Something Always Remains is Now Available for Preorder!

Something Always Remains is Now Available for Preorder!

Greetings all,

SomethingAlwaysRemainsCoverI’m so very happy to announce that the final part of The Journals of Bob Drifter is now available for preorder on Amazon!  You can preorder Something Always Remains here.

The book will be 99 cents from now until two weeks after it goes live.  It goes live Aug. 1, so the sale will end Aug. 14.  After that, it’ll go to its regular price of $2.99.

The deals don’t end there.  From July 18-Aug. 1, An Unusual Occupation will be on sale for 99 cents as well.  That way you can get two-thirds of the story for $2.

Bob’s Greatest Mistake will be free, that’s right free (said in a cheesy commercial announcer voice) from July 25-29.  I’ll make a post on the 25th regarding that, but I’ll be asking for your help again.  You all did an amazing job helping get Occupation so many downloads, and I hope this next free campaign is even more successful.  I’m thinking about more “stupid human tricks” I could do. I’m open to suggestions for ways I can show my appreciation. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below.

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverEach of these benchmarks will be met with a blog post of its own, but I wanted to be sure I let you all know the plan for this moving forward.

Please remember, these three stories, An Unusual Occupation, Bob’s Greatest Mistake, and Something Always Remains, are all parts of a complete story that’s out and available (see the first link back at the top). Breaking this into parts was done to allow readers a way to try a portion of the book for a smaller financial commitment. I just wanted Bob’s story to be as accessible as possible, and this felt like the best way to do it. (Also, I love Collin Fogel’s art, so I could resist getting more of it.)

I hope you’ll all give my work a try. If you already have, please be kind enough to offer a rating and review on Amazon and Goodreads. Man! Those things are important and helpful to indie authors like me.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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A Few Updates On What I’m Up To

A Few Updates On What I’m Up To

Greetings all,

Turns out, I’m pretty darn busy!  So I wanted to let you all know where I’m at with some projects.

Power of Words Cover_FRONTFirst: The Beta Draft of Stealing Freedom (previously Worth of Words) is done! I’d like to take a quick moment to thank the beta readers who helped me. Feedback is incredibly important, and I want to make sure I offer my gratitude when someone takes the time to help me look at my work more critically.  So please help me in thanking Carlos, Deborah, Kevin, and Julie. They all provided great insight.  I always look for overlap in stories.  I think some authors overreact to beta readers sometimes, so I try hard to put equal weight. I might shit something because of one reader comment if I feel like I was already worried about it.  I left last names out for privacy reasons, but I hope they see this, and I hope they know how appreciative I am. I hope they love the final product as much as I do.

Second: The Power of Words anthology is just about ready for final edits.  We’re wrapping up a few loose ends, but I expect to be sending Sara the whole project pretty soon (maybe a week).

SomethingAlwaysRemains
Art by Collin Fogel

Third: The final part of The Journals of Bob Drifter is scheduled to come out Aug. 1. Something Always Remains is a very near-and-dear bit of writing to me. I felt this conclusion really put a nice touch on a story I’m still proud of. Bob taught me a lot about the craft and the business, and I’ll always be glad it was my first published book. When this part drops, it’ll make it possible for readers to try a part or the whole story if they so choose. I’ll make sure to get The Power of Words to Sara first, but this is my next priority.  I just need to get it formatted for Kindle and get the cover finished (title and author text).

I’ll have more deals with that too. Just stay tuned for those deals as I get closer to publishing.

Fourth: I’m selecting a narrator for Caught.  I received 12 auditions.  Five of those are on the short list, and I’m pulling my hair out trying to pick the right one as I type this. I don’t really think I can miss with any of them.  I’ll happily make an announcement once the contract is set up.

Fifth: I have the edits for Repressed done, and I have a verbal agreement with a narrator for that as well.  I’ll make an announcement about that the same time I finish the final draft of that story.

Finally: Shore Leave is next week.  I’m honestly a bit bummed I’m selling books at the event.  I mean, William Shatner, Ming-Na Wen, Shawn Ashmore, and Allison Scagliotti will all be there, and they’re awesome people!  I’ll see if my girlfriend let’s me scamper off and get some autographs. That said, I probably should sell some books (I’d be much obliged if any reading this give one a try), and I have three panels I’m on as well. Caught and An Unusual Occupation will each be 99 cents during that weekend (July 6-8). I’m looking forward to seeing some of the readers I’d met before. I hope to meet some new ones. If you’re in the Hunt Valley, Maryland, area I’d love to see you there.

I’m super excited about this month. A lot of good things are happening, and I just wanted to share all of this news with you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A New 4-Star Review for An Unusual Occupation!

A New 4-Star Review for An Unusual Occupation!

Greetings all,

AnUnusualOccupationCoverI love it when I have the chance to share a review with you.  This new review for An Unusual Occupation, book one of The Journals of Bob Drifter, was a kind, four-star review. It gave me some good feedback and gave me some great positive encouragement.  I love quick, pros-and-cons reviews like this.

I want to make sure I take the time to thank the reviewer. Reviews are so critical in this line of work and any time someone gives me a rating, review, or both, it gets me a bit more visibility, and it also helps me improve.  Thank you!

Thanks for reading,

V/R
Matt

Book Review: Jon Archer: A Comedy by J.B. Taylor

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Cover image of Jon Archer was taken from it’s Amazon buy page.

Spoiler Free Summary:  In Jon Archer: A Comedy by J.B. Taylor, Jon is a man trying to get home to sleep when he ends up on a most unusual train (among other things). He runs into a talking goat, a British-speaking spider, and a space man. In this chuckle-worthy, ridiculous story, the eclectic cast of characters works together so they can each find their way home.

Character: This isn’t the sort of story you read for deep character arc. Jon isn’t an emotional guy. He’s just a poor bastard who gets thrown in a blender of circumstance. His reactions to the ridiculousness of the situation is one of the main things I found funny.

Exposition: Surprisingly for a story this short (I think it was about an hour), there is some exposition front-loaded into the story. The narrator (I listen to this on audible) uses the opportunity to let his tone of voice deliver the humor. He doesn’t break the fourth wall, but he does make sure the reader knows right up front that this story is pure fun.  Some of the timing is a bit off (the timing of the jokes), but after the first scene, things take off in a hurry.

Worldbuilding: I have to admit, this didn’t make any sense. I don’t think it was supposed to though. Readers of this story (or listeners) need to just sit down, and be ready to enjoy some nonsensical fun.

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Image of Mr. Taylor taken from his Amazon author page.

Dialogue: This is my favorite part of the story.  That talking goat is freaking hilarious! I sort of wish I could have watched this for dinner theater just for this part. I don’t think it’s near the level of Abbott and Costello, but this story has that sort of vibe.

Description:  When I initially thought of this, I didn’t really give it much thought, but then I considered how vivid this story is in my mind even after nearly two months. I can describe several scenes. This, to me, indicates perfect description. I wouldn’t expect any readers to see it right away, but any story in which I can mentally picture scenes has good description in my book.

Overall:  This is a short read with several laugh-out-loud moments. It’s complete nonsense, but in a good way. It feels like a tangent portion of a Family Guy episode. If you have a quick drive planned, and you like some silly laughs, try out this story.

Thanks for reading

Matt

A 5-Star Review for An Unusual Occupation!

A 5-Star Review for An Unusual Occupation!

AnUnusualOccupationCoverGreetings all,

 

Just sharing a quick 5-Star review for An Unusual Occupation.  It was short, but just look at what it says!  That makes a writer feel great!  God bless you, V.O. for this great review.

 

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Balticon Sale! 2 Books 99 Cents Each

Bob_Caught_99_SaleGreetings all,

First, sorry for no review on Wednesday.  I was handling something. I’ll let you know more about that on Sunday.  I should be on track for a Saturday post though.

That said, on to the news! In celebration of Balticon, An Unusual Occupation and Caught are each #99cents May 25-28! Don’t miss this chance to get two great books for a total of $2.

Hope to see you all at the convention if you’re in the Baltimore area!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A Thin Line Between Loyalty and Boring. The Value of Conflict Between Supporting Characters

A Thin Line Between Loyalty and Boring. The Value of Conflict Between Supporting Characters
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Image from comicbook.com

I’m making my way through my TBR pile, and I noticed something in a book that drew my attention. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s probably not a good thing. I’ll keep things vague because there’s enough bad pub out there regarding books, and I’m not in any way trying to bash anyone. However, we can look at what some people do and make notes.

We have a  main character who has a sidekick. This sidekick is loyal and steadfast. My argument is this character might have reached the point to where that steadfastness is not only hard to believe, but has become boring because no matter what the main character puts that sidekick through, the character simply keeps being this amazingly helpful, understanding person.

While I’ve recently come to believe that conflict in stories is a must, and I think authors should find as many opportunities for conflict as possible, I’m not in any way saying there needs to be some sort of fight scene or argument in every scene. Sometimes you need tension. Sometimes you need support. The thing is though, no one can be stalwart and reliable 100 percent of the time.

From a human perspective, even lifelong friends get frustrated with one another. My brother-and-I are such close friends and so well regarded, that family members have on occasion asked one of us what we wanted and then bought it for the other.  When I go shopping, I just buy something I really want and give it to him. That doesn’t mean we’ve never fought. From that same perspective, friendships are tested through adversity. The point in live isn’t to always agree and support each other.  Support is a thing, but support doesn’t always imply, helping or (more importantly) rolling with whatever the MC wants.

From a writer’s perspective, any author should be seriously worried when character reactions or actions become predictable. Predictable characters are boring, and boring characters lead to unread books.

Disagree?  Let’s take a look at some of the most famous “friends” in fiction or entertainment:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Didn’t we all see Civil War? I mean, the movie made metaphorical-astro-bucks in theaters. Wasn’t that story (in movies and comics) all about putting allies at odds? That sort of conflict takes this analogy a little farther than I want though.  What about the most loyal sidekick ever?

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Image from writingishardwork.com

Samwise Gamgee: The guy tagged along with Frodo through everything. Some may Sam is the actual protagonist of the story.  while I think he was the hero, he wasn’t the protagonist. The protagonist in any story is the one who has a clear goal and encounters obstacles. The main goal of Lord of the Rings? Destroy the ring. Yes, Sam just wanted to protect his friend, but it’s not as neat as those wearing fond remembrance glasses think. For starters, Sam didn’t hear about the tale and shout, “Frodo can’t go unless I do!”  In fact, he was caught eavesdropping and ordered to follow Frodo.  The very beginning of their journey wasn’t based on friendship and support; it was based on Sam being yanked into this mess because of being nosey.

Yes, Sam was stalwart through perhaps 95% of the whole story, but there was rising conflict and an eventual clash of wills and break-up. Sure it was short lived, but Sam and Frodo argued about Gollum, which ended in Sam saying he can’t support this path. Yes, he returned, but that return as all the more heroic because the audience understood and believed how frustrating it would be.

So writers, I’m not saying the friends or sidekicks of the story need to argue at every page or end up on opposite sides of the conflict, but no one real or fictitious, can walk in the shadow of an MC and not encore some of the emotional strain, turmoil, and resentment the MC encounters.

Writers should be aware of what the MC is putting that sidekick through, and respect that those challenges have a toll on that friend. Every Robin ever has had some major conflict with Batman. Sometimes it was a conflict to earn a place beside him, and sometimes it was a more literal conflict. No one liked Jason Todd until he came back and tried took on Batman.

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Image by Dragoninstall taken from agrimarques.com.

There’s another side. There are characters who get boring for the opposite reason. They almost never seem willing to support or help out that MC.  Mat Cauthon was a very hot and cold character for me.  I frankly resented him sometimes for how quickly he was ready to abandon Rand and how stubborn he was about pretty much doing anything. I understand part of this was an aspect of his arc and his fatal flaw, but he infuriated me, and there were times when I just wasn’t interested in him because I didn’t want to read another ten pages about how he wanted to avoid the situation. That said, I absolutely bawled when he mentioned a certain prank from way back in Eye of the World (I’d really appreciate anyone who remembers what that animal was by the way. I can’t seem to recall it. Might be time to read that series again.)  Mat ended up working for me because he inevitably was loyal. He fought it every step of the way, but he did come through in the end.

Consider this as you write. Tension and conflict, even between the closest characters, can make that relationship stronger.

Thanks for reading,
Matt