Coming Soon | Divergent Fates Anthology

I’m pleased to announce the Divergent Fates anthology. It’s in the works and will be available on a (tentative) release date around mid-June.

(Cover by SA Hunt)

Loose Ends by Matthew S. Cox

With the mystery of the killer dolls behind her, Agent Kirsten Wren struggles with nightmares of what almost happened. She hopes for a few days to collect herself, but a false lead comes back to haunt her.

Last Flight by JS Hughes

Rahleigh, a shot-down reconnaissance pilot struggling to find water in the Badlands saves a feral boy from marauders. The child becomes Rahleigh’s mission, but something isn’t what it seems.

Snake Oil, A tale of the Badlands by JP Sloan

Life in the Badlands is cheap, if hard-earned. When a lone traveler visits the settlement of Jericho with fertilizer for their struggling crops, the town sheriff must decide if trusting a stranger (a misstep that cost him dearly in the past) is worth risking the town’s safety. Facing another starving winter, the choice seems clear… but risking the attention of vicious local warlords may spell doom for Jericho.

Prophet’s Wake by Wilbert Stanton

They left Cassie Black for dead, stranded in the middle of the desert with no hope of survival. After a chance encounter with the mysterious Prophet who heals her wounds, Cassie has one thing left to do, find her old crew and get revenge. Unfortunately, the Children of the Lost Cowboy and a being known as The Sentience have other plans in store for her. What’s a girl to do when all she wants is to stick a knife in her old boss’s neck, and fate insists on calling her a savior?

The Old City by Matthew S. Cox

Althea is determined to make Querq her home. She works to put aside her fears, clinging to the courage necessary to protect those she loves. The Old City lurks beyond the town’s walls, off-limits to children due to the dangers of creatures and ancient structures. When some local boys break the rules and get hurt while exploring, she doesn’t hesitate to help them―even if it means risking her life.

Stance-No-Stance by Robert J Defendi

Dachi is a samurai, a professional duelist, and a pacifist, guarding one of the most powerful men in Japan. But when he discovers that the someone is experimenting on the lowest caste members of society, how will he navigate conflicts of honor, duty, justice, and morality? And what does justice even mean when society grants the high the right to commit heinous acts on the low, and even questioning your superiors can be a capital offense?

The Contractor by Mark W. Woodring

Retirement was great, but an unexpected job offer was too much to pass up. Unfortunately, Patton forgot that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. He should have stayed retired.

Special Project by James Wymore

Min-gun lives for hovercar racing in the Korean underground until gangsters get involved and threaten the life of the racer he loves.

Field Test by Patrick Burdine

Few Mexican-born commoners manage to rise far in the Allied Corporate Council, but Manuel has spent years playing by all the rules, covering up his heritage, and even adopting the Euro name Manfred. An assignment to infiltrate a resistance cell and destroy it from within offers a chance at recognition, if it doesn’t erase his psyche.

Maestro’s Requiem by Matthew S. Cox

Nina Duchenne is adjusting to her new life with a doll body and a position with Division 9. Amid one of the darkest cases she’s ever worked, she finds a surprising glimmer of light for her dreary soul.

Sins of the Father by Benjamin Sperduto

Dmitri was a loyal citizen of the Allied Corporate Council, a modest man of modest means who knew how to keep his head down and his mouth shut. But everything changed when a routine Citizen Management sweep led to his beloved daughter’s arrest. Stripped of citizenship and cast out of his home, Dmitri struggles to survive on the broken streets of post-industrial Russia. When a chance encounter brings him into contact with a burgeoning resistance moment, he must decide just how far he’s willing to go to atone for a lifetime of inaction.

So… I wrote an LGBT YA Fantasy.

 

So… I wrote an LGBT love story.

A YA fantasy where two girls fall in love in a kingdom where such relationships are frowned on.

I’ve written 34 full novels now as well as a bunch of short stories, and I can’t say I’ve been as excited (or as nervous) about any of them as I am about The Eldritch Heart.

Two or so years ago, I was at the day job and I overheard someone (I still don’t know who it was, merely a voice floating over cubicle walls) complaining in earnest about how “disgraceful” it was that Disney put out a movie with two girls “doing lesbian stuff.” Of course, this particular example of genius was talking about Frozen, which has nothing whatsoever to do with two girls in love. (I didn’t bother to insert myself into the discussion to point out that they are sisters in that story.) However, hearing that did get me thinking about the lack of those kinds of stories. I got the idea to write a “princess story” where the princess falls in love with another girl instead of the handsome prince everyone expects her to marry. I jotted down a couple of early ideas for a plot – arranged marriage the princess doesn’t want any part of, a servant girl she’s close friends with, running away, some magic going on, etc. I had a bunch of other projects on the table at the time (writing and editing) so I set this file aside.

Eventually, my writing schedule opened and I found myself staring at this file again. And I’m thinking to myself: How would people react to a cis man writing a princess story where two girls fall in love? I hesitated, unsure if I could do it justice.

Enter a beta reader.

At request, I’m going to be anonymous here… but there is a woman who has done a fair amount of beta reading for me. As we exchanged more and more emails and got to know each other as “internet friends” tend to do, she mentioned that her eldest daughter had recently come out to her after a long period of being terrified to tell anyone. There are still people in their circle who don’t know, and that is the reason for the vagueness here. Anyway, when I heard how the daughter had such a harrowing path to walk leading up to her decision to finally tell her mother the truth – all the fear involved… that made me decide that I needed to at least try to write this book.

So, I pulled open that little list of notes and added to it, fleshed out the characters and their motivations, the kingdom, and the storyline.

Magic… check.

Fantasy creatures… check.

Two kingdoms at war… check.

Once I had the chapter outline done and revised a few times, I sat down and started writing.

And something happened… for a while, I stopped worrying how people would react to me trying to tell this kind of story and got engrossed in it. Eldritch Heart became a tale of two people deeply in love with each other but so afraid of losing the person they love to hatred they can’t bring themselves to speak their true feelings. When, finally, the moment comes for the characters to be in a position where they can no longer keep silent, that scene where they admit their feelings for each other got me misty-eyed. Every time I read over the draft during self-edits, publisher edits, and final proofread, that scene gets me.

Something even cooler followed. When I finished writing the story, and finished polishing it up enough to let beta readers have at it, I sent it to the woman who I mentioned before. I admit, I was a bit mischievous about it as I did not tell her what kind of story it was. She figured it out pretty quick and I could practically feel her grin over the internet. She asked if the daughter could read it too, and of course (while biting my nails) I said yes of course – she’s the whole reason I decided to write it.

A week or two later, I hear back that the girl adored it… even read it twice (a rare thing according to her mother). The best part, she said she “could totally relate” to several parts of the story.

Feeling like a million bucks… check.

Still nervous… yeah.

Why? Because some people are assholes.

But, I’ve realized… I have no right to be worried about how people might react to a book with LGBT characters written by a straight guy. There are people out there who LIVE that, and they don’t have the separation from the hate of ‘just writing a book.’ It’s their identity, who they are, and who they’ve been afraid to show the world.

So, I am no longer nervous about this book.

I’m excited.

And if it resonates with even one person in that situation, I will be grateful for having reached them.

Happy reading,

-Matt


Eldritch Heart page (goodreads link here)

#Fantasy #Young-Adult #LGBT