Cover Reveal | Evergreen

Greetings, all!

I’m thrilled to reveal the cover for my upcoming YA post-apocalyptic drama, Evergreen. Cover art by Alexandria Thompson. I’m expecting a release date near the end of the month or early Jan.


Harper Cody used to worry about the SATs or a getting a new laptop for Christmas… but now, she only wants to keep her little sister alive.

At 5:59 a.m. early in September, life as she knew it came to an end with a nuclear flash ninety miles away in Colorado Springs. For two months, her family sheltered in the basement of their home, surviving on whatever canned goods Dad could scavenge. Passing evacuees told of a safe haven in the mountains, but her father refused to leave. He thought their home was safe… until a gang of looters kicked in the door.

Four years ago at thirteen, Harper won trophies for competition shooting, but killing a man pointing a gun at her is nothing like nailing targets at a range. Hesitation cost her parents’ lives. With no other options, she grabbed her little sister and ran away from the only home she’d ever known into a world she no longer recognized.

The promise of safety in Evergreen gives her hope, but unless the girl voted sweetest in her class can find the nerve to kill, Harper—and her kid sister—are as good as dead.

New Release | Citadel: The Concordant Sequence

Out Now!

Citadel: The Concordant Sequence – a post-apocalyptic young-adult novel

Eleven year old Kiera Quinn is sure she’s having a nightmare. She doesn’t believe a nap that started safe in her suburban bedroom ends in an empty wasteland. She doesn’t believe everyone she’s ever known may have never existed―and she definitely doesn’t believe an old man who tells her she will resurrect the world.

After he finds her crawling from a vent, the odd shaman clad in junk and old computer parts claims she is ‘the child born of the earth,’ humanity’s only chance to survive. As crazy as he sounds, being alone in a vast desert frightens her more than a kindly stranger. Desperate and scared, Kiera humors him, hoping her bad dream ends soon.

Fate has a funny habit of getting in the way of destiny. When an opportunity for a safe home presents itself, Kiera jumps at the chance. New parents and a new town―even a super-primitive tribal village―feel like the best place for a child to be, not off saving the world at the ramblings of a nutty old man. Adjusting to life without video games isn’t easy, but her new mom and dad give her what her old ones couldn’t: time and attention.

Alas, Kiera’s discovery of a secret within ancient ruins causes the ruler of the distant Citadel to regard her as a threat in need of disposal. Her only chance to keep her new family is to believe a crazy old man wasn’t so crazy―and that saving them won’t destroy the whole planet.


 

Paperback Giveaway | The Forest Beyond the Earth

Hi all –

Quick post this time. I’m giving away two paperback copies of The Forest Beyond the Earth via Amazon. Click https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/927a50f68a6182a8#ts-en to enter.

I will have them onhand soon if anyone would like to buy a signed copy straight from me ($10 + shipping). If anyone is interested in a signed copy, please email me (mcox2112 at gmail).

Happy reading (and good luck to those who enter the giveaway!

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