What Is My Brand? What Do You Get When You Buy An M.L.S. Weech Book?

What Is My Brand? What Do You Get When You Buy An M.L.S. Weech Book?

Greetings all,

MLSWeechI’m honestly just watching Kurt Hugo Schneider videos, and in a few, he “writes” a song for a popular singer. My wife and I frequently dance to his writing of an “Ed Sheeran” song.  What he does is look for elements common to the performer, and that got me thinking about my brand.

So branding is an interesting concept. Some writers brand by genre. This guy may write horror while that guy writes romance. If you like the genre,  a certain author will fill that need. I’ve had dear friends talk to me on occasion about how often I jump around. Honestly, I don’t have the first clue how to hold still. I can’t even type a blog like Thumper talking about the forest with Bambi.

That hurts some authors. I would probably be more successful more quickly (an important combination of words) if I stuck with one genre. Readers like to know what they’re going to get when they buy a book.

So if I don’t stay in one genre, what is my brand? What do people who buy my book get?

Please allow me to offer you a list.

Bob CoverCharacters you connect with: If you read the first ten pages of one of my books, and you don’t feel an immediate connection to the characters you’re reading about, I’ve failed, and you probably won’t enjoy the story. I want people who buy my books to fall in love (or completely hate) the characters.  Here are some examples:

” … keeping me engaged with the plot and the characters with some mad skill.” — A review for Caught.

“Mr Weech does some good worldbuilding here and delivers lots of character development — not just with protagonist Bob Drifter, but with pretty much his entire cast.” — A review for An Unusual Occupation: Part One of The Journals of Bob Drifter.

“While each of the different POVs fascinated me, I found Bob’s voice to be distinctly enjoyable.” — Another review for An Unusual Occupation: Part One of The Journals of Bob Drifter.

“There is just an awful lot to like about Bob. He is a well-conceived, fully fleshed out character that you can’t help but admire and root for.” A review for The Journals of Bob Drifter.

Fast Pace: Even my longest book, The Journals of Bob Drifter, has a pace that moves. I typically write short chapters that let a reader feel like they’re flying through a book even if that book is 130,000 words. I want readers to feel like they’re on a roller coaster that set the world speed record. True, Bob evolves more slowly, but that evolution is spent building anticipation. This fast pace creates a story that’s hard to put down. Here are some examples:

“The story hits fast and you quickly are embroiled in a fast moving action sequence.” — A review for Sojourn in Captivity.

“Repressed was fast paced with nicely timed reveals.” — A review for Repressed.

caught-front-coverSurprises: If you want at least one moment where your jaw drops, and you say, “WHAAAAAAAAAAT?” my books are for you. Honestly, I’m not sure which of my stories has the biggest surprise or plot twist. What I can say is that every time someone comes to me to talk to me about my book, they immediately comment about the surprise. Most reviews mention the end of my stories.  Don’t believe me?

” … and the ending was good.” — A review for Stealing Freedom.

“The narrative direction this story goes (without giving anything away) is both surprising in the moment and completely logical in retrospect.” A review for Caught.

“Caught” is a thrilling psychological horror full of nightmares, gore, and unexpected plot twists. It keeps you guessing every step of the way.” “I can’t remember the last time any novel has surprised me. This shows a clever ingenuity that impressed me.” A review for Caught.

So there you have it. If you like fast-paced books with great characters and surprising twists, I’m your man. All of these were different reviews for different books from a number of different reviewers (though in honesty there are some repeat reviewers because they became return customers).

I hope this gives some of you who maybe haven’t tried my work a chance to see why you might be interested.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The Boxcar Children: Reading With My Son

The Boxcar Children: Reading With My Son

CoverWhen I was a kid, I fell in love with The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Here’s the thing, I know I read the whole series. It was something they did in school. However, I can only vaguely remember any thing. Perhaps a glimmer of the premise. I’d looked at the first book a bit while I was writing The Journals of Bob Drifter.

I once bought the e-version of the first book in the series to read to one of my nieces, but she wasn’t quite old enough. But now the opportunity is here.

We were on vacation last weekend, and we’d forgotten to bring the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is what we normally read to our youngest. As soon as we realized we’d forgotten it, I had an idea:

“I have a book that I liked when I was a kid,” I said. “Would you like me to read that to you?”

I was afraid I’d get one page into it, and he’d get bored, again being perhaps too young to enjoy it. Now we’re three chapters in, and he’s excited to see what happens next.

I’ve always put a lot of stock into reading to children. First off, I love it. I read to my niece Saleah. I read to her younger brother, too, but I didn’t get as much time with that family as I did when Saleah was growing up. Some of the stuff I read, she didn’t enjoy. Some of it, she did.

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Gertrude Chandler Warner

Later, I read to one of my younger nieces (there isn’t a gender bias here, I swear. I just have a ton of nieces and just a few nephews). But now I get to read to my sons! We read to them every night. Julie and I swap nights. This gives us both time with the boys and time to ourselves when it’s the other parent’s turn. (The older boys are listening to The Half-Blood Prince in case you’re wondering.)

The really cool thing is I’m reading books I loved when I last read them, and since it’s been so long, it’s like reading them for the first time. Perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement. I certainly remember how Harry Potter goes. But I’m still not sure I could name all four Boxcar Children. I just tired, and I couldn’t do it. So I have this wonderful chance to revisit old stories and share them with my sons. My oldest is getting to the point where he’s reading on his own, and my middle boy isn’t that far behind, but I find myself cherishing this time I get with them.

Me and the Boys
Me and the Boys.

Reading didn’t become a big habit in my family until I was grown. I first started reading heavily with Natty Bumpo. Then I discovered the Star Wars Extended Universe. Then I discovered Dean Koontz, and then The Wheel of Time. I honestly believe that when we grow up reading, we grow up imagining and thinking. But the biggest value still comes with that personal, quiet time we get with our sons. Not only do the stories we read together entertain us, but the memories we create reading those stories to our children are ones I’ll always want to hold onto.

So here’s to The Boxcar Children! I’m so glad I get to share you with another generation. I hope he comes to love you as much as I do.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Betrayed: The Discovery Draft of Oneiros 2 Is Done!

Betrayed: The Discovery Draft of Oneiros 2 Is Done!

Greetings all,

caught-front-coverI’m happy to report that the discovery draft to Betrayed: Book Two of the Oneiros Log is finally finished!  I’m genuinely sorry for the delay on this project. Things got pushed around, and then some life stuff happened, and it just feels like I kept being pulled into other projects. I’m happy that part is done.

So what’s next? Well, Betrayed is gonna sit for a while. I can’t just jump into editing. I’m already too close to my own work, and if I don’t let a manuscript sit for a while, I tend to be blind to certain issues. I need to be objective when editing my work, and that means giving it some time.

While that goes on, the first thing I’m going to do is finish listening to the audio version of Sojourn in Captivity, which is going well. Courtney did some revisions, and now I need to just give everything a check to make sure it’s ready to go. I’m hoping to have that out in the world before I go to Shore Leave next month.

45003791_10156740898697460_7981328569286524928_nCollin is working pretty hard on Issue 2 of Hazel, and I’ll get the dialogue polished off for him when he needs. There’s some exciting news in that regard, but nothing is final yet, so I’m waiting until I have real facts rather than high hopes, but I am hopeful this project is progressing well.

I plan on doing the first draft of Betrayed starting in July. Yes, that’s a month away, and this book was supposed to be out last year, but a month is typically how long I let a project of that length sit. What that time will also let me do is outline Discovered: Book Three of the Oneiros Log.  Not only will getting that done mean the trilogy will be finished in time, it might help me reconsider certain things from this book.  There’s a huge gap between books one and two, but two and three are only a few weeks (or so) apart. Getting a good feel for the last book should help me make sure everything wraps up nicely.

Betrayed currently clocks in at 57,768 words. I think the gaps between writing and my own tendency to be a little lacking in description hurt me here.  The book should have been about 80,000 words. I know one character needs a bit more screen time, and I know I need some better description. So this revision will probably be a bit more work than the last few titles have been. The good news is the major framework is done, and I’m content with where the story is. Yes, it needs work, but I feel pretty confident that I know what I need to do.

I want to thank all of you for your patience in this. I’m so happy that I can write these stories and share them with people. I’d be lying if I said this book was anticipated, but I do know there are people waiting for this story, and I hope that Repressed did enough to tie you over. We’ll get Betrayed to you as soon as I can get it through the editorial process.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

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

Finishing on a High Note! Baltimore ComicCon Was Amazing!

Finishing on a High Note! Baltimore ComicCon Was Amazing!

Greetings all,

I’ve been pretty busy with all of the new things going on, but now I have a moment or two to talk about what went on at the Baltimore ComicCon, which was the last stop on my 2018 tour.

The short version, it was without-a-doubt the most successful convention I’ve ever done. I mean this by every measurable standard.

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Bre picked up The Power of Words and never put it down. Then she geeked out with my fiancee over Wicket purses.

First, I had copies of The Power of Words on hand, and they flew off the table! I already have some reviews and ratings, and I’ll share those here in the next few weeks.

 

Conventions are always fun, but when you combine the normal fun with a positive number of new readers, it’s honestly such a great boost emotionally.

I sold out of The Power of Words. I almost sold out of every book I have, which has never come close to happening.

This year as a whole was pretty rough in a lot of ways. With conventions, I had a few where I only managed a handful of sales. I met more new readers at this event than all the rest of my tour combined (and then some)!

I feel truly blessed that so many people showed an interest in my work. I’m grateful to God for his glorious blessing and, more so, sending so many wonderful, kind people to meet me and give a silly dreamer’s work a try.

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Mykel got The Power of Words as well as Caught and The Journals of Bob Drifter. Then we had a lengthy, fantastic conversation about writing. 

I thank all of you who stopped by the table and picked up a book (or three). I truly hope you enjoyed them, and I’d love to see your reviews and/or ratings. Even if they’re critical, any feedback is good, and any review is wonderful.

 

That concludes my 2018 tour on just such a wonderful note. My fiancee and I are planning ways to put build on life together, and that means slowing down a touch on conventions for next year. We’re making decisions on which ones (and there won’t be many) we feel we have to attend, and I’ll get that information to you once we make those decisions.

As always, I’m just so happy to know people are out there who even feel like giving these books a chance. You have my promise I’ll keep working to get better and deliver stories I feel are entertaining and hard to put down.

Thank you for supporting my dream.

Thank you for being such great people.

Thank you, as always, for reading!

Matt

Preorder The Power of Words!

Preorder The Power of Words!

Power of Words Cover_FRONT_EBOOKGreetings all,

I mentioned this once, briefly, on a Book Cover of the Month post, but I wanted to give the announcement it’s own bit of air time.

The Power of Words is available for preorder for 99 cents. 

As those who follow my blog know, I’m a goal oriented man.  My goal for this anthology is 100 preorders.

I’d have to admit, even 20 preorders would be good. This helps us out in a lot of ways. When the book goes live, if we get enough preorders, it helps out our ranking, and we’d love to see this book in the #1 spot for Science Fiction Anthologies.

I hope you’ll help me reach my goal. It would mean a lot.

But let’s talk about this great book.

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Richard T. Drake

AMAZON BLURB:

 

In the beginning, there was the word.

Some religions state that the very universe was created by words. The nation of America was founded using words. Words established the rights and freedoms this nation enjoys. The first of those rights is freedom of speech, which implies so much more than the right to use words.

This anthology contains four stories from four authors. Each story pays tribute to either the ideals held by America’s First Amendment or to the concept that the words people use hold power.

These authors took the concept of words, and placed it in futuristic, apocalyptic, and fantasy settings:

TW Iain creates a world where citizens only seek to hear the words of others rather than consider their own.

Richard T. Drake crafts a world where a leader must speak for the underprivileged masses who simply can not speak for themselves.

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Heidi Angell

Heidi Angell tells of a world where humanity itself is dying, and a man strives to preserve what he can in hope that any who survive will have something with which to remember the world that was.

M.L.S. Weech brings to life a world where words were taken from society, and a mother plots to give those words back if only for her daughter to be able to speak.

The word was the beginning, but it will never end.

 

END BLURB

I’ll be reblogging and sharing stops on a blog tour we’re participating in. We’ve already gotten some love from J.R. Handley and Rainne’s Ramblings. Please check out those posts for some real fun and revealing interviews. We have more on the way, but this is a great start.

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TW Iain

I don’t think I could be more proud of a project. This started out as a flash of inspiration for my own contribution, Stealing Freedom. I was joined by three wonderful authors, and I’d put these four stories against any others out there.

I hope you’ll all decide to give it a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

I’ve Read The New Testament! A Journey of Faith

I’ve Read The New Testament! A Journey of Faith

Greetings all,

I’ve mentioned a few times about my Christianity, and even posted a review on a previous piece of Christian literature. Some time last year (before Christmas), I made a commitment to go on a sort of religious journey.

While in the Navy, I got frustrated pretty quickly by people in charge saying what they wanted to say without regard for the standards. “You’re uniform is UNSAT,” or “That’s not how WE do things.” I don’t think that issue is unique to the Navy, and I assure what I’m describing wasn’t in violation of any standards, more an misunderstanding of them. Most of the time, it was well meaning people trying to establish what they thought was right. My problem with it was that I don’t want to stand behind my rank or my seniority. I want to stand behind the standards.

In Christianity, that standard is The Bible. I decided to start with the New Testament as that is the new covenant between God and humanity.

Why did I do this? Honestly, I want to be a better Christian, and, in my opinion, the best way to do that is by going directly to the source. Now, I can’t read the native language of The Bible, but I can read the version I have.

17562_largeI read the New International Version of the New Testament. I’m currently reading the Old Testament, but that’s a conversation for a later date. Now, imagine my surprise when some said that version “wasn’t the best.” You see, this is part of my frustration. The biggest problem with religion and the Bible is the habit people get into of discussing what perspective or what version was best. If the United States Navy can create one, single Standards of Operating Procedures, I’d think my Lord and Savior could create one Bible everyone could agree on.

I’m simply ignorant. This whole journey started as an effort for me to do more to build a relationship with God. I’m not smart enough to know which Bible is “right” and which church is “best.” I have this silly idea the my role in life is to live as close to God as I can, and I figure anyone doing that is on the right track. We’re all human, so I figure none of us is perfect.

This is a story about my journey with my faith. It is my testimony about my efforts to know God better. You are welcome to read whatever version of The Bible you wish. I’d be MOST interested in the opinions of someone who’s read The Bible in its original language, as there’s less room for errors in translation. What I will not appreciate is anyone simply posting comments on how “wrong” this Bible is or how “much better” your church understands it than I do. I freely admit my ignorance, but I’d appreciate perspective and insight, not backhanded ridicule because I don’t read your version of a book we should all agree on as the standard for this particular faith. I will also not appreciate anyone using this post as ammunition against other faiths or persons.  I am me. When I die, I’ll be judged by God. He’ll judge me and everyone else. I TRY to live in His name as well as I can. I’ll neither judge anyone else nor pretend to know anything I don’t.

The other reason for reading The Bible? Well, you see, I grew up in a strange neighborhood. I had a lot of people throw quotes from The Bible at me in a sincere effort to help me understand why, exactly, I was destined to be dammed. I had to have been about 13 at the time, and even to this day I wouldn’t necessarily argue. What’s the point? I’m not God, so I have no say on my admission into his kingdom other than to do my upmost to live in His name. The thing that dawned on me after my time in the Navy is that, a LOT of people are willing to tell you “what The Bible says,” but how many of said people actually read said scripture. In order for me to understand my faith more, in order to speak intelligently and ask the right questions, I felt it my duty to start at Matthew and work my way through the book of Revelation. It’s a start of a journey I mean to continue. I’m looking for answers from a source I know I can put my faith in. Churches, like the one with the man who enjoyed stopping me on my way home from school every day so I could better understand the reasons for my damnation, are full of men. I don’t necessarily begrudge them their belief, but I trust The Bible, the Word of God, more than anything else. (I will admit this doesn’t mean I’m completely prepared to call this a historical document. I don’t wish to start an argument on the subject. This post requires a fair, open, and honest commentary with the context and honesty necessary to have intelligent discussion.)

Well darn, I guess I have to touch on one issue this may bring up. While I’m not ready to deny or accept The Bible as a complete historical record, I have no doubt in my heart (and you’re again welcome to your own beliefs) that Jesus lived. He was born of the Virgin Mary and died on the cross for my sins. There are still other aspects and details I am simply far to ignorant of to make an educated decision on.

What I learned:

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All stock images form Pixabay.

First was that the first books of The Bible are different perspectives of the life and teachings of Jesus. They’re called, as I understand it, the gospels. Each book offers a different perspective of these moments, with some other events focused on more than most. These were the books I felt the most reward in reading. That’s not to say the rest of The Bible didn’t have an impact, but for a man seeking a closer relationship with God, I highly recommend he read the testimony on the life of his son.

Next is the book of Acts, which set up the church and described the Holy Spirit. I watch online sermons recommended by a dear friend, and that church has gone over Chapter 2 of that book quite extensively.

The rest of the book are letters. Testimony from the Apostles about religion, faith, sin, temptation, and walking with God.  I found a good many of these comforts. It’s pretty hard to get wrapped up in your own drama when you’re reading about a guy in prison who’s about to be executed.

What I still need to learn:

Well, yeah, I read The Bible, but I read it, out loud, straight through, one time. This doesn’t make me an expert. Heck, I could express to you the idea of my favorite passage (I write to you, dear children), but I couldn’t quote it directly nor tell you what chapter and verse it was. (Pretty sure it’s 2 John.  Maybe 12?)  That’s when my Navy training came back.

Any former service members (still) reading this? Can you quote any policy? Can you tell me what article in the UCMJ relates to alcohol related incidents? I can’t. Heck, I teach PA and visual policy, and I still can’t do much more than name the two instructions. I don’t think of The Bible as some book you read and then put down saying, “Yep, I got it!” No, it’s a reference book. It’s something to turn to when one needs guidance. It’s a way to learn and better understand my faith. I expect to do a great amount of study. I’m a man of faith, and I’m a man of science and research. I’m of the opinion that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

I’m not writing this to say, “I read The Bible, so now I’m saved.” In fact, as I understand it, reading The Bible, while good, isn’t required. It’s a charging station for the heart. And this is what I found most valuable. I’m a very mortal man with very real temptations and vices. I find any who claim they don’t have such are probably guilty of lying. Rather than avoid the FACT that I sin, I’d rather acknowledge that fact. However, since I’ve started this, I have more strength in matters of Faith.

car-1882691_960_720I described temptation to a friend of mine like a song. It’s a catchy, beautiful, loud melody. Imagine, if you will, that haunting, beautiful, horrible song taunting you, just in the background of your mind. It’s at my weakest moments when the song cranks the volume to 11.  The Bible is a metaphorical pair of noise reducing headphones.

To keep the metaphor, life happens when I pull those headphones off, and that song of temptation (and yes, there is a trilogy I plan to write using this same metaphor) never goes away. Neither does the song of God. The challenge is me. I choose what I listen to. I choose what I play in my mind and hear. The more I listen to the Word of God, the less I hear that other song. Being me, I’ll admit I hear more of the bad song than the good. It’s the rhythm of jealousy. The beat of ambition. The staccato of fear. The bass of pride. The crescendo of lust. I’m surrounded by that song.

violin-2946994_960_720Playing quietly, if I block out all the other songs, is a lovely, single violin. It’s haunting. It’s humbling. It’s beautiful and hopeful. It’s love without bias or condition. It plays most strongly when I read the word.

I’m going to finish reading the Old Testament. Then, I’ll begin deeper study. I’ll cross reference religious material and facts. I’ll ask questions. I do so to feel more certain. I do so to understand. This is my nature. Whatever I do, I’ll never stop seeking until I feel I truly have that understanding. This was just the first step.

Thank you for reading,

Matt

Bob is back! The 2nd Edition of Bob Drifter is live!

Bob is back! The 2nd Edition of Bob Drifter is live!

Greetings all,

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverI’m thrilled to announce the that second edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter is live! After two more editorial passes, two different design runs, a huge lesson in publishing a digital book (which I’ll blog about tomorrow), and a brief wait, my book is back on the digital shelf.  The buy page for the book on my website (linked above) has been updated for the second edition (the audio book won’t change (that was already solid). The paperback SHOULD be out today or tomorrow (I get to look at the printed proof today).  Here’s the link to the Amazon 99 cent buy page.

To celebrate, I have Bob at 99 cents during the month of November. Can you all help me get Bob’s story off to a great start?

A reminder: This is not a sequel! I did an editorial pass, and now I can set the price, which helped. I’ve explained this, but I don’t want anyone to feel ripped off because they bought a book they’ve already read.

For those interested in knowing, there are so many ways to help an indie author get more visibility. This is a perfect opportunity to mention those things. I hope those of you reading this take a few moments to do any of these things. It really helps a writer out.

  1. Buy the book. Sales always help. It’s a customer’s way of showing support so much more than it is an author’s way to make money.
  2. dragon-860683_960_720Read the book. I’ve had a lot of personal friends buy my books. They’re not readers. They love me, and want to support me, so they buy my books, which is great! The next step up is to read it. Now if you’re in the first few chapters and it doesn’t hook you, don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t enjoy, but I always tell people that the biggest thing anyone can do for an indie author is to buy, read, and enjoy the book.
  3. Leave a rating. This takes less than a second, and some people really rely on these ratings. Don’t be afraid of leaving a one-star rating, but I hope you feel Bob or Caught is worthy of a five-star rating.
  4. Leave a review. This is absolutely essential to indie authors, especially on Amazon. The book’s visibility on Amazon is directly related to the sales and number of reviews. This is why some, less ethical, authors by fake reviews (I don’t). The review doesn’t have to be as detailed as one of mine or long. It can be a simple sentence. As long as there’s a text review, you’re helping. Amazon has some strict rules on these. Goodreads is another great place to leave a rating and review. I’m a big fan of Goodreads as it’s the only social media I’m aware of that is just for reading. If you do both, that’s really some next-level support.
  5. Recommend this book to readers you know. Word of mouth is still the best marketing strategy. Most of my favorite books and authors were recommended to me. The only author I take credit for “discovering” is Peter V. Brett, who I discovered  while reading an anthology. If you know someone who reads, and you think they’ll like an authors (my) book, let them know about it.
  6. You can always like and share posts about sales and new books as well.
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All stock art from Pixabay.com.

So those are just some ways to support an author. Please don’t consider this a “direction.” I’ve had a few people ask what they can do, so I thought this post at this time was appropriate. At the end of the day, all any writer wants is for people to buy, read, and enjoy his stories. Many of you have already done that. I can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve already given. I hope those who haven’t had a chance to read Bob choose today to give it a try.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: The Line of Illeniel by Michael Manning

Book Review: The Line of Illeniel by Michael Manning

Line is book two of the Mageborn saga. My review for book one can be found here.

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Image taken from Amazon.com for review purpose under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  In The Line of Illeniel, Mordecai is coming to terns with his status as a lord. But the history of wizards in the world has more catches than he was aware. Forced by his king to take a bond that limits his ability and could get the woman he loves killed,  Mort is struggling to find the truth. Is this bond the only think keeping him sane? Are the voices he hears those of a madman’s fraying mental state? Things come to a head when a neighboring kingdom invades. Their insurgency point? Mordecais’ newly retaken family land.

Character:  Mort is good, and Penny really came into her own. Dorian is still my favorite character by far (and he remains so). This book really helps readers connect with these characters. They’re human, but honorable. Smart, but have weaknesses. This book, to me, does the best job of setting the tone for not just the characters, but how they grown through the rest of the saga.

Exposition: Manning balanced this well. In fact, a lot of the scenes that feel like exposition dumps become valuable later in the saga. The aforementioned info dumps are few and far between. Limiting the exposition (despite the amount necessary when writing in first person) makes this feel like a fast-paced story.

5215279Worldbuilding:  While not quite the book I was waiting for, what this book does is start connecting Mageborn with Embers of Illeniel. Manning lets the deep history of his saga trickling into the story gently rather than beating the reader to death with a history lesson. He also lets the world take shape in a lot of ways. What impresses me most about this story is how gently interwoven the magic system and scope of the world are not the plot and dialogue of the story.

Dialogue:  I’m comfortable saying this is Manning’s best, most natural dialogue in the series. It’s witty, without being forced, and engaging, without being overly dramatic. In fact, one of the more dramatic scenes is undercut Ala Joss Whedon by an endearingly funny  moment. Manning’s dialogue isn’t bad, but I think this story is Manning near his best. (Embers is his best work by far in my opinion.)

Description:  This, and his work with character, is Manning’s strength. It takes skill to weave visceral imagery into a plot. Most writers are blocky with their description, making the act of reading a scene feel like a workout before the reward of a plot. Manning doesn’t do that. He gives the details of the story when they’re relevant, and the information is most appropriate.

Overall:  I think this is arguably my favorite book in the Mageborn series. The last book in the series has an argument, but this was the book that made me fall in love with these characters. While The Blacksmith’s Son wasn’t bad, I think this is the book that truly starts the series. The conflict and plots in this story are truly compelling. It kept me reading when I should have been working or sleeping, which is a great compliment for any book.

Thanks for reading

Matt

The Con of Awesome! What I’m up to this weekend!

The Con of Awesome! What I’m up to this weekend!

13260113_808371919307583_171282834181363032_nHappy AwesomeCon everyone! So this convention has a special place in my heart. They were the first large con to contact me and invite me to their event. I’ve had a panel there every year (like last year) since I became published, and I have one this year as well.  I always look forward to this convention, and I’m excited about what I have going on this year.

First, I’ll have a partner in crime.  Fellow author Andrew Hiller will be with me at the booth, he’s joined forces with me. I read A Halo of Mushrooms, and posted my review here.  It’ll be nice to have someone to sit with and talk about writing with all day.  Andrew and I will be at table P19.

caught-front-coverNext, I’d like to announce a few sales. To celebrate this event, Caught will be on sale for 99 cents from now until the 19th. If you were waiting on a deal, this is your chance. Outside of the electronic universe, the hard cover for The Journals of Bob Drifter will be reduced to $30. The soft cover will be down to $20.  Caught will be it’s regular price of $9.99, but if you haven’t had a chance to grab any autographs from me, I’m bundling the books.  You can buy Caught and The Journals of Bob Drifter together for a total of $25 (with a soft cover of Bob, $35 for the hard cover and Caught). I wanted to re-release Bob before this, but it’s my own fault for giving my editor two books to edit at the same time (I’m selfish really). So reducing the price to Bob is the least I can do for those readers who want to try out my work.

As I mentioned above, I’ll be hosting a panel (actually it’ll be more of a Q & A).  It’s about the Pitfalls of Unwary Self Publishers. That’s scheduled for 5:30 June 16 in room 154.  I hope to see you all there!

AwesomeCon runs from June 16-18.  Doors open at noon Friday and close for another year at 5 p.m. Sunday.

I think that’s about it. I’m looking forward to a great weekend, and I hope to see you all there!

Thanks of reading,

Matt