Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Happy Birthday, Jolene!

Today is Jolene Haley's birthday. My dear friend, my writing partner, and one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

Jolene and I have known each other for over 7 years now. What started as a mutual love of horror and admiration of each other's work, became a friendship unlike any other I have had in my lifetime. 

From a writing standpoint, what I treasure most is not the words we've written together that have seen the light of day. It's the hundreds of hours of conversations, and time we have spent together in the worlds we have created, and the ones we are still creating. We have lived in those worlds. We share relationships with our characters that no one but us will ever experience. They are uniquely ours, and that is truly a gift.

From a friendship standpoint, Jolene is the most supportive friend I have ever had. She is the standard I measure myself against when it comes to being a good friend. It's an impossible standard, but she inspires me to always strive to be the kind of friend she is. 

Today is a day to celebrate Jolene Haley, but really, every day is a day to celebrate Jolene. She is one in a million.

Happy birthday, partner!!!

P.S. That pic above is from a trip to Toronto we took with our team at work last summer. I was lucky enough to work with Jolene for a year, and it was one of the best experiences of my professional career. 


Monday, July 1, 2019

Use Camp NaNoWriMo to Get Your Writing Routine Back in Shape

Happy first day of camp, everyone!

July is here, and that means the month-long writing adventure that is Camp NaNoWriMo kicks off today. For those who aren’t familiar, Camp NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge that takes place in April and July, and spun out of the original National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which is held each November. The Camp NaNo events are more flexible—you can set a smaller overall word count goal, and work on any type of writing project you choose (as opposed to just novels).

My NaNo Experience

The first time I participated in NaNoWriMo was almost twelve years ago. In November of 2007, I took up the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month—and I actually did it. I wrote the draft of what would later become the first novel in my horror series. I didn’t return to NaNoWriMo again until a few years later, but have participated several times over the past decade, hitting my 50K goal in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. I’ve also done the Camp NaNo events over a dozen times, setting various word count goals, eight of which I hit.

I fell short of my goals several times during NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo events, but I always come out of them with a good chunk of words, and something even more important—a tuned-up writing routine.

Getting Back to Basics

The simple beauty of the NaNo events is they force you into the habit of writing every day. More importantly, you get into the habit of writing freely, as there is not time to polish every phrase, sentence or paragraph when you are trying to hit an ambitious word count. You must send you inner editor on a vacation for the month. It’s very difficult to get that editor out the door, but once they are gone, the words will flow like never before.

I cannot recommend the NaNo events enough for anyone who has to write regularly as part of their job. We all get in a rut with our writing at times—we lose focus, we pick up bad habits, we get overwhelmed with projects and deadlines—the list goes on. The NaNo events give you a chance to hit the reset button, and focus on the basics:

  • Establish a daily writing routine. Make the time and write the words.
  • Write freely. Draft first, edit later.

So, go sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo at, and set whatever goal you want. You can also join a cabin and group up with other writers for moral support and lots of fun along the way! And the Camp NaNo events are a great way to dip your toe in the NaNo pool before diving in for the big event when November comes around.

I’ll be posting a few progress updates about my own 2019 Camp NaNo experience over the course of the month.

Happy writing!

Friday, June 28, 2019

It Came In the Mail: NIGHT OF THE CREEPS Deluxe Limited Edition

I am not really one for collector's editions, which is mostly because I do not have room in my dork cave for any more stuff. But I do make exceptions, and when I saw there was a Night of the Creeps Deluxe Limited Edition, I pre-ordered it faster than you can "Thrill me!"

Today, it arrived--and it's beautiful:

I'm a big fan of the original artwork, but this new slipcase with art from Devon Whitehead is just gorgeous. And of course, the two-disc set with both the theatrical and director's cut, as well as tons of extras is great. But let's be honest--the reason I bought this set is for that sweet, sweet NECA-designed Ray Cameron action figure. It comes complete with pistol, shotgun, and a couple of beers.
Lest anyone forget, Tom Atkins is one of my all-time favorite actors, and his character in Night of the Creeps is the inspiration for Detective Ray Atkins, a main character in the Woodsview Murders series that Jolene Haley and I write together. A couple of years ago, I got to meet Tom, and give him a proof copy of Harrowed, the first book in our series. Not only was Tom amazing in person, but he actually read the book and took the time to email me and let me know how much he enjoyed it.

So, this collector's edition holds a very special place in my heart, and now Ray will be watching over me as I work on the final chapter of the Woodsview Murders with Jolene.

Oh, and if you've never seen Night of the Creeps--get on that. A true classic.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Power Chords Podcast: Track 41--Guns N Roses and Gygax

Opening Act: 
Dave Mustaine battling throat cancer
Dave Ellefson releasing new book and album in July (
Steven Adler injury
Krokus farewell tour
New Fiction Syxx album out now
Matt’s Asia book coming soon

Ear Candy: 
Guns N’ Roses: Chinese Democracy (2008)
Gygax: High Fantasy (2019)

Six Degrees of Frankie B.

Comin Atcha Live:
Dio Returns

Bonus Track: Fiction Syxx--Monster in the Myst
From the new album Alternate Me, out now on Melodic Rock Records. You can find more info at

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Power Chords Podcast: Track 40--Bon Jovi and The Brink

Opening Act: 
Zakk Sabbath to re-record Black Sabbath
New Saxon live album
Dio documentary
Bruce Dickinson book tour
Graham Bonnet performing Down to Earth

Ear Candy: 
Bon Jovi (1984)
The Brink--Nowhere to Run (2019)

Comin Atcha Live:
Last In Line

Rockversation: Andrew Freeman
Matt spoke with the Last in Line frontman at a recent show, as they toured in support of the new album, II.

Bonus Track: Save Goodbye 
Form The Brink’s new album NOWHERE TO RUN, out now on Frontiers Music SRL.

Thanks for listening! If you're subscribing on iTunes or Google play, please leave us a review, as it will help spread the word about the show! You can find more news, reviews, and discussion at You can also hit us up on twitter at, and email us at