Archive for February, 2008

New Book, New Author, Candy-Eating Fiend!

Posted in Plugs, Speculative Fiction on February 25, 2008 by Matt

My old gaming buddy Anton Strout’s first novel is out tomorrow – Dead to Me hits stores 2/26. Look for the big ol’ cardboard displays!

Dead to Me is described as paranormal detective story full of mystery, deadpan humor and if I know Anton – candy. Okay, there may not be much candy in the book, but there should be. The author has a definite sweet tooth, and I suspect that there are a least a few chocolate stained manuscripts scattered around the offices of Ace Books.

In all seriousness, congrats Anton. I look forward to reading Dead to Me’s sugary sticky pages.deadtome.jpg


My own pox party

Posted in Life on February 25, 2008 by Matt

I avoided the Chicken Pox for 34 years, and let me tell you when it finally catches up with you in a long dark alley – payback is hell.

Sorry about the lack of posting, but last Monday night I came down with a low grade fever that within a matter of days turned into a full blown case of the pox. It’s funny, when I was a small boy I used to envy the kids who got the Chicken Pox – two weeks off school. Sure there was some itchiness involved, but c’mon – two weeks off school!

It’s a whole different scenario when you’re an adult. Four days of fever and chills plus three days of itching. My wife urged me to post a picture of my pox-ridden self here on the blog but I never got around to taking the photo (too weak with fever . . . too . . . weak). So here’s a little visual approximation curtousy of WoW (I think it captures the emotional truth of the experience quite effectively):


The wife left me alone last night with the baby . . .

Posted in babies, Life on February 18, 2008 by Matt

. . . And this is what happened:


Thanks to our great friends Dan and Susannah for taking the missus out of the house for an evening, and Baby Will – I’m sorry.

I’ve just blown my first deadline! Now I’m a REAL writer!

Posted in babies, Life, Powerless, Writing on February 16, 2008 by Matt

So February 15th has come and gone and the first round of editorial revisions on Powerless are still not done. Granted, my editor Joan is terrifically understanding person and therefore the Feb. 15th date was always sort of a soft deadline, but still it’s kind of frustrating.

I’ve decided that books are like babies – you expect them to conform to tidy little schedules and work around the important things in your life, but they have an uncanny tendency to surprise you with all-nighters and painful growth spurts.

Baby Will has decided that sleep is for the weak, and Powerless has somehow grown by nearly two thousand words in the editing process, even though I’ve cut two chapters nearly in half.

I love them both dearly, but . . . c’mon! If anyone knows any great nannies who do freelance copy-editing on the side, send them my way.

Now this is a cool idea

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, YA Books on February 16, 2008 by Matt

You might have already come across this since it’s been Boing Boinged and bounced about the blogopshere, but I think it’s cool enough to repost here:

A convention for middle-grade and YA sci-fi and fantasy only. Tamora Pierce and Julie Holderman are trying to get just such a convention off the ground, and they are looking for volunteers.

Conventions are the one place where strict genre labeling doesn’t bother me – it’s a shorthand way of people of like-interests to get together.  Science Fiction and Fantasy aren’t just emerging in the young adult market – they are flourishing, and I think it would be a terrific opportunity for readers and writers alike.

So if you’re interested, click on the above link and offer to help out.  I did.

Read a Good Book – Help a Writer in Need

Posted in Life, Speculative Fiction, Writing on February 9, 2008 by Matt

I just picked up from Ecstatic Days that that there is yet another freelance writer who needs a little help paying the medical bills. This time it’s Caitlín R. Kiernan, the popular writer of dark fantasy and horror. I don’t know Caitlín personally, but I do know plenty of other writers and artists who’ve ended up in the same predicament. It’s disturbing to see how many successful freelancers are forced to go without health insurance in this country. Too many Americans have to roll the dice against their health – forced to choose between insurance and the other necessities such as rent. Here’s to hoping that whichever party takes over the White House in January ’09, the two sides can finally sit down and do something about this national disgrace.

In the meantime, scoot over to Caitlín’s site and buy a book. A good read for a good cause.

A Must-Read Miscellany

Posted in Miscellany, Uncategorized on February 6, 2008 by Matt

I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. I came to the skill late. I didn’t start reading for pleasure until around age ten or eleven. (It’s ironic, but not necessarily atypical for someone in my profession. )

Sorry to say that throughout much of my boyhood, books were great for building forts for my GI Joes.

Except for my World Almanac phase. Every kid has his quirks, and one of mine was a short-lived obsession with the eclectic mix-mash of trivia and lists behind the yellow cover – god how I loved lists. Still do. I carried a dog-eared and coca-cola stained copy around with me at odd times. I peppered my speech with interesting facts about the cabinet of our 22nd and 24th president, Grover Cleveland (it’s true. look it up in your almanac)

That’s why this book makes so darn happy – Schott’s Miscellany is the almanac to end all almanacs. Oceanic Dead Zones? Check. Swimming the Amazon? Check. James Bond and Drinking? Check.


I’m so tickled with this book that it has earned its own tag. So go get one and let’s exchange useless, wickedly entertaining facts and figures. C’mon, do you know the list of Geipan and Alien Sightings 2007?