My Top 3 Reads of 2018

My Top 3 Reads of 2018

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to share my top three reads of 2018 with you all.  Goodreads says I’ve read 37 books in 2018. It wasn’t quite as much as last year, but it’s a solid amount, especially considering how much happened. This list was made without regard to publisher, format, or author.

How I did it:  I kept track of books I liked and mentally compared one to the other. Without further delay, here’s my list.
51C+CI-HrZL#3 Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook: You can find my review for that book here.  This book was my at one point my favorite that I read this year. It had a slow start, but man are those characters awesome, and I just love the action in the story. Of the three, I’d want this made into a movie most. I think this is the first in a series, and if it is, I’ll be picking up the other books once the series is over.

 

 

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So that’s my top three. What are yours? Why? Do you have a review you can link it to? I’d love to reblog it for you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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Story Review: The Kra’daar by Chris Winder, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

Story Review: The Kra’daar by Chris Winder, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

510QAdWwRNLSpoiler Free Summary: The Kra’daar by Chris Winder s the 12th story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More.  Nik’Thil is a Kra’daar who’s looking to determine the source of a series of fires that have started to haunt his home. Will he be able to learn what, or who, is causing them before on breaks out of control?

Character:  I recalled this story a bit more quickly than others. It’s not at the top of my list, but I remember liking the back and forth between Nik’Thil and the creature he’s chasing. This story had a nice sense of tension, and I think the character is the main reason why.

chris winder
Image taken from Mr. Winder’s Amazon page for review purposes under Fair Use Doctrine.

Description: This holds true from my last review. Any time I don’t think back in frustration about how many buttons that guy wore or what color the chips in the paint were, I feel like I was happy with the description. This element was a bit stronger than previous stories. I say this because I immediately remembered the overall plot and the world building, which only sticks if a scene or two stick in a reader’s head.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

2019 State of the Weech!

2019 State of the Weech!

Greetings and happy new year to all!

me2018 was a tough one for one very specific reason, but there were so many blessings both in my personal life and as an author.

I’ve now started a tradition, and I mean to maintain this one in which I let all of you know what my plans are for the year.

Last year I released four titles! The individual parts of The Journals of Bob Drifter, An Unusual Occupation, Bob’s Greatest Mistake, and Something Always Remains. I finished off the year releasing The Power of Words anthology. That gave me the chance to work with Heidi Angell, Richard T. Drake, and TW Iain.

I sure hope to release four titles every year, but this year might be a bit tough.  I’ve gotten a feel for the effect married life has on me, and so I’ve found a rhythm. There were delays though, and that might slow down the release pace. We also are only doing one convention (AwesomeCon) in 2019.

So without further ado, here are my plans for what I hope is a fantastic 2019.

Jan. 1: Repressed is live and doing well (more on that next week). It does provide more information regarding Kaitlyn from Caught, but it’s still different in that it’s absolutely a YA novel. It’s 99 cents from now until the 15th, when it goes to it’s normal price of $2.99. I’m still worried Betrayed isn’t going to be ready for a 2019 release (I’m trying. About 20 percent through the discovery draft as I type this.) So I wanted to give people who liked Caught some kind of story in that world that would hold them over until Betrayed is ready to go live. Kaitlyn is an awesome character, and I wanted her to have all the limelight.  The Audible version of that book is in production. I’m currently reviewing the files, and hope to have my feedback to Kenzie within two weeks, so I’d expect the Audible version to be available by February.

caught-front-coverJan. 25-29: Caught’s birthday bash!  Caught turns 2 years old Jan. 28, so to celebrate its birthday, the ebook will be free Jan. 25-29. This is something I mulled over last year but didn’t have enough of a handle on. Now that I understand KDP a bit more, I can work these in. I want to celebrate these wonderful blessings God has given me, and this is the best way to do it.

March 1-4: Bob’s birthday bash!  On March 3, Bob turns 4! (I’ve been a published author for four years! Huh!?)  Just as with Caught, I’m making Bob’s story free!

April 1: Sojourn in Captivity.  I’ve had this finished for a while. I meant to publish it last year, but Power of Words took on a life of its own, and so the release schedule shifted a bit. Sojourn in Captivity is more or less a prologue to Images of Truth. Images of Truth features a different main character, but Elele, who is a main character in IoT, was so amazing and powerful, I wanted to go back and look at just how far she’d come. I took a risk with this story. It’s written in first person, present tense. Much like with Repressed, I wanted to push myself as an artist. The way I do that is looking at a genre or style I don’t like and trying to do it in a way that satisfies me. I honestly feel this story turned out wonderfully! It’s powerful and emotional while challenging me in both the style (see above) and the structure. You see, I like nice, proactive characters.  Elele is a spoiled brat, and, as the title indicates, she’s literally prevented from taking action for a major portion of the book. I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out. It’ll be available for preorder some time in March, and it’ll go live April 1.  It’s already finished (and the cover is awesome), so I feel confident with that promise.

Even more on this! Once Sojourn comes out, I’ll release a single flip book which will contain both Repressed and Sojourn. I love flip books, and this gets me another physical book I can sell at conventions. Also, both these stories feature compelling young female characters, and I think they’ll fit well together.

ElelefinalJuly 1: So if I want to release four titles this year, something has to come out around here. I’m working on one project, but that might not happen. Could I get Betrayed ready to go? I have no doubt that I’ll get through a few drafts by then, but I don’t know that I can finish it. You see, Betrayed looks to be about the same size as Caught, which makes me happy. I want the whole series to be composed of fast-paced, action-packed quick reads. I can’t promise Betrayed will be ready by then, but I will try, especially if the other thing I’m working on doesn’t happen.

Oct. 1: Stealing Freedom: Stealing Freedom is my novella contribution to The Power of Words, so if you’ve already read that, you’ve already read this, but I think it’s (to date) the best story I’ve written, and all of us authors wanted a chance to let our stories stand alone. So I’ll wrap up the year releasing this independently so you can grab it up and enjoy it.

Now I’ll just run down the list of projects I have in various stages of development. I’ll try to order them by how I think they’ll get released, but it’s just too hard to tell.

new-lion-iconBetrayed: As I’ve said, I’m about 20 percent through the discovery draft of that story, and it’s going well. This has become my primary project, and I’m certain it will be out by Jan. 1, 2020, if it isn’t out sooner! This book features Dom much more prominently, and expands the scope of some of the events hinted at in Caught. The main characters of that story are Sal, Kaitlyn, Dom, and Zac, a new character who the government orders to take down Oneiros.

Hazel: This is the comic book I’m working on with Collin Fogel, my best friend in junior high and the cover artist for my first book. He’s received a lot of interest in the project, and I’m working on the actual text boxes for the first ten pages of the first of three issues. This is happening; it’s just a matter of when and through what publisher.

Hunted: This is the third and final book in The Oneiros Log. I have the main plot line down, but that’s about it. It will be the next thing I jump on when I finish drafting Betrayed. I’ll let the discovery draft of Betrayed sit while I outline Hunted. That will let me make sure I get my foreshadowing down and tie up any loose ends in the saga. It will be a main project in 2019, but it definitely won’t hit the market until 2020.  This book will feature Kaitlyn and one newer character you’ll meet in Betrayed.

Sonnets for my Savior: You’ve seen the weekly blogs I’m doing. I’ll eventually compile those sonnets into a book. My wife intends to do illustrations for it. This is an offering to God, who’s blessed me with this gift, so I wanted to do something that was completely devoted to him. It’ll come out in 2020 (after I finish all 365 sonnets and get an editor to glance at it). It might be delayed a tad because completing 365 water paintings is far more difficult than writing sonnets, so my wife might need more time.

reapedThe 1,200: This was actually something I intended to release a while back, but it just felt like getting The Oneiros Log done was the right call. If you liked The Journals of Bob Drifter, you might get a kick out of some of what happens. And if you look very closely, you might see some familiar faces. I might actually weave this in while editing Betrayed and/or Hunted. The question is when it will come out. I’m going to take a hard look at this story and make sure it works. I’ve developed quite a bit as an author, and so this story deserves an edit with my now more-critical eye. I plan for this to be released sooner rather than later.

New Utopia: I finished a draft of this story and realized it was two books. I intend to go back into this and expand each half into a duo-logy.  It’s a fun story. I call it Mistborn meets Avatar. Again, this only needs revisions and edits, but everything is pretty much waiting until The Oneiros Log gets finished.

Mercer: This is a series I plan to write like episodes of a tv show. Each season will have a specific plot, and each season will consist of a run of novellas.  I call it Dresden Files meets Bones. I honestly haven’t done much with it yet, but it’s going to start flying out of my fingertips as early as this year. Having something to work on that’s shorter will give me a way to release titles without forcing the larger works I write.

shepherdPerception of War: Images of Truth: So I was pretty deep into the discovery draft of that story when things derailed. I started Sojourn for an Anthology I thought I was going to publish with the HMS Slush Brain. Then I decided to write the entire Oneiros Log (I wasn’t going to write the other two books until my brother heard the plot points.) So this book kept falling back. I love this series. I love this idea, and I plan to play in this universe for years to come. I just have no idea when I’ll get back to this main book. (Feels like after Oneiros Log, while I edit New Utopia.)

Leah Saldawn and The Nick of Time:  I wrote the discover draft to this ages ago (Saleah wasn’t in high school yet, and now she works at a school). I let it sit because it’s unrelated to other books and for a much younger audience (10-16). I don’t like leaving things on the shelf, so I’m not sure when I’ll fit it in, but I will eventually. There’s a thought about seven books here, but we’ll see how things go. This one’s written, so it will get published.

Even as I type this, I’m stunned at how much is here. When I look back at March 3, 2015, I see a dude who was just stoked to see one of his books in print. Now I’m a steadily-producing author with a release schedule and readers who actually look forward to his next book. This dream-come-true is simply more evidence of God’s grace and absolutely made possible because of people like you! Thank you so much for your support. Thank you so much for reading my work and visiting my blog. Thank you for coming to see me at conventions and telling me what you thought of my work (even if it wasn’t very fun to hear). I’m honored to be where I am, and I look forward to seeing where the journey takes me next.

Thanks for Reading,
Matt

 

 

Story Review: Go for Bait by T.C. Bucher, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

Story Review: Go for Bait by T.C. Bucher, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

510QAdWwRNLSpoiler Free Summary: Go for Bait by T.C. Bucher is the 11th story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More.  Mackey seems to be running a boring operation in a crap location, but when projectiles randomly start flying at his team, he has to discern who’s attacking. Once he does, his team still has to take on the threat.

Character:  This is another story that I had to go back and skim just to remember stuff. I remember breezing through the story, but the characters aren’t very memorable. This story is a great action piece. But it’s plot driven, and while I don’t have a single negative memory of the story, nothing stood out either. The characters fell into this category for me.

TCBucher
Image of Mr. Bucher taken from his Amazon author page for review purposes under fair use doctrine.

Description: If I have trouble remembering it, the description had to have been done right. It was enough to keep my imagination active, but not so much that I felt like I had to slog through it.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook

Book Review: Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook

51C+CI-HrZL(NOTE: Again, if you’re wondering where the other For A Few Credits More stories are, please remember I review all books in the order I read them. Don’t worry! You’ll get the rest of the reviews in time.)

Spoiler Free Summary: Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook is the first book in The Ghara ChroniclesAlso, it was the M.L.S. Weech 2017 Book Cover of the Year! Humanity has been colonizing planets for generations. Dustin and Melody are newlywed Marines seeking to colonize one last planet so they can retire and start their life together. However, the planet Selva holds a dark, dangerous secret that will change the course of their lives and that of the human race.

Character:  So, I have to be honest here, the early pages were a bit hard to stay with. We had a bunch of characters thrown at us very quickly, and it was hard to keep track.  Now, I can’t complain; I did the same thing with Caught, and the rewards were similar. Once the characters were introduced, we got great action and wonderfully diverse tension. I love the characters in this story! I thought they were all fascinating and compelling. Once the story got going (and I’d say it took at least 50 pages to get there), I honestly didn’t want to put this book down.  The characters were one of two reasons why.

Philbrook
Image of Mr. Philbrook taken from his website for review purposes under fair use doctrine.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Story Review: Change of Command by Thomas A. Mays, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

Story Review: Change of Command by Thomas A. Mays, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

510QAdWwRNLHello everyone! As promised, we’re back to the anthology reviews. Thank you for being patient!

Spoiler Free Summary: Change of Command by Thomas A. Mays is the ninth story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More.  Sheila’s company commanders have a terrible habit of dying on her. Zuul keep killing them, and they keep putting themselves in perfect position to be killed.  Sheila is just trying to keep her unit alive. How many COs will it take before they find a way to survive?

 

Character:  Shelia is a perfect character for a story like this. She had layers of conflict that made her compelling. She may have resonated with me a bit more than some. Rather, she might resonate with any enlisted person who’s been a bit peeved at an overzealous or undertrained officer.

Mays
Image of Mays taken from his Amazon Author page for review purposes under fair use doctrine.

Description: Mays has a lot of action. I have to admit, his opening line was one of the best in the anthology, if not the best! He’s at his best in action sequences, but I was pretty happy with the visual cues in this story.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Story Review: Forbidden Science by Terry Mixon, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

Story Review: Forbidden Science by Terry Mixon, From For a Few Credits More Anthology

510QAdWwRNLHappy Halloween everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful (scary but not dangerous) night. Enjoy the trick-or-treating!

Spoiler Free Summary: Forbidden Science by Terry Mixon is the eighth story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More.  Jeff Peters is a graduate student about to work with a professor as part of Peters’ doctoral studies. Instead of being able to choose a professor he’d like to work with, he’s been recruited … by a complete nut job. At least, that’s what he thinks. Professor Xaltar is as eccentric as his is intelligent, which is saying something.  The problem is, what they’re working on could be destructive in the wrong hands. In fact, even if his dean learned about how far the experiment has come, it could spell trouble.

 

Character:  Jeff and Xaltar feel so much like Marty and Doc Brown I can’t help but love them. They’re every bit as funny as they are charming. Fans of Back to the Future will love this story, and people who didn’t well, do those people exists?

Mixon
Image of Mr. Mixon taken from his web site for review purposes under fair use.

Description: I don’t remember much, which means there wasn’t a ton of description (which I, contrary to most fans of scifi, appreciate). No, the details didn’t stick with me, and I couldn’t tell you so much as the hair color of either main character. Other fans of the series will have to decide if that bothers them or not. It doesn’t bother me. I got a good story, and a three-page description of a ship didn’t get in the way of the ship blowing something up.  (NOTE: I’m not saying those things happened, I’m just using that as an example.)

Thanks for reading,

Matt