About Matthew Cox

Author, dreamer, and keeper of cats.

Review | How to Date Dead Guys by Ann Noser

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I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories and themes of magic. While I’m betting I’m not the target audience for this book, I found the story well executed and engaging. I stayed up too late reading as I’d lost track of time and wanted to read ‘just one more chapter’ before bed.

For me, characters (and character development) are the most important parts of a story. In How to Date Dead Guys, Ann Noser presents us with Emma Roberts, a meek College freshman who is socially inept, painfully shy, and absorbed in her own world of safe solitude.

Her comfort zone is rattled when she falls in crush with a guy, Mike, but he soon meets a tragic accidental death when trying to swim in a treacherous river that cuts through the campus. Since she was with him that night, and unable to stop his drunken attempt to swim, she blames herself.

Before that, her roommate’s sister had dabbled in witchcraft by casting a love spell, which Emma didn’t much believe in until it seemed to work. Overcome with grief and guilt, she swipes the spell book and tries to bring him back. Her spell ‘misses’ and brings back other people who died in the river. The appearance of the spell book did seem a bit strange – though I got the sense there is a deeper reason for its mysterious appearance (don’t want to spoil, but it seems as though it shouldn’t have been where she found it) which I hope will be fleshed out in one of the next books in this series.

Over the course of the story, Emma’s encounters with the various drowning victims cause her to evolve as a character. She finds courage and purpose in helping others, and the Emma at the end of the book is not the same girl you meet in the beginning.

Ann Noser has done an adept job weaving several subplots together into a well-paced narrative that carries the stories of the victims as well as Emma along to a satisfying conclusion. An excellent debut novel and the start of a series that looks to be quite interesting―part ghost story, part crime drama.

If I had to gripe about anything in this book, it would be minor. Her transition from not knowing thing one about witchcraft to summoning the dead souls back seemed to happen a bit fast. It might have been fun to see her experimenting with some learning―though, that may also have changed the tone of the book, which was overall serious and emotional. Her aptitude with magic felt a little hastened, however the mention of her seeing ghosts early on in life suggests she possesses some kind of latent power. If she already saw the dead, perhaps she could have called them without the spell book and only needed that as a tool to ‘focus her desires’ into the effect. Perhaps this will come out more in the next book.

On a technical note, (perhaps this isn’t an issue to most readers, but it stood out to me) the dialogue attribution made use of frequent awkward and explanatory tags. However, the story’s pacing and the life the author breathed into the characters (even the dead ones) prevented it from being a huge distraction.

The characters felt believable and real, from Emma to the strange cop that seems to know more than he should, to the kindly old retired nurse. The quotes interspersed throughout were a nice touch as well, that built on Emma’s character traits. All in all, this is a wonderful start to a series that looks like it will be a lot of fun to read. I look forward to seeing where Emma Roberts goes from here.

Caller 107 Giveaway

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I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate the nomination of Caller 107 for a Dream award!

 

Two people will each win a signed paperback copy, and one winner will receive a signed copy plus a $25 Amazon gift card.

Caller 107 Giveaway / Contest

Free stuff!

In celebration of the nomination of Caller 107 for a Dream award, I’m going to do a giveaway/contest.
( Please vote for it here: http://www.buildinthedream.com/p/2015-dream-awards.html?m=1 )

One person will receive a signed paperback copy of Caller 107 as well as a $25 Amazon gift card. Two other winners will each receive a signed paperback copy.

The giveaway is open to anyone who has purchased an e-book copy of Caller 107 from December 1st 2014 through January 31st 2015.

Caller 107 on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00M0O7JKI

To enter, send an email with proof-of-purchase to mcox2112@gmail.com between now and January 31 2015. This could be a screenshot from Amazon, forwarding the confirmation email, or a photo of your e-reader with the Caller 107 cover on it.
After Jan 31, winners will be selected at random and contacted by email.

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2015 Dream Awards | Caller 107

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Caller 107 has been nominated for a 2015 Dream award in the Young Adult category. I would greatly appreciate anyone who would take the time to click the link below and chip in a vote. I’m floored by the nomination, considering this story began as a dream I had some years ago. I woke up, raced to the computer, and wrote it down — but tucked it away, doubting anyone would want to read it. The great reactions in reviews and  chats that I’ve had with people who have read it have touched me, and made me feel more the fool for waiting so long.

http://www.buildinthedream.com/p/2015-dream-awards.html?m=1

Chronology Anthology

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It’s almost here!

Curiosity Quills is releasing their yearly anthology of short stories soon. It recently went live on Amazon for preorder here:

http://amzn.com/B00QQO3M18

My contribution, Innocent Deception, joins many talented writers in a collection of short stories that I am humbled to be part of. I’ve had the pleasure to read Draconic King, The Room Below, and Whitechapel thus far, and they were amazing. (Short stories that leave you wanting to read ‘the rest of the novel’ hit the right buttons as far as I’m concerned.)

Contents:

– Draconic King, by James Wymore
– Wind-Up Hearts, by Stan Swanson
– Flight of the Pegasus, by Darin Kennedy
– That Which Is Hidden, by Julie Frost
– Whitechapel, by Andrew Buckley
– The Lair by, Tony Healey
– Signs Unseen, by J.P. Moynahan
– In The Clutches of the Mummy Prince, by B.C. Johnson
– Bait and Witch, by J.P. Sloan
– Inmate # 85298, by Andy Rausch
– Lava, by Piers Anthony
– Strange Flesh, by Katie Young
– Wampus Cat, by Scott Nicholson
– Yours Until the Ink Dries, by Jordan Elizabeth
– The Room Below, by Wilbert Stanton
– The Comeback, by Tara Tyler
– The Bull, by J.R. Rain
– After-Party, by Mark Woodring
– The Unattended Life, by J.E. Anckorn
– The Colorado King, by Nathan L. Yocum
– Gookie Visits Her Moma, by G. Miki Hayden
– Above the Clouds, by Richard Roberts
– Innocent Deception, by Matthew S. Cox
– Limited Liability, by Matthew Graybosch

Book Signings

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Upcoming book signing events in NJ:

Friday November 21, Menlo Park Mall in Edison from 7pm to 9pm.

Saturday November 22nd, Freehold NJ B&N, from 12pm to 2pm.