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Author: Matt

Matt (MG) Herron writes science fiction thriller novels and nonfiction how-to guides. His first novel, The Auriga Project, was published in 2015. His first nonfiction book for writers, Scrivener Superpowers, was published 2016.

When he’s not bending words to his will, Matt organizes Indie Publishing Austin, a local Meetup for writers and authors. He also likes to climb mountains, throw a frisbee for his Boxer mutt, Elsa, and travel to expand his mind.

Brand new book shop, open for business!

Hey folks! I just wanted to let you know that I opened a brand new bookshop tonight.

Now, for the first time, you can buy signed paperback books straight from the source!

How do you find this lovely bookshop? Two easy ways:

  1. Click “Shop” in the main menu on mgherron.com (top right)
  2. Head straight over to my Facebok page for M.G. Herron, and look for the “Shop Now” button, as demonstrated below

The coolest part of this is that I have only a VERY FEW copies left of the first edition of The Auriga Project, and Tales of the Republic (the original title for my novel, The Republic):

I suspect they won’t last long. So check out the shop, and order soon to get your books before Christmas! We’re fast approaching the deadline.

Buy at M.G. Herron’s book shop »

Jab jab jab…

Knocking out one thing after another this weekend. It began with a bunch of personal errands yesterday. I reported to jury duty for the first time, picked out a (crappy) new healthcare plan for 2018 (they’re getting so expensive), and took my car to the shop for an oil change and checkup. The Wrangler needs more work, unfortunately, but I’m hoping it’ll be covered by Jeep as a known issue.

Then today was writing and other not-very-exciting business and marketing stuff. The fun part came when I started putting together the ebook edition of Boys & Their Monsters, for which I need to write a proper introduction this week.

This book is just a collection of short stories but it also feels like a milestone. My first collection of shorts in very specific genre, all with a similar authorial voice and tone, even while having unique characters and situations in each story.

Three years ago, a book like that was nothing but an outline in the fog. Now, it’s a technicolor vision.

I should have the cover to share with you soon. The book won’t take long to publish, if I get my act together and write that intro this week.

Glad to have caught up on a lot of stuff this weekend that, while not necessarily urgent, was weighing on my mind. Feels good to have a lot of it out of the way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got less than a month to publish a collection and finish writing a novel. Stay tuned.

One begins to see Herbert’s essential themes…

“…one begins to see Herbert’s essential themes. One of his central ideas is that human consciousness exists on—and by virtue of—a dangerous edge of crisis, and that the most essential human strength is the ability to dance on that edge. The more man confronts the dangers of the unknown, the more conscious he becomes. All of Herbert’s books portray and test the human ability to consciously adapt. He sets his characters in the most stressful situations imaginable: a cramped submarine in Under Pressure, his first novel; the desert wastes of Dune; and in Destination: Void the artificial tension of a spaceship designed to fail so that the crew will be forced to develop new abilities. There is no test so powerfully able to bring out latent adaptability as one in which the stakes are survival.”

– Timothy O’Reilly in Frank Herbert (Recognitions)

Originally published by Frederick Ungar, October 17, 1983. The whole critical biography of Frank Herbert (216 paperback pages) is also available online at oreilly.com.

Illustration by Erik Shoemaker.

Systems Thinking

The last few days have given me pause and reason to reflect on the systems I’ve built around my writing business.

There’s a constant tug of war between what wants to be done and what needs to be done, and frankly I’ve been dropping the ball on some of it lately.

(I’m trying to keep a little perspective, too. How much has changed in 4 years!)

Fortunately, that has led to some other realizations on ways I can change and grow, and it’s my conviction now that the business—not to mention my level of anxiety and ability to perform at my peak—will be better for it.

I’m grateful for all the people who have been there to talk it through with me. Who have listened to me patiently as I figure it all out. You know who you are.

Still so much to learn. Still so much to do. I’ll spend the evening reflective but grateful that I get to spend my days making up stories for fun and for fun companies.

Even knowing that I’ve got a long way to go to get where I really want to be.

Catching up on publishing tasks

Spent this afternoon getting caught up on publishing tasks.

I started by updating my books page. Several stories needed to be added. It filled out pretty nicely.

Here’s what it looks like now—everything I’ve published so far in one place! Pretty amazing to see how I’ve accomplished in a few years by focusing on one project at at time.

I also updated the book pages for each of my novels. They’re using a better layout now. Check them out here and let me know what you think…

Next, I recently pulled a few of my stories out of Kindle Unlimited (Amazon only), so I got to publish The End of the World, Magick Mirror, and The Door Below on the rest of the ebook retailers—Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and a few other smaller retailers that I can reach using Draft2Digital (an ebook distributor). I put those tasks off for too long, so it’s nice to have them done.

Last, I worked on revising and improving the blurbs for my novels. I still find writing short, punchy descriptions of my books very challenging, but they’re not going to revise themselves, so I gritted my teeth and worked it for a while. I’ve got more to do there, but I did manage to make some progress today.

All of this on top of writing 1400 words on Translocator 3 this morning, and I still feel like I only made a minor dent in my “to do” list!

Still so much to do! I’m going to take it easy tonight, so I attack the list again with fresh eyes tomorrow morning.

Tactical writing advice if you’re stuck in the middle of a novel

There’s a lot of theoretical advice for writers out there, but not nearly enough written on practical matters.

The actual how-to of writing fiction.

When I was invited to write a piece for Natasha Lane’s blog, I decided to focus on the practical and wrote about 5 Tactics Novelists Can Use to Rescue Themselves from the Soggy Middle—which is where I often find myself mired down most often.

These are 5 tactics I rely on when I get bored, lost, or stuck in the middle of a book. They’re each useful at at different times and in different situations, but these tactics made the list because I return to them time after time.

Perhaps you have already felt bored, stuck, lost, or at a complete dead-end when you’re working on your book.

This is a signal that you’ve reached the soggy middle.

Read the rest of the article »

Centurion: A Post-Apocalyptic Story

I’ve got a new story out today! Originally part of a science fiction anthology, Centurion is now available as a standalone ebook (for a mere 99 cents—I’d charge less but they don’t let me.)

Here’s a little bit about the story…

Centurion

Centurion ebook cover

New planet, new problems

Josu and his father trade up for a second chance at life by emigrating from a dead Earth to the Alpha Centauri system.

But their new role as planetary pioneers presents its own challenges.

One of which is that on this wild, waterlogged world, they always have to watch each other’s backs.

How dangerous can a little fishing trip be? Josu is about to find out.

Buy on Amazon Buy on Kobo, iBooks, Nook


Hope you enjoy it.

This story will also be included as part of an post-apocalyptic short story collection I’m putting together to release in December called Boys and Their Monsters. It will collect all the post-apoc stories I’ve written in the last year and a half into a single volume.

It will also mark my twelfth consecutive publication. My goal this year was to publish a new book or story every month and I’ve nearly done it. The finish line is in sight. Just in time to set bigger, badder, better goals for 2018.