Announcing the Week 3 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Week 4’s Cover

Announcing the Week 3 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Week 4’s Cover

Greetings all,

My Book Cover of the Month contest is back in the swing of things. Things have picked up a bit more, but we still aren’t getting a ton of votes. I’d be much obliged if you took a few moments to let your voice be heard. The good news is I didn’t have to break a tie. I had ten votes, so we are growing. I still need your help to get this back to the level of support it had a few years ago before I went on hiatus regarding book covers.

So first, let’s announce the winner for week 3.

The cover for City of Time and Magic by Paula Brackston is just beautiful. The font might leave a little to be desired, but the detail in the dress and the perfection of the composition more than make up for it.

But, as one week passes, another begins. So you can vote for your favorite Week 4 2021 April Book Cover of the Month right here!

I’d be grateful if you would be so kind as to watch my channel, where I talk about all seven of the covers and why I think they were so cool. My middle son joined me for this episode, so that was nice of him.

Remember to vote for your favorite through the link I provided above! This means that City of Time and Magic join The Lost Apothecary and Spellmaker in the finals for the 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! You guys can choose who wins the title and then support your favorite in the yearly competition (obviously next year)! I hope you’ll participate.

Thanks for reading and watching,

Matt

Announcing the Week 2 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Week 3’s Cover

Announcing the Week 2 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Week 3’s Cover

Greetings all,

My Book Cover of the Month contest is back in the swing of things. Things have picked up a bit, but we still aren’t getting a ton of votes. I’d be much obliged if you took a few moments to let your voice be heard. Once again, I had to break a tie. I had eight votes, and, sure enough, two books each had two votes. I need your help to get this back to the level of support it had a few years ago before I went on hiatus regarding book covers.

So first, let’s announce the winner for week 2.

The cover for The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner has wonderful color and texture. It really stood out to me from the moment I first saw it.

But, as one week passes, another begins. So you can vote for your favorite Week 3 2021 April Book Cover of the Month right here!

I’d be grateful if you would be so kind as to watch my channel, where I talk about all seven of the covers and why I think they were so cool. My middle son joined me for this episode, so that was nice of him.

Remember to vote for your favorite through the link I provided above! This means that The Lost Apothecary joins Spellmaker in the finals for the 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! You guys can choose who wins the title and then support your favorite in the yearly competition (obviously next year)! I hope you’ll participate.

Thanks for reading and watching,

Matt

Now Presenting the Cover to Betrayed!

Now Presenting the Cover to Betrayed!

Greetings all,

Last weekend I presented this cover on my YouTube channel. You can check out how that went by watching below.

However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to show off this cover here on my blog. So before I get too far into the details, let’s just have a look.

Once again I just want to make sure I thank Carlos Villas for all of his hard work. I think the cover is beautiful! I’m still planning on a May 1 release date. I’m proofreading as quickly as I can, but I desperately want to make this book as polished as I can, so June 1 is a possibility, but I guarantee June 1 is the latest this book will be out.

I hope you all like the cover!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the Week 1 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Week 2’s Cover

Announcing the Week 1 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! Vote for Week 2’s Cover

Greetings all,

My Book Cover of the Month contest is back in the swing of things. It’s not entirely unexpected, but we’re off to a slow start. This weeks’ winner was actually a tie I had to break. I had six votes, and, sure enough, each vote was for a different cover. I’d love to get this back to the level of support it had a few years ago before I went on hiatus regarding book covers.

So first, let’s announce the winner for week 1.

I was just a big fan of this cover overall. It’s probably not the genre I’d like most, but I can’t deny how well Spellmaker by Charlie N. Holmberg sings.

But, as one week passes, another begins. So you can vote for your favorite Week 2 2021 April Book Cover of the Month right here!

I’d be grateful if you would be so kind as to watch my channel, where I talk about all seven of the covers and why I think they were so cool. My middle son joined me for this episode, so that was nice of him.

Remember to vote for your favorite through the link I provided above! This means that Spellmaker is in the finals for the 2021 April Book Cover of the Month! You guys can choose who wins the title and then support your favorite in the yearly competition (obviously next year)! I hope you’ll participate.

Thanks for reading and watching,

Matt

Today’s The Day! Join Me For The Cover Reveal of Betrayed!

Today’s The Day! Join Me For The Cover Reveal of Betrayed!

Greetings all,

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day! Today at 2 p.m., I’ll be on Zoom to answer some questions. As I type this, I’m not sure if Carlos (the artist) will be able to make it or not, but I hope he will be. We’ll talk about the artistic process behind the cover, and then we’ll show it off.

If you want to be there to ask questions or talk to me about my work or Carlos (if he can make it) about his work, you can still shoot me an email with your name, email, and Zoom profile name so I can send you the link.

You can also post any questions you want me to answer in the comments below.

I’m excited to give this method a try, and I hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Vote for the 2019 April (Week 1) Book Cover of the Month!

Vote for the 2019 April (Week 1) Book Cover of the Month!

That’s right folks! The Book Cover of the Month (and year) is back (click here if all you want to do is vote)!

This has actually been going for a bit, and I even mentioned it in a different blog, but that blog had some other information that might have buried the news.

How the new system works!

First, if you want to watch my pick the covers and talk about why I like them, check out my YouTube channel!

Would you like to join me and talk about book covers? I’d love to have you. You just have to email me and give me your name, email, and Zoom user name. Do that, and I’ll email you to tell you when I’m about to be on. I try to be on at the same time, but married life makes that a bit tough. For instance, I expect to be on looking at covers Friday.

Also, Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m., I still plan to do the cover reveal for Betrayed that way, and I hope you’ll join me.

But, that’s not what you came here for is it?

Each week, I pick seven covers. Then I post a Google Form where you can vote for your favorite of those seven. The winners for each week get put in a final form for the title of Book Cover of the Month.

I’m hoping you’ll take a moment to vote for your favorite of Week One’s seven covers. You can vote here! You’ll need to be signed on to Google (to keep those super passionate people from voting 1,000 times).

I’ll announce the winner in a future video (and a small post here).

Thanks for reading (and hopefully voting!)

Matt

Finalizing the Plan for My Zoom Cover Reveal for Caught! (and learning some unfortunate lessons)

Finalizing the Plan for My Zoom Cover Reveal for Caught! (and learning some unfortunate lessons)

Greetings All,

So last week I tried my first online cover conversation. My dream was to have this cool chance to talk with people about book covers. To a degree, it was a success. I found seven cool covers, and you can vote on your favorite here. (You’ll have to sign in on Google to vote.)

But to a much more unfortunate degree, I learned that where there are people trying to do cool things, there are people who are horrid.

I had to switch to Zoom to allow for recording. I shared the link. I was very happy to see people stopping in. That is until one person appeared on camera without clothes. I told him I wouldn’t stand for that sort of thing and immediately removed him. But that doesn’t mean that myself and those who were on with me weren’t subjected to completely inappropriate and unsolicited material. If there’s a way to preview who is allowed into a call, I’m not aware of it.

I reported the incident to the police, who (I am told) are investigating. This means I have to be more careful.

To that end, I am still hosting Zoom meetings where I talk about covers. I will happily share the links to any who send a request via email. That request must include your email and your Zoom profile name so that when I see your request, I know it’s you and not some pervert.

I’m honestly disgusted I need to take such measures, but I can’t risk that sort of thing happening again. I still dream of being able to sit and chat with people about several things. I just have to be sure that the people I allow into those meetings are joining to talk about books and things like books rather than just shock people.

I’ll still share the links with some of my author groups and the like, but I’ll be more careful who I actually allow to join.

That said, the plan is still to do a Q & A followed by the long anticipated cover reveal for Betrayed. The date and time are still set for 2 p.m. (EST) April 10.

I have contact Carlos to see if he’ll be able to make it, but the hope is he will be. But I do hope you will post questions (below) for me to answer and join me on Zoom to celebrate the new cover. I do intend to do weekly talks as well. So again, if you want to be a part of them, shoot me an email providing your name, email and Zoom profile name so I have a record of who’s coming. Remember, I will be posting these reviews on my YouTube channel, so don’t join and don’t turn your camera on if you don’t want to be on YouTube.

I’m actually typing this April 2. I have quite a lot to do leading up to the tenth, but I still hope to do Week 2 of my Book Covers talk (or whatever I’ll end up calling the segment). I hope to add to the talks too, but for now, we’re starting small. I hope you’ll join me whenever you can, and I truly hope you’ll at least stop by for the reveal to Betrayed.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Trying New Things! Come Watch My Online Cover Reveal For Betrayed!

Trying New Things! Come Watch My Online Cover Reveal For Betrayed!

Greetings all,

As is usually the case with me, I’m constantly trying new things. One thing I want to try is to get my YouTube channel off the ground. This means I’m using a lot of different tools, so I had an idea.

I’m revealing the cover for Betrayed via a Google Meet video conference that will be posted on Facebook and Youtube (at the same time if I can pull it off).

I’m hoping you’ll all decide to attend.

What will I be doing?

Well naturally I’ll be doing the reveal, but here are some other thoughts:

Conversation with Carlos, the artist. My first hope is that Carlos will be available to talk about the work and his process. I’ll reveal the cover after the conversation, and anyone interested can talk to us about our work or the cover.

If you haven’t read Caught, Book One of the Oneiros Log, now is a good time to pick up a copy so you’re ready for Betrayed!

I also want to do a Q & A. In order to do that though, I need Q’s to A, if you follow the joke. If you’d like to help an independent author out, please post any question you’d like to ask of me in the comments below or email them to me. You can ask whatever you want, but I reserve the right to choose which questions I answer.

I plan on the event lasting 20 minutes. It will be Saturday, April 10 starting at 2 p.m. I hope you all can make it! Please comment below if you plan to be there.

Right now, this is all in the idea phase. My intention is to do between 2 and 3 videos per week. One will be general “Writing Advice;” one will be general “book talk;” and the last is bringing back a favorite. My plan is to bring back my book cover of the month. This time, I’ll be looking at covers and talking about why I think they work. I’ll create polls for people to vote in and announce the winners. This is going to demand some time, and I’ll have to see how well I manage it. But it’s something I’ve been mulling over, and I want to give it a shot. It should take less time than the original format because I’ll be highlighting seven covers each week and using those to do the polls. So the time it took me to find covers is the only time I’ll need because I’ll be doing it live.

You can get a head start by heading over to my (very puny and unproductive) YouTube channel now and subscribe (don’t forget the notification button). I actually plan to release my first set of videos starting next week. I’m probably biting off more than I can chew, but you’d all help me be motivated to keep at it by viewing, liking, and sharing the videos as they come out.

Once I finalize the general plan for the cover reveal on April 10, I’ll share the Google Meet link for you to join.

I’m hoping I’ll see you all there!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Lenders The Unlicensed Consciousness by Travis Borne

Book Review: Lenders The Unlicensed Consciousness by Travis Borne
Buy Stealing Freedom
This cover image was taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary: Lenders: The Unlicensed Consciousness by Travis Borne is the first book in the Lenders Saga. Machines have taken over the world, and humanity is nearly eradicated. In what may be the last town (cities have been long gone for years) of civilization, people live safely behind the walls. Those walls are guarded by another set of machines, machines powered by Lenders. Amy has always been different. A rare human rescued and brought to the town, she seems to have a natural talent that might reveal the way to save everyone, but her very nature challenges a way of life some don’t want to leave behind. What will Amy do when humanity’s own selfish desires force her to choose between herself and the rest of her home?

Notes up front: I mentioned this on my Goodreads and Amazon reviews. This is, unfortunately, the worst book I’ve ever read. This review will cover my reasons. But there are some things I need to mention. According to the e-book’s buy page on Amazon, the most current edition is the fifth edition. So it’s possible I read a very early draft. Also, just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t. Again, I’ll list my reasons below, but I want to give Mr. Borne fair credit. This title has more reviews and a higher rating than any one of my titles, and that’s a credit to him. So take my thoughts with some salt. I’m one man with one opinion.

Character: If you are a reader or an aspiring author who wonders what a Mary Sue is, look no further than Amy. I can think of at least six times when other character marveled at Amy and what a “natural” she was from flying a space ship to acting as a Lender. Some of the plot points explain it, but the book never challenges Amy. She’s perfectly capable, perfectly sympathetic (nice), and immensely powerful. This makes her boring when she isn’t simply annoying. She never faces a challenge. She never displays a hint of anything but a unrealistic and frustrating Pollyanna view of this world full of murder and violence. It’s frankly unrealistic. Maybe she might choose to always do the right thing, but she never even appears to struggle with the decisions or express any anger or frustration. This book is oddly divided into four parts (by my estimation). Another character, Harold, has a much more interesting arc. I’m of the opinion that his story was far more worth while than Amy’s, but even that story has several issues.

Exposition: What scenes were written to show the reader what was happening rather than telling the reader what happened seemed crammed with unclear metaphor and mental soliloquies that would make even the most avid Attack on Titan fans (man they have a ton of internal angst dialogue scenes) stop watching the show. It seemed that every action required some expository sermon about the nature of humanity and how awful it is. This is made even harder to read because the draft I read was so poorly proofread. I honestly couldn’t tell what parts were just (bad) metaphors and which were flat out written incorrectly. At least seventy percent of the novel is exposition. The paragraphs are multiple pages long (That’s not an exaggeration). For every line of plot, the reader has to suffer through a full page of typo-filled exposition, and that’s not something I’m willing to do.

Worldbuilding: The arrangement of this worldbuilding is probably the cause of why it feels so off. Everything in this book happens a moment before it’s needed. Solutions that (through exposition) were set up well before the plot point is reached are only explained (through) exposition as a sort of explanation of how it was made possible as opposed to woven through the plot in a manner that leads to a satisfying realization. Consider for a moment that there are some Matrix-like connections (though I promise its not so much as a ripoff). Those interludes serve only to fill plot and don’t build character in any way. What could have been a cautionary story about what happens when evil man gains too much power or creates a power that exceeds his own, is instead just an unfortunate series of events that rarely show any hope for humanity. As with everything else in this book, a near impossible-to-believe rescue comes and goes. Then we get a five page speech about how it was made possible. So much telling. So little showing.

This image of Borne and company was taken from his Amazon author page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Dialogue: A large portion of the dialogue here is more given for plot and exposition than actual growth or character study. I will say the voices of the characters were unique. The problem was that these original voices were buried in hundreds (if not thousands) of words where the author gets in the way of the story rather than letting the characters live the story. So this possibly redeeming quality of the story is suffocated by the rest.

Description: This book shows that lots of words to tell what happened don’t come anywhere near the quality of carefully chosen words that show what happened. Possibly well-done description of scenes and settings were covered by poorly chosen metaphors. Unfortunately, the most care was placed into the most disturbing visuals. I completely understand the need for graphic detail, especially in cautionary stories. However, when the only careful description is given to those portions of the book, it feels like violence for the sake of violence. Again, I have plenty of graphic scenes in my own work, they just aren’t the only scenes with description in them. I had to mention that because I want to be clear that I’m well aware of my own content. So I either have to acknowledge that and explain what I feel the difference is or avoid it and be called out as a hypocrite. Some may feel I’m still a hypocrite, and they have a right to their opinions. What I hope to distinguish is a story where the most of the content we see clearly is gore and a story that is complete in its description, some of which is gore.

Overall: There is a viable concept in this book. The author mentioned multiple drafts, and it’s possible the story is far better than the draft I read. Structurally, it’s segmented into two timelines that never really come together in a satisfying way. The earlier timeline is far more interesting because the characters are so very flawed. Amy isn’t interesting at all. Grammatically, it’s very demanding on the eye. I want to give credit to the author. It is very clear how much love and effort he put into this. I can see the energy he put into outlining and drafting. So while I will be honest about how hard this book was to read, I would never want to simply say rude things for the sake of cruelty. I understand that all of this might be hard to read if the author makes his way to this page. I feel just as inclined to talk about why a story didn’t work for me (like this one didn’t) as I do about why stories work for me (like The White Dragon). I actually feel very happy that there are new editions out there because, like any story, this one could really shine with the right editing team and the right amount of work, and I hope that’s happened. I’m not inclined to try and read it again, but I do hope that you don’t let my opinion sway your opinion. Again, there are several reviews where readers loved the story, so take my singular opinion for what it is.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Buy The Journals of Bob Drifter

The Most List: Personality Awards For My Characters

The Most List: Personality Awards For My Characters

Greetings all,

Do you remember your high school yearbook? More specifically, do you remember that list of most or Mr. and Ms? I thought it might be fun to talk about a few of my characters using that concept as a twist. I’ve never really tried something like this, so hopefully, it’s fun!

StealingFreedomMost Clever: Ardelia Sabine, Stealing Freedom/Power of Words. This isn’t even close! I think a number of my characters have a degree of wit, but Ardelia is on another level. She’d be a great villain if her motives were different. She’s always thinking and planning. Where power or just plain grit get some characters through, Ardelia is a throw back to the characters who love it when a good plan comes together.

Most Sympathetic: Elele’Therios, Sojourn in Captivity. This was a close race in a few ways, but Elele takes it for me. I think this will be controversial to those who’ve read all my work, but I stand behind it. I still think the first chapter in her story is the best first chapter I’ve written to date. There’s so much that happens to her that I don’t think anyone could read it and not hope for better things for her.

caught-front-coverMost Dramatic: Sal Veltri, Caught. It was a close contest between him and Elele, but Sal is pretty dramatic if I’m being honest. He’s a man of passion in a lot of ways, and his emotions are always to the max, which is why I gave him this title.

Character I’d Most Like to Hang Out With: Driscoll Navin, The Journals of Bob Drifter. The guy’s hilarious! He’s hundreds of years old, so he’ll have a bunch of stories to tell. I also happen to know he’s generous, so he’d probably pay the tab.

Most Frightening: Grimm, The Journals of Bob Drifter. Ohhh, so very, very close. (NO SPOILERS!)  For obvious reasons, I’m going to go with Grimm. Sure, I have other characters who are pretty darn frightening, but Grimm gets the edge because he’s literally a grim reaper. Again, perhaps some controversy in this pick, especially considering the catch to Grimm’s goal, but I’d still run screaming from him in his cowl before any of my other characters to date.

Most Fun To Write: Caden Carroll, Caught. For so many, many reasons. The first is that Caden only speaks in metaphor and simile. I had so much fun researching the normal way to say what Caden means to find the perfect story or movie to pull from. He’s such a cool character to work with, and he’s absolutely bonkers.

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverMost Like Me: Richard Hertly, The Journals of Bob Drifter. This one will also (oddly) receive a lot of debate for those who know me and have read my books. Here’s the thing, Richard is never satisfied, nor does he ever feel good enough. That’s probably the core of who I am, and why I most identify with him. There are a number of other things I think I have in common with him. All my other characters have some aspect that is beyond something I have without careful thought and consideration. Naturally, they all have a part of me, but Richard has the part I most recognize about myself.

Best Developed: Kaitlyn Olhouser, Caught and Repressed. I’ve loved watching her grow thus far, and I can’t wait for you all to see the woman she’s destined to become. Elele was in consideration for this as well, and this may shift, but, for now, seeing how she’s grown from a scared little girl into even the young lady she is in Repressed is just fun.

Most Lovable: Bob Drifter, The Journals of Bob Drifter. I really think this guy could pretty much befriend anyone. He’s kind, intelligent, polite, and honest. I’ll be honest and say he’s the character I hope most of my readers would call their favorite. I think the reason most people love that book is because most people love Bob. I’d also argue that the majority of those who didn’t care for it think it fell short because, for whatever reason, they didn’t like Bob.

So there you go! For those who’ve read my books, what are your thoughts? Would you give any of these awards to other characters? Who is your favorite character? I’d be interested to hear about it in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Matt