Stealing Freedom is Officially Available for Preorder!

Stealing Freedom is Officially Available for Preorder!

Greetings all,

StealingFreedomI’m happy to announce that Stealing Freedom, the novella originally published in The Power of Words anthology, is officially available for preorder in its own ebook edition.

Here’s the book blurb:

Ardelia Sabine is about to attempt the most legendary heist in the solar system. The anti-communication laws that have been ruthlessly enforced for the last five years have gone too far, and the collar around her daughter’s neck, which shocks anyone if they try to speak, must come off.

The one time monitor of law enforcement has now assembled the greatest collection of thieves, con-men, and hit men in history. Together, with her husband, once the greatest hacker on the planet, must take on a job that will surely get at least one of them killed.

Survival is not the objective. The goal is to shut down the servers that operate the entire system. Can they get into one of the most guarded areas on the planet? Can they steal back their right to speak from the government that silenced it?

END BLURB

This title will be only 99 cents from today until Oct. 16, when it will go up to its normal price of $2.99.

I’d say this book is a Scifi cyber heist version of Leverage. So if you like stories like that or Ocean’s 12 and you also like scifi, I think you’ll love this story.

You can get to the preorder page either by clicking the link all the way at the top or right here.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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Star Wars: Fact and Feeling.

Star Wars: Fact and Feeling.

I’m going to limit this to about 1,000 words. Since the official movie poster for Episode IX, I’ve seen a lot of comments. I have my own feelings and opinions on the matter. You are all welcome to your opinions and feelings, but I just can’t sit down and listen to opinions stated as fact. I’ve already talked about how unfair the criticism for Star Wars is.

Instead of just ranting (this is absolutely a rant, it’s simply not limited to ranting), I decided to address some of the comments I saw about the poster and the movies in general and supply the facts. If you hate the movie, you hate it. However, if the reasons you hate it are simply not true, then why do you hate it? Let’s begin:

Palpatine portraitComment: “Palpatine’s return undermine’s Anakin’s sacrifice.”  This is only true if Anakin died to kill Palpatine. He didn’t. Anakin didn’t sacrifice himself to kill Palpatine. He’s motivation and goal was to save his son.  Remember? Remember Luke crying in agony for his father to help him? I do. It happened during the movie many people are screaming was ruined by this current trilogy. But if Palpatine’s death was the objective, Luke’s life was optional.  Therefore, if saving Luke’s life was the objective, the death of Palpatine was, in fact, optional. The fact that his death was a bonus may be a bit of a bummer, but it in no way undercuts Anakin’s sacrifice because the cause for which he died is still true. Luke lived. Also, we’re jumping the gun on the whole, Palpatine is alive thing aren’t we? Is Palpatine “alive?” Remember, this was the Sith Lord of Sith Lords here people. He even told Anakin a “more rounded view” (or something close to it) was necessary. Couldn’t this just be a Force ghost the same way Obi-Wan operated? What part of the original cannon trilogy provides any sort of rule stating a Sith Lord can’t. In fact, that same original trilogy proves they can. Anakin (redeemed or not) was still a Sith Lord, and he returned as a Force Ghost.  Frankly, I’m surprised we haven’t seen him yet. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Anakin appear before Rey.  So, you can hate the movie if you want, but you can’t hate it for undermining Anakin’s sacrifice because Luke lived.

Comment: “Rey is a Mary Sue.”  SIGH!  First off, people who don’t do this for a living really shouldn’t use terms they don’t understand. A novice calling any character a Mary Sue is like a fast food junkie walking into a five-star restaurant and calling the chef a Gordon Ramsey ripoff.   So, before we can bust this myth, we need to first define what a Mary Sue is. A Mary Sue is a female characters who is depicted as unrealistically lacking in flaws or weaknesses. There’s a simple per se counter to this comment, but I’m going to hold off on that. Let’s start with a more nebulous argument. “Lacking in Flaws.” Rey is absolutely overeager. That overeagerness gets her into several bouts of trouble. This flaw causes conflict, and some of that conflict doesn’t happen without that flaw. Examples? She reaches straight for the dark side of the force like a 2-year-old reaches for a pot on a hot stove. Right after doing that, she goes behind Luke’s back (another flaw) to do it again. Why? Well for yet another flaw. She’s overly invested on her heritage.  The whole “who are her parents” thing is still unresolved because BAD GUYS LIE! Kylo is a seriously POOR source of information. But assuming that statement (not fact) from Kylo is true, the entirety of the first two movies are hinged on Rey desperately seeking her parents. This truth is so pivotal, the possibility that her parents abandoned her (abandonment issues, also a flaw) tempts her to side with Kylo.  Some of you may argue that’s pretty thin.  Ok. So let’s talk about the whole “and weakness.”

SnokeMaybe while I was on the edge of my seat worried she might die, I missed the part where Rey broke Snoke’s hold of her and chopped of his head while she quoted Shakespeare and developed an entirely new connection to the force. I mean, I could have missed that. I saw the movie twice in a row, and maybe I wasn’t paying attention like the rest of the people who helped the movie profit $477.5 million just so they could turn around and bash it. But I could have SWORN that Rey was helpless as a kitten while Snoke mocked her and laughed at her. I would have testified in court that Kylo had to save her. But I guess I just fell asleep and dreamt that scene because everyone else seems to want to ignore that and call her a Mary Sue because they read an article on Reddit and they’re suddenly qualified to use terms they don’t understand.

While I have another hundred or so words, I have to stop somewhere, and this is a good point. Listen, you can feel however you want about Star Wars. But if those feelings are based on ignorance of a term or a perspective that changes the original series, aren’t you guilty of doing the very thing you claim to be mad about? I just had to provide a bit of perspective on some pretty toxic language I’ve seen out there. Yes, you have a right to speak. I’m doing so now, but it hurts me as a creator to see something get this much outrage. I mean, I’ve talked to fellow creators about books and decisions I hate. There’s one popular author I’ll never read because of a Star Wars book he read. But I don’t bash him every opportunity I get. I don’t have time. So instead of investing time in your day bashing something you don’t like (for reasons I don’t think make a whit of sense), why not just go watch something you do like?

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

Book Review: Chimera by Mira Grant

Book Review: Chimera by Mira Grant
Cover
The cover for this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Spoiler Free Summary:  Chimera by Mira Grant is the Last book in the Parasitology series.  As the rise of parasite-controlled zombies increases, and the self-named Chimera are working to take over as the master-species on the planet, Sal is stuck in the middle, trying to return to her family and protect them. Can she find a solution that doesn’t end in one species eliminating the others?

Character:  Sal is who got me interested in the series as a whole (I have read the whole series). She’s a very interesting character. I can’t say I appreciated every decision she made, but she’s a compelling character. She’s a solid example in how to build a first-person-narrative story around an interesting main character. 

Exposition: I have to acknowledge that any first-person-narrative story is going to have more exposition than other stories. That said, as compelling as Sal is, I felt the story slowed down several times while Sal contemplated her place in the world and how humanity works. This created an odd sort of frustration for me. I enjoyed Sal, but I felt myself getting tired of her musings. I think the story would have moved a lot quicker if at least four of Sal’s inner soliloquies were removed.

Portrait_Seanan-McGuire-crop-credit-Carolyn-Billingsley-300x296
Image by Carolyn Billingsley was taken from Grant’s bio page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Dialogue: This fell a bit short for me. There were some parts where it really felt like each scene of dialogue were really just opportunities for each character to present his or her manifesto. It got a bit tedious for me. The conversations didn’t really feel natural. There’s one scene that relies heavily on Sal convincing another character to do something, and I just couldn’t buy it. This was because the character development wasn’t there for me any more than the dialogue.

Description:  I got what I wanted out of this area. It wasn’t vivid, and it didn’t really activate many senses for me, but I could picture the settings and characters well enough.

Overall:  This book is a great example of just how much I love character. I can’t say Sal was a “great” character. But she was good enough to carry a story that wasn’t as entertaining as others. It’s also a good example to demonstrate that an author doesn’t have to do everything well if she (in this case) does a few of them very well. The worldbuilding and character of this book carries the rest of the story. This was a decent ending to a pretty decent saga. I’m glad I read this book to see how it ends, and that ending was reasonably satisfying. l

Thanks for reading

Matt

Hazel Is Getting Published!

Hazel Is Getting Published!

Greetings all,

MeandHazelI’m happy to announce that Hazel has been signed to Antarctic Press. That means a dream Collin Fogel and I had back when we were 13(ish) is coming true. He created the character and overall background. He also did all the art. The pencils, the inks, the colors.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to write the story.  The link above will take you to general information about Hazel. You can also see some of the awesome artwork Collin has done.

Antarctic was one of two companies I’m aware of that were interested in Hazel. We’re glad someone was as excited about the project as Collin and I were.

I’ve seen a few ideas for release dates, but I know things still aren’t’ finalized in that regard. Issue 1 is all finished, and Issue 2 is pretty close to being done. This arc (which I call Ruthless Allies) is a three-issue mini-series. I’ll update you when an official release date is posted. It’s so cool to know I’ll have yet another title available at my tables. I hope you guys will start calling up your local comic book shops to get them to carry the title.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Cover Reveal: Stealing Freedom Ebook (and Audiobook)

Cover Reveal: Stealing Freedom Ebook (and Audiobook)

Greetings all,

About a year ago, Heidi Angell, T.W. Iain, Richard Drake, and I released The Power of Words, an anthology dedicated to the First Amendment. My story for that collection was Stealing Freedom, and fun heist story about a mother who’s planning to shut down the servers that ruthlessly enforce the prohibition of speech and communication on her planet.

As per the agreement we had on that anthology, we’re allowed to release our individual stories (the anthology will remain available) after a year.  In preparation for that, I’ve commissioned my artist, Carlos Villas, to do the cover.  So, without further delay, I proudly present to you the cover to Stealing Freedom, scheduled for release Oct. 1, 2019.

StealingFreedom

 

It always amazed me to see what Carlos does with my concepts.  For those who are interested, take a look at my request and little thumbnail:
THumbnailI told him, “The frame is from the bridge of a girl-child’s nose to just below the collar bone. Around her neck is a metal (techno-looking) collar about an inch thick. Blue electricity is arcing around the collar which is visually undone.”

Carlos patiently went through 13 drafts of the image until we got to the image you see above. The bulk of the revisions were in getting the collar to where we wanted it and then getting that arcing light to look perfect.

He did all that work in perhaps a week? If you’re an author looking for a dedicated artist who will eagerly take direction and produce that level of work quickly, I couldn’t recommend Carlos highly enough.

Once I got the final image, I located a font I liked and designed the overall cover with the author and title text. One may argue my author text is a bit dark, but on a monitor it works out fine. I’d be more worried if it were for a print cover (as printing brings up color and density issues), but if my color-challenged eyes can make it out, I’m confident others can see it. I downloaded the font (for free) and placed everything.

The Audible cover (yes, the audio version of this novella will also be available (I hope) Oct. 1.) was more challenging.  In order to keep everything I wanted, I had to place the text over the face. My options were to put text over the face or crop the face out. I opted for the first choice.

StealingFreedom_ACXOnce more, you can expect Steal Freedom to be available on Kindle and Audible Oct. 1 (give or take a day or two).

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Pull by Stephen Landry

Book Review: Pull by Stephen Landry
cover
Cover image for the book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Pull by Stephen Landry is the first book in the Deep Darkness saga. Sev, a user who can travel through time by going into the minds of people from the past or future (think Quantum Leap only he can’t change anything), is raised in a world where an alien race is seeking to eradicate humanity along with any species dumb enough to help the humans. The three ships that carry the bulk of humanity also cary it’s most dangerous enemy: humanity.  As Sev learns more about his prophesied existence, he  learns more about the origins of humanity’s last ships and society. If they find a planet on which to settle, will there be anything left worth saving?

Character:  Sev is an interesting character. This book has sort of a Martial Arts quest feel to it where the character gets trained in the use of the time travel and combat (think Matrix). His sympathy shows in some areas. He’s compelling in his zealousness. He’s proactive and driven. His emotional journey is solid to as he continues to look for companionship even while he knows he’s already fawning over “the one who got away.” Sev is a plus for Landry.

Exposition: This was pretty solid as I remember. I did feel a bit info-dumped on at times, but, for the most part, the story’s pace seemed solid. He did a good job of mixing in the action with the exposition, but there was a lot of room for improvement.

Landry
This image of Landry was taken from his Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Dialogue: There was still some exposition in there I didn’t need, and some of it seemed a bit forced and random. I think it was improved from Sleepers, the last book from him I reviewed. The only conversations I remember are the ones in which I got plot information, which is how I know it’s wasn’t very crisp or memorable.

Description:  This is something Landry shows skill in and it is improved from the last book of his I read. He’s got a great eye for putting in nice details that bring the scene to mind. I’d be interested to see if Landry is working on TV or movie scripts. If his dialogue improved, he might have a lot going for him in that medium.

World Building: This is where Landry shines. His worlds and plots are just plain awesome. His creative ideas are fantastic. His outlining and plot points are fun. His visual style has a lot of potential, but the worlds he creates are his best assets. If this book were just edited more thoroughly, it’d be one of the best I’ve read this year; however, those issues really hurt the quality of the book overall.

Another Note on Proof Reading:  As with the last book I read from Landry, I had to post a special segment discussing the proofreading of his book. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any improvement whatsoever in this book. It’s honestly sad to see such great ideas marred by such poor editing and proofreading. I honestly couldn’t help but start counting the number of errors per page, and I got into the teens on some pages. These issues just ripped my attention away from what is honestly a fantastic story.

Overall: This concept is really cool. This story has love, tragedy, fighting, and time travel. However, it was riddled with typos and homophones. The paragraphs were sometimes a full page long, which was pretty demanding on the eye. A good copy editor could make this ok book great.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Sojourn in Captivity Is Now Available On Audible!

Sojourn in Captivity Is Now Available On Audible!

Greetings all,

Sojourn_ACX_CoverI’m happy to announce that Sojourn in Captivity is now available on Audible. Courtney Sanello did a fantastic job narrating this story. What I like most about this and the Audible version of Repressed is that it’s just such a quick story.  It’s just under three hours, so if you’re driving around town or heading on a trip, you can finish the whole story on the way.

Pretty soon, I currently have 25 codes good for a free copy of Sojourn. I also have codes for my other Audiobooks.

If you’re interested in one (or all) of them, please feel free to email me.  I hope you decide to give them a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt