Reviews! So Many Reviews!

Reviews! So Many Reviews!

Greetings all,

I’m just simply amazed at the number of reviews I am lucky enough to share with you. I’ll articulate how this was made possible in a future blog (I’m doing more research on that). For now, I have several reviews to share with you.  Some of them are only on Audible, and I don’t know how to link to just those reviews, so I’ll just copy-paste them in their entirety here. Then I have another review for Caught I’d like to spend a bit more time discussing.

First, let’s look at several new reviews for the Audible version of Stealing Freedom.

StealingFreedom_ACXFive Star Review from Anne-v:

“Wonderful novella!

Loved it! Loved the originality. Loved the characters. Loved the writing. Loved the story. Loved the narrator.
I’ll devour everything from this author. It’s that good.
Give me more!! I want a prequel and a sequel.
This is a future world where speaking has been deemed “dangerous” to established order. Speech is only allowed per word purchased. A mother risks everything to allow her daughter the freedom to speak.
I was given this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.”

 


 

Isn’t that great?!

I mean, I don’t even know what to say! This is the kind of review every author dreams of, and I’m so grateful to Anne for leaving it. Bless you!

Five Star Review from Dee:

“Great listen!!

I enjoyed this listen very much!! In the beginning, it’s hard to know where this story is going. The writing is incredibly well-done and the world-building was exceptional, albeit scary.

That ending was inventive and quite frankly, mind-blowing.

The narration kept pace with the other worldliness of the story. Love it!!!”

 


 

Again, this is a very kind review. I put in a lot of effort for the endings of my stories, so any time they get compliments, I’m particularly pleased.

Five Star Review from B VanDyk:

“I absolutely loved this sci-fi

I thought the premise of this future was fantastic. A great heist style story against an oppressive regime.
Thinking of the current culture to extrapolate to this end was an awesome commentary. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased review.”

 


 

All I can say is, “I’m happy to provide more!” All these reviews are so kind, and I’m so blessed and happy that people like Stealing Freedom. Honestly any rating and review is nice, but when they’re this kind, how can I not appreciate it that much more?

Caught_ACX_CoverThat brings me to this four star review for Caught:

The reviewer once again (she’d listened to Stealing Freedom and was kind enough to try another of my stories) left a review on both Audible and Goodreads.

This review is awesome! Now, is it as complimentary as some of the above reviews? Maybe not, but it’s so insightful, and I wanted to talk about one specific segment. You can read the whole review through the above link, but I wanted to focus on one part.

“The premise is very interesting, however, I was disappointed that this was book 1 of a series. This shares a lot of good elements from books like Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and with 1 tweak (the death of someone), this would have made a great stand alone. As it is, and someone survives that shouldn’t have been allowed to, there will clearly be a book 2, and said character will be back.”

Later she says, “Also, the charm of this book is largely rooted in the dreams and the experiments. Without that mystery, I imagine sequels will basically be the A-Team with powers.”

I’m in no way about to “respond” to this review. That’s bad form. Her opinions are hers, and I value them. The interesting thing is that she would have liked Caught better if it was a stand alone.

kaitlynHere’s why that’s interesting: I originally intended it to be a stand alone.

I’d just finished Bob, and I really needed something light, fun, and fresh before I started on another ambitious project.

So then, I spoke with others in the business. If you look at my work, you’ll notice I barely hold still. Their advice was to generate books in a series to build a following. That advice made perfect sense to me.

Before you go too far, I’m not saying I invented Betrayed and Discovered just to pander to an audience. Yes, my goal was to provide people who like Caught more stories from that world, but it wasn’t just for that reason. I was speaking to my brother about some of the things I knew.

In once scene in Caught, Steve (one of the main characters), notes Kira (a secondary character in that book) has more reason to hate the general than anyone else.

My brother asked me why. When I told him, he loved the idea. I’d just filed the detail away as part of the world building and history of Kira’s character. But I wasn’t planning on going back to those characters for quite some time if at all. Once I told my brother that spolierific detail, he urged me to write that sequel, and that demand, combined with the advice of self-published authors I respect, led me to go ahead and write the other stories.

Repressed_ACX_CoverOneiros Log, even Caught as a stand alone, was always designed to be my super hero universe origin story. I love X-Men. I think the Avengers movies are great! But I’m frustrated at the lack of other super heroes. In my opinion, you’re either an X-Man, an Avenger, or a member of the Justice League. Everyone wants to write for those series. I wanted to create something that at least has a fresh perspective on supers.

But I think Brook makes a very valid and fair comment, and I felt that was a great point. I’ve often said I would go back and write several books in one universe if I had it all to do again. I’d still publish Bob. I’d still publish Oneiros Log (at least Caught). But I typically write the stories that are most energizing to me at the time.

It’s a interesting challenge to be an author who is a discovery writer at heart trying to make sure he’s building an audience. I made the decision to move forward with the rest of the story (which is way more about Kaitlyn and Kira), but it’s interesting to see someone feel the way I felt about Caught. I can only hope that the rest of the trilogy (and Kaitlyn’s little side story) are entertaining enough to justify writing them.

I thought about adding this information. I truly, TRULY, hope that this isn’t seen as a rebuttal to Brook’s very kind review. It was a wonderful review. It was a thoughtful review.

But I though that keen observation demanded an open and honest admission of my original intent and how I came to change my mind.

I’ve never had so many reviews to share at the end of one week, and I’m humbled and honored to have these to share. I can only hope and pray that the reviews keep coming.  I just want to offer my most sincere appreciation one more time to all of these reviewers. It’s my hope that the reviews inspire more people to give my work a try.

As always, thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

 

 

Why Black Panther Should Be the Next Leader of the Avengers

Why Black Panther Should Be the Next Leader of the Avengers

Greetings all,

I just wanted to share a tangent with you. I hope you’ll forgive me.  I watched Black Panther on opening night. This isn’t a review.  If you want to know what I thought, well, I liked it. I thought it was a pretty solid Marvel movie. I was entertained.  The epiphany, however, is in watching the character develop.

He’s a natural leader. He’s charismatic. He’s compassionate. He’s disciplined. He’s merciful.

How in the world do you not make this guy the next leader of the Avengers?

What I don’t want to turn this into is a debate about race or culture. Look, it’s great that this character brings ethic and cultural diversity. Those are good things.  But it’s what we do in our life that makes us. Our skin and our culture are factors, but they don’t define us. So you won’t hear me talking about how it’s time we had a black this or a woman that. Frankly, I don’t care who you are, what you look like or where you’re from.  All I care about is the simple yes or no answer to the question, “Can you do the job?”

T’Challa checks every box that matters.

black-panther-trailer-image-3
Image taken from Collider. Honestly no real leg to stand on here. I’m just praying the Mouse doesn’t take offense.

Natural leader: During one scene, he’s faced with his advisors. One, a close friend, wants one course of action. What he does is listen to all of his advisors. Bozeman does a fantastic job of making me believe he’s listening and considering the options. He evaluates all the information and makes a decision. This is what leaders must do. Trust their team, but make the call. (CHECK)

Charismatic: Dude, seriously, if Boseman were to run for president on this movie alone, I’d vote for him. He’s so compelling. He’s emotional without being weak. He’s entertaining without being foolish. His ability to make others feel for him is unquestioned. I can’t quantitate this data. You’ll either watch the movie and agree with me, or you won’t.  For me, this is a CHECK.

Compassionate: When faced with the key plot, he doesn’t respond to a threat. This is actually critical information. Most leaders will only asses hazards and identify means to mitigate those hazards.  Those leaders are effective, but they’re rarely great. You see, T’Challa understand that choices like that were what caused his current conflict. He sought understanding. He wanted to find alternative solutions. He wanted to unite rather than just defend. Listen, if he only had this arc, I’d still think he should take over the Avengers. Uncompromising men are exemplary. But understanding leaders change the future.

black-panther-992x560
Image taken from IndieWire.

Disciplined: He enforces standards without regard to his personal feelings. He upholds the intent of the law without being subject to the letter of it. He proves his subject to his laws when he puts himself in a position of danger. He holds others accountable even when he regrets the need to do so. He does so while being as merciful as he can be at every opportunity. His mercy isn’t a hindrance, it’s an aspect of his leadership.

It’s my opinion that we focus too much on skin color or gender. Now, I’ll confess it’s very easy for a white, middle-aged, man to say that. However, I believe we’ll never push pass these boundaries we’re fighting if the only way we identify one another is with these crude adjectives. I’m not calling for T’Challa to take over because he’s black. I’m saying he should be in charge because he’s the best qualified. We should let go of the other reasons. They ultimately don’t matter.

The business and time spent means Captain America’s time is limited. I’m not saying he should be ousted. But he’s a prime example on how uncompromising men can cause more problems than they fix. That’s not why he’ll eventually be killed off. He’ll eventually be killed off because Chris Evans can’t play Captain America forever. We all know Robert Downey is close to the end of his amazing run as Iron Man. The fact is someone will have to step up to lead in Phase 4 and beyond, and Black Panther made it very clear to me who that leader should be.

Thanks for reading,

Matt