Simultaneous Display: When a master plays a number of opponents at the same time. Usually arranged as a ring of tables, with the master moving round inside, and the opponents outside. Players move when the master arrives at their board, master replies and moves on.

The use of chess terms as part of the naming convention in the MA series was both fun and challenging. 

I explain how I came up with Metatron’s Army in Lessons From The Edge: An Author’s Guide to Metatron’s Army.

I always waited until a book was finished before combing through a list of chess terms and selecting what I felt best fit a particular chapter of Cirhce’s life.  

Finding a term for the book trailers was even more difficult making it more rewarding when I succeeded!

The plot of Simultaneous Display perfectly matches the term in that Cirhce is the master being challenged by several opponents on multiple boards, including characters just making an appearance in the series.

The boards are multiple planets in multiple universes.  

Readers are immediately drawn into the emotions and perceptions of these other characters as they take her measure.  

“I do not disagree that you benefitted from the therapeutic touch.  I disagree with your choice of therapist.”

“You told me to establish diplomatic relations, Alexander.  You never told me how to do it.” 

In keeping Cirhce as the master moving between them, readers get a view of these worlds from her perspective as well as that of characters in those worlds who are challenging her.

In this context challenging: is providing information and experiences that will help her achieve goals that are still coming to light.

Just as pieces on a chess board are contrasted through color in this chapter I draw attention to significant differences between Cirhce and the characters challenging her.  Especially, the Light Beings.  Their stoic nature is a contrast to her passion.  Highlighting this allows readers to get an idea how things got to this point.

The Light Beings have been without emotion so long they’ve lost critical thinking skills.  

While I draw attention to specific emotions such as love, subtle emotions have as much if not more of an impact on the situation.  

Curiosity for instance.

In no longer feeling curiosity, Light Beings have become immune to the wonder and mystery of the universe.  Mediocrity has become a way of life, one that destroys the spirit.

As with the other books in the series there is a focus on Cirhce’s transition through change.   I accomplish  this by showing that it isn’t only she who changes.  Other characters and environments she is familiar with are also changing.

“Seeing Shane – it brought home just how far from normal my life has skewed.  In a way, it was like looking in a mirror and not recognizing myself.”

“That I don’t understand.”

“We come to know ourselves, in part, by the way others view us.  Watching Shane’s eyes, seeing him search my face for signs that the Christine he once knew was still there – it was painful because on some level I was hoping she was.”

Though she is growing and reaping the benefits of overcoming adversity, she still relies on outside validation of her identity.

“Then I was kidnapped by a lunatic, tortured, shown multiple universes, and my life continued going sideways from there.  I guess I was hoping some part of me survived all of that.”

“It would be unrealistic to expect not to change, Princess.  Even had you remained on Earth, you would have had experiences that brought about change.”

The dynamics of the characters go through serious changes in this book.  Though they build on previous experiences each begins an evolution that will ultimately isolate them even as it solidifies the need to work together.

There are several major turning points in Simultaneous Display, the most significant being Cirhce’s transition to an entirely new level of  leadership.  She is stepping into her role on her terms – the ultimate measure of success in transition.

“I need to make two more stops before returning to Eol.  Will you go with me?”  She smirked.  “I suggest you cooperate with me.  For all I know, one of those tools I inherited will enable me to open doorways myself.  I’d much rather work with you than find a way around you.”  Her eyes burned fierce.  She could feel it just as she could feel it when they were no longer blue.  “I will go around you if I think it’s the right thing to do and I will cut you out.”  Especially, if it would keep them safe.  “But I would much rather have you on my side.”

And yet she continues to rely on outside validation.

“I don’t think I can.”

“This from the woman who faced down the Council?  I think you have more discipline than you credit yourself.”

Obviously, there’s more work to do.


“Hello, Councilors,” she began, her voice metallic.  “I think it’s about time we got a few things straight, don’t you?”

As desperately as she wanted to savor the moment, savor the looks of astonishment she’d elicited from the stoic brats, she forged ahead.  “So, how are we going to do this, killing the Iconoclast?  I’m the Commander and there’s a lot of work to do but first, we should probably iron out a few important details.  Such as how you want me to interact with the Light Beings.”  And how they expected her to interact with them.

“What -?”

She held up a hand to stop Council Vetria’s question and turned her head to the right, addressed the Councilor sitting next to Balen.  “I wouldn’t, Councilor Sartus.  I don’t think you’ll like the consequences.”  She looked back at Councilor Vetria.  “He was going to try to incapacitate me.  I do believe he thinks to put me in my place.”  She laughed, the metallic quality making it sound like something from a horror film.  “I am in my place, though, aren’t I?”

She swept the Council with a quicksilver gaze.  “You can’t always predict Mother Nature.  You could certainly never have predicted what that Light Being DNA would do.  Shall we try and find out?  Shall I unleash what I really am?”

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