO MUCH we can’t carry it all… we need your help, so click that “PLAY” button and get you some.
It has been far too long since Gail Carriger graced the RTP virtual studios with her presence and we are delighted to rectify that situation today. Author of the New York Times Best Selling “Parasol Protectorate” series and equally decorated “Finishing School” series, AND the newly launched “Custard Protocol” series, Gail brings a wealth of experience and insight into the writerly arts to the table. Of course, she’s also an archaeologist and a scientist which adds depths of scholastic rigor and research into the mix. The result is a singular and unforgettable conversation.
Joined by my sister in podcasting, Lauren “Scribe” Harris, as co-host, we engage Gail in 20(ish) minutes of writerly discourse exploring Gail’s process for developing a story idea, the influence of academic experience on the writer’s craft, the defining elements of the steampunk genre, an exciting alternative to the Hero’s Cycle narrative format, and more. There is some prfoundly fabulous writerly goodness awaiting you on the other side of that “PLAY” button friends… click it!
Andrea Phillips – author of “Revision”, “The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart” and some much more, returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend her diverse and refined storytelling mojo in workshopping a tale of death denied and the obsessive allure of creative success.
Our brainstorming feast is provided by creageous Guest Writer Laura Nicole (author, vocal performer, and host of the Gypsy in the Attic podcast), a tale of an obsession so powerful that it defies death… but Death can never be denied. Joined once again by the charming and insightful Dave Thompson as my co-host, we launch into tangled weave of story treads, untying knots (and making a few of our own), until we knit ourselves a tapestry of Literary Gold.
Andrea Phillips – author of the freshly minted novel “Revision” as well as “The Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart” and countless transmedia story events – understands stories differently than most of us. Her work in the storytelling business has been predominantly interactive and collaborative, spanning every media type available. She knows storytelling from every angle, not just the view from the notebook or computer screen. Her unique perspective and extensive experience makes her a truly innovative voice in the writerly arts.
Joined by the remarkable Dave Thompson as co-host, we dive deep into those mysterious waters, exploring the essence of the transmedia experience, unique perspectives on the art of discovery writing, the origins of obscure pirate curses, and more! Avast! There’s writerly goodness dead ahead! Just hoist the sails and click that PLAY button! (and tune in on Sept 29 to catch Andrea’s Workshop Episode).
Django Wexler – author of the Shadow Campaigns saga (“The Thousand Names”, “The Shadow Throne”, “The Price of Valor”), the Forbidden Library tales (“The Forbidden Library”, “The Mad Apprentice”), and more – wrote 6 full novels before he finally published one. His commitment to his craft is matched by his love of history and storytelling which infuses his tales a rich tapestry of authentic and engaging storytelling.
Joined by former Guest Writer, David Sobkowiak, we engage Django in some marvelous writerly discourse, exploring the writing of middle-grade fiction, crafting narratives for large-scale battles, the evolution of minor characters into major POV entities, and more. Kick back, pour yourself your favorite libation, and open the loading dock for your brain, ’cause we have some writerly goodness to pour into it.
If you think talking with Ed Greenwood – New York Times best-selling author of almost 200 books and thousands upon thousands of articles, short stories, game modules, campaign settings and more – is a literary thrill for the senses, wait until you brainstorm with him. The “Archmage” returns to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his potent storytelling mojo to a tale of a race’s cultural heritage betrayed and rewritten.
The tale is offered up by creageous Guest Writer Justin Cary, and is a story of class struggles and cultural purity among the Elvish race and the lengths some will go to preserve their racial legacy. It’s an incredible story feast, make even more delectable by having Alasdair Stuart return as my co-host. With the table set, we tuck in, exploring the possibility of ALL the characters being antagonists, examining the best way to present magic in a story, presenting with character crisis moments, and SO much more. Yeah, it’s a little longer, but you won’t notice. Trust me… click that “PLAY” button and rock the brainstorm
Ed Greenwood – New York Times best-selling author of almost 200 books and thousands upon thousands of articles, short stories, game modules, campaign settings and more – has inspired creative expression and a love of “story” in the hearts of millions of gamers and readers. His novels alone have sold more than 20 million copies in over 30 languages; there are an estimated 50 million-plus copies of his creations out there somewhere.
It is a rare opportunity to sit down with one of your heroes. To do so with the astonishing Alasdair Stuart as my co-host makes this an unparalleled delight. The three of us indulge in (far more than) 20 minutes of writerly discourse with the “Archmage”, exploring the qualities of satisfying fiction, how to keep track of a massive storyverse, the future of storytelling, and more. Settle in and buckle up, dear friends… THIS is a legendary conversation.
For Brian Kirk, storytelling is more than a career. It’s a way of life and a way of living. Author of the newly released (and deeply disturbing) “We Are Monsters”, Brian pursues his craft with the rigor and discipline of someone who truly loves what they do.
Joined by co-host horror writer CW LaSart (who has been on the RTP a few times before), we indulge in a fabulous 20(ish) minutes of writerly discourse with Brian, discussing why he writes, finding the “writer’s zone”, how to infuse terror into any scene, the distinction between “hero” and “protagonist”, and more. The writerly goodness flows like wine… grab a cup, hit the “PLAY” button and get some for yourself
Zig Zag Claybourne – author of “The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan”, “Historical Inaccuracies”, and so much more – electric boogaloos his way back to the Big Chair at the Roundtable to lend his unique and insightful writerly mojo to brainstorming a steampunk tale of divided societies, betrayal, and revolution.
The story is offered up by Guest Writer Gabriel Snell, a tale of kindred spirits separated by a cultural divide, enslaved populations, and airship pirates. With Brion Humphrey returning once more to the co-host’s chair, we dive in to Gabriel’s story, gender flipping protagonists, delving into true character motivations, and generally doing that voodoo that we do so well. Literary Gold? Check!
Besides being funkalicious, Zig Zag Claybourne is a storyteller whose vision comes from deep within the creative forge. He brings to life tales you’ve never heard before about people you know, characters you recognize in situations you could never imagine. I can’t think of a better definition for “speculative fiction” and Zig is building a whole new wing on that venerable estate.
As fabulous as any conversation with such a gentleman would be, this particular dialog is made even more fabulous by the return of Brion Humphrey, the man who started the RTP with me oh-so-many years ago. With these two visionaries at the Table we launch into a superb 20(ish) minutes of writerly discourse, exploring the creation of conflict, the nuances and practicalities of diversity, authentic character development and more. Buckle up, kids… this is an “E” ticket ride!
I have a love/hate relationship with contests. Welcome to my conflicted, over-thought life. On the one hand, it’s a proving ground, an opportunity to gauge your particular brand of mojo against others who ply…
I love this. I really do. The opportunity to showcase the talent and vision of creative people is a blast, but it’s more than that. It’s an affirmation that storytelling isn’t…
The challenge was made: come up with a better “Hero vs. Hero” superhero movie. The gauntlet was thrown… and NINE creageous souls strode boldly forward to answer the call. ALL…
Award-winning author CW LaSart is serious about her storytelling. Her passion for the writerly arts is evident in the clarity and insight with which she speaks about her craft. LaSart’s “Ad Nauseam” and her contributions to to over a dozen publications and anthologies (including “Grimm Mistresses” from Ragnarok Publications) are just the first installments in her canon of tales that push the boundaries of horror.
Joined by the mighty Mike Luoma, we indulge in 20(esque) Minutes of seriously writerly exploration, uncovering some startling truths about the nature of short fiction, the dynamics of discovery writing, the key to building suspense, how much is too much in horror, and more. Great googly-moogly, gang… have your pencils poised and your seat belts strapped, then click that “PLAY” button and hold on!
Andrew Weston (author of many tales of thrilling adventure, like “The IX” from Perseid Press – returns to the BIG Chair at the RTP to lend his storytelling mojo to to a tale of evil queens, twisted cobblers, and ultimate balance of power.
The tale is offered up by Guest Writer Clara Robertson, a storytelling trickster in her own right. Her story of the Wicked Witch returning to her land after her defeat from Prince Charming and the mayhem that ensues serves as a marvelous feast for workshop delights. Joined by fabulous co-host Mike Luoma, we dive into brainstorming deep waters, exploring the nature of interweaving characters, the value of foreshadowing, and so much more. Literary Gold awaits you… just click that “PLAY” button!