Stories I Never Told

Stories I Never Told: Archvillain

archvillain heads
So, as I indicated recently, the third Archvillain book, Yesterday Again, was never intended to be the finale of that series. I had always meant for the series to go on for quite a while, possibly as many as ten books.

Sadly, reality intruded on my fantasy. The books just didn’t sell well enough to justify further volumes, and the publisher pulled the plug (as is its right).

But I get a lot of people asking me if there will ever be more Archvillain books, and since the answer is “No,” I figure there’s no harm in relating what might have been, had sales warranted. Settle in — this is a long one… [Read more…]

How it Happened: Yesterday Again

Archvillain #3: Yesterday AgainThe title came first.

I’ve always loved time travel stories. I mean, I’m obsessed with them. You give me a good time travel story and I’m a happy guy. Give me a mediocre one, and I’ll deal with it. Give me a bad one and I’ll figure, Well, at least it was a time travel story.

The title “Yesterday Again” wouldn’t leave my mind. It was perfect for a time travel yarn, right?

In the very first Archvillain, I made a reference to Kyle trying to build a time machine. I knew that one day — in some book — he would succeed and travel in time. Now, I had originally signed on to write three books and two were done. I was hopeful that the publisher would want more than three, but no one had said anything yet. I figured I’d better do the time travel story now, just in case.

When deciding where/when in the past Kyle would go, I settled on the time of my own childhood — the 1980s.1 That worked out such that Kyle’s parents would be his age, which meant I could have some fun with a generational storyline. Throw in the idea of a 21st century kid trying to navigate the pre-internet age, and I was happy to get started.

The first draft of the book flowed. Not as easily as The Mad Mask, but pretty easily.

Then, my editor gave me the bad news: The publisher didn’t want any more Archvillain books. This would be the last one.

Anticipating further adventures, I had actually left Yesterday Again very open-ended. But that just wouldn’t be fair to the readers. So I dug back in, added in some more material, and rounded out the story so that Yesterday Again could act as a finale.

If you’re interested in what could have been, stay tuned for an upcoming installment of “Stories I Never Told,” in which I’ll peel back the curtain a bit on how I had intended to continue the Archvillain saga!

  1. And believe me, it makes me feel unfathomably old when I realize that to my readers, the 1980s are as ancient as the 1880s.

How it Happened: The Mad Mask

The second book in the ARCHVILLAIN series: The Mad Mask!Given that it’s part two in a series, you’d think that there’s not much to tell about how The Mad Mask came to be…and you’d be right! This is gonna be a short one.

The book had to happen, of course, because I was contracted for a total of three Archvillain books. But the story didn’t have to be the one I turned in. I decided on introducing the Mad Mask because of something my brother said to me.

When I was first debating whether or not to write the series at all, my brother pointed out — as I mentioned last time — that I could have a lot of fun parodying the comic books I loved so much. And he was right! That’s why, for example, most of the teachers at Kyle’s school are named after various super-hero secret identities.

“You could totally have fun making of Dr. Doom,” he pointed out, and in that instant, the Mad Mask was born.

Read the Mad Mask’s dialogue. Change some proper nouns and it’s pretty much Stan Lee Dr. Doom dialogue. My only innovation was shoving the egomaniacal blathering of a genius scientist-cum-European despot into the mouth of a 14-year-old brat.

I was channeling Stan the Man something fierce and loving every minute of it. (It’s no accident that the Mad Mask’s creation — Ultitron — is a portmanteau of two Marvel robotic villains, Ultron and Ultimo.)

Anyway, once the villain was settled, I realized that I could have a lot of fun playing off the idea that Kyle was now in the middle of a horrible spectrum, with Mighty Mike — dumb do-gooder — on one end and the Mad Mask — wily lunatic — on the other.

And of course no matter what he did, Kyle would still end up hated and feared by the population in general. Poor kid can’t catch a break.

I wrote this one fast. Not because I had to — it just flowed out of me. And when it was done, it needed very little work, just some light tweaking. Man, I wish they were all like that!

(Oh, trivia note: With this book, a new editor came on-board the series about halfway through. Her only request: That I please stop naming characters with the initials M. M. — she was getting confused by her own notes! I agreed that the joke had gone on long enough.)




Giving Away the Complete ARCHVILLAIN!

UPDATE: The contest is over and the winners have been randomly selected and contacted! Thanks for the terrific answers, folks!

Just like it says in the headline: Now that the series has ended, I am giving five lucky readers each a complete set of the trilogy, signed, in hardcover. [Read more…]

Get an ARC of the Final Archvillain Book! – UPDATED

Update: That was quick! All of the ARCs are promised, now. Thanks, everyone!


The Archvillain series is coming to an end in January with the final book, Yesterday Again. But you can read the ending “tomorrow right now” just by using the handy-dandy contact form!

While supplies last, I am giving away signed ARCs1 of the book to the people who head to the contact form and ask for them! It’s as simple as that. I was going to do a contest, but I’m still sitting around with a broken foot and I thought, “Hey, let’s just cut to the chase. Give the people the books!”

So, if you’d like a signed ARC of Yesterday Again, just go to the contact form and shoot me the following info:

  • Your name
  • Your e-mail address
  • Your snail mail address
  • Who you would like the book signed to (if it’s not you!)

It’s as easy as that!

If you don’t end up with one of these, don’t worry — I’ll be doing some more giveaways in a week or so!

  1. ARC = Advanced Reader Copy