Progress report and Indie Wordsmiths Newsletter

Hey, all! This will be another short blog post. I have a lot to do this week, and I need to get started on it.

This month, it’s my turn to write the monthly newsletter for the Indie Wordsmiths. Be sure to check it out if you’re already subscribed to it. If not, go ahead and click here and subscribe if you want the latest information on what the Wordsmiths are doing. And, hey, you’ll even get some freebies and promotional material on occasion. I will be including something special in this month’s newsletter, as well as a bonus sneak peek at the next book in the Edania Chronicles series!

Next week, I’ll be continuing my character profiles, which I’m excited about. My series has a lot of interesting characters, and I look forward to introducing them to you! Let me know who your favorite character is so far in the comments.

Keep an eye out for more information on the second book in the Edania Chronicles series: Escape from Hotel Barbaas. I’ll reveal more as we get closer to the release date (which is still to be determined). I will definitely keep you posted with progress reports.

I’ve also decided to add something fun to the blog (at least it’s fun to me). Every month, I will be discussing a different infectious disease or other significant public health issue. I have a passion for learning about germs, and the immune system’s ability to combat them. I think it’ll be a great time…I mean, who doesn’t like talking about Gram staining and Kotch’s Postulates?

Well, that’s it for this week. Happy reading!

Work in Progress

Hey, all! This is going to be a pretty short post. I’ve got a LOT of stuff I’m working on right now, but I’ll still give you a status update.

This month is my turn to write the Indie Wordsmiths newsletter, which will be sent out toward the end of the month. Be sure to keep a lookout for it if you’ve subscribed. If you haven’t, go ahead and sign up here. You’ll get the latest news on what the Wordsmiths are working on, book releases, and occasional freebies and promotions. All you need to do is sign up, and you’ll get the monthly newsletter!

As for my own projects, I’m making some great progress. My next book is almost ready to send to a great professional editor, which means it’s that much closer to getting published! I’ll have more information about the second book in the Edania Chronicles series in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. I will tell you that the title is Escape from Hotel Barbaas, and it involves Nick, Abby, Kelly and James as they venture through a mysterious hotel in search of the second Ark. But the hotel is not what it seems, and something seems to be lurking in the walls.

I’ll also share something else I’ve been working on: my health. I’ve been dieting and exercising since January, and still going strong. Unfortunately, I hit a snag for two months when the gyms in Ohio closed, but I was still finding ways to exercise (though, I wasn’t nearly as dedicated to it since I didn’t have my gym partner). But, my friend and I are back into the swing of things, and the gym is back up and running! It was a relief that I didn’t fall too far back with my weights and such, and I’m still at the same weight (more or less) that I was at when the gyms closed. As of right now, I’ve lost 43lbs! Hopefully, I can lose another 10 before my next book comes out, that way I can post my picture and not feel like I have chipmunk cheeks.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Until next time. Happy reading, everyone!

It’s Finally June!

It’s finally June! I truly hope that means it’ll stay warm outside. Weather is a little unpredictable here in Ohio…one day it’s sunny and 75, the next it’s -20 and eight feet of snow (a bit of an exaggeration, but still). In the springtime, I always get excited when I see that the bees are out. They seem to know when the weather is going to get consistently warm, and I’ve been seeing a bunch of them buzzing around. For those of you who don’t know me: I love the heat! I can wear jeans in 95 degree weather and be fine with it. However, I whine and complain when it gets under like 65. I’ve always sympathized with the Heat Miser on that Christmas movie the Year Without a Santa Clause, because I never want to know a day that’s under 60 degrees.

Anyway, I think I’ll give you all a status update. I’m making some decent progress on the second book of my series. I’m planning on a mid-late August release, but it may be out sooner. I will definitely let you know!

Speaking of the next book, I’ll be giving some more info on it next week, so keep your eyes peeled! It’s definitely going to be action packed and full of friendship speeches! All I can tell you now is that it’s called Escape from Hotel Barbaas, and it continues the adventures of Nick, Abby, James and Kelly as they search for the second Ark.

My first book of the Edania Chronicles series, Bugged Out!, has been out since late April. If you haven’t already gotten a copy, you can check it out here! It’s available in paperback and as an ebook. For those of you who have read it, show your love for it by leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads! I’d love to know what you think!

I’ll be starting up my character profiles in the next few weeks. My series has a wide variety of cast members…some much more interesting than others (and by interesting, I mean crazy). I’m also going to start an Ask Matthew post every month, where you guys can send me questions, and I’ll answer a few of them.

Until then, Happy reading!

Indie Wordsmiths Video, Memorial Day and My Niece’s Graduation

Hey all! Before I talk about the Indie Wordsmiths video, I’d like to give honor to all of our brave heroes in the military who have sacrificed their lives for the good of the people. I write about fictional heroes that fight the forces of evil, but these men and woman fought true evil and fought for the freedom of all.

And this year, I think it’s particularly important to also give honor to those who serve as doctors, veterinarians and scientists in the military. It’s not just those trained in combat and warfare that should get respect, it’s those who do research. So, here’s a shoutout to all of the braniacs of the military, may you combat this viral threat like true soldiers!

Another thing I’d love to acknowledge is my oldest niece’s graduation. I love you, Taylor, you truly are an inspiration to everyone you meet! You can read more about her graduation here.

I’m so proud of you, Taylor!

Now, on to the video…my fellow Wordsmiths and I have made a video. In it, we introduce ourselves and discuss a few things, such as our respective books, why we got into writing, and, of course, the newsletter. We also give a few shoutouts, so I’d definitely give it a watch! Watch the video here.

By signing up for our monthly newsletter, you’ll get the latest info on each of our projects. You’ll also get exclusive content and occasional freebies, and who doesn’t like free stuff?

Let us know how you like our video, and don’t forget to subscribe.

More news on the my next book next Monday. Until then, happy reading!

Fun News!

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…time to announce the winner of my little contest. Drum roll, please—

And the winner is….Todd Smith. Congratulations! You win a free signed copy of my book!

Now, on to other news. I’ve been hard at work editing the second book in the series, and I think I’m making some good progress. It should be ready to publish mid-July, so keep your eyes peeled. I’ll give you status updates every couple of weeks until then, and I’ll let you all know if anything changes. There will also be a sneak peek or two between now and then, so keep tuning in to my blog for more info.

Here’s a fun announcement involving the newsletter group I belong to. Along with the monthly newsletter, we’ll be doing a video to discuss various topics ranging from our respective books to what made us want to start writing. It should be a fun time, so tune in next Monday for it!

Well, that’s about it for this blog post. I kept this one short and sweet. Until next time, happy reading!

Win a free signed copy of my first book!

I hold in my hands my first published work. A huge accomplishment! Go me haha

Okay, so I FINALLY got my author copies of my book! I can’t tell you how proud I am to be holding my own debut novel in my hands. I have actually published a book, and the proof is right here!

So, to celebrate, I’m going to do something special. If you like the post, I’ll put your name in a hat. The winner will get a free signed copy with a personalized message.

I also want to give another shoutout to the people who have helped make this happen. To Natasja, my good friend and critique partner: You have helped me so much, I can’t even begin to thank you enough. You’ve helped me shape my universe in a way that I couldn’t have done on my own. To one of my best friends, Amanda, who was the very first person to beta-read my manuscript (back when it was a really, REALLY rough draft). To Jenny, another very good friend, who did an absolutely awesome job with the cover. Seriously, thank you Jenny!

Now, on to other news. I am currently working on editing my second novel, and I’m making some great progress. I’ll be sending it to my professional editor within the next couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to get the second book published by mid-late July. I’ll be making progress reports until that time comes, and maybe even throw a little sneak peek before its release.

Next week, I’ll be making an announcement regarding the Indie Wordsmiths. I am one member of a quartet of indie authors who pride themselves in providing good, clean, quality fiction for your reading needs. If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, I suggest you do. You’ll get the latest scoop on what we’re up to, and our latest releases. You’ll even get exclusive promotions and free content from time to time. You can sign up for our newsletter here.

You can also purchase my book, the Edania Chronicles: Bugged Out! by clicking here. It’s available on Amazon as an ebook for $2.99, or a paperback for $11.99.

I will announce the winner next Monday.

Thank you guys, and happy reading!

In Loving Memory of Shadow Porter

It’s been a bittersweet couple of weeks. The sweet part is that my book is finally published and available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. I’ve been working on it for seven long years, and it’s out there for everyone to read. All of my hard work has paid off, which fills me with great joy and satisfaction.

However, it’s with a heavy heart that I had to say goodbye to my dog and good buddy, Shadow. He was the best dog I could have ever asked for, and he will be missed terribly. I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to Shadow’s memory.

I got him as a graduation present. A couple of friends and I went and got him one Summer day soon after we walked the stage to get our diplomas. I chose Shadow out of the litter because of his beautiful eyes and his funny demeanor.

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Shadow the day we picked him up. He was so little!

He was only about 5 or 6 pounds when I got him, such a tiny little thing. But, he quickly grew into the skinny, awkwardly-shaped dog I grew to love and adore. He never got out of his “leggy” stage, and he always looked like a deer whenever he would prance outside to play in the snow (which he had some weird obsession with……I hate the cold and the snow and everything else winter weather related, but he’d spend all day outside in -30 degree weather if you let him).

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Here he is when he was a little older
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Shadow when he was a growing boy.
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He was so handsome, wasn’t he?

He was a friendly dog, but wasn’t necessarily affectionate. He’d have to be in the same room as me, and he’d always sit on the couch right next to me or in my bed. But, he HATED to cuddle. Most German shepherds and huskies loved to cuddle with their parents, but of course I got the only one on God’s green earth that was like “um no…you can love me from right over there, thank you.” He still loved to give kisses and get his butt scratches, but he definitely was not a lap dog.

He also wasn’t a huge fan of other dogs. He wasn’t aggressive or nervous around them, but he was extraordinarily indifferent. Whenever my friends and I would take our dogs to the dog park, Shadow would just sit on the bench right next to me and refuse to go play with the others. Whenever a dog walked up to him to play, he would give them a look that said “I don’t have time for you and your joy, you’re making me nauseous. Go take your foolishness somewhere else.”

Apparently, he also hated when other people were affectionate with their dogs. We were at the vet one time, and there was a sweet lady in the lobby who was talking to her daughter’s dog. She was saying “who loves their grandma? You love your grandma!” and the cute little dog was giving her grandma kisses. Shadow, being the delightful, sweet dog he was, crossed his legs where he was laying and honest-to-goodness gagged. Like…apparently he was sickened by such displays of affection.  

My good friend’s Pitty/boxer mix LOVED Shadow. He thought Shadow was the best thing since Beggin’ strips. He’d always want to cuddle up to him and play and such, but Shadow would have none of it. Every time Rosco would sit next to him, Shadow would grunt and walk away. One time, Shadow was sleeping, and Rosco curled up next to him. It was so cute, and I had to take a picture of such a rare event. But, of course, he woke up before I could snap the pic. He looked over and saw how close Rosco was…so he pushed the poor dog away from him with his awkwardly long legs.

My other good friend has a Chaweeny named Bruce (affectionately called “Brucifer” when he’s being rotten). He would bully Rosco sometimes and steal his toys right from under him. But, Shadow wouldn’t have that. Bruce tried to take his toy. Shadow didn’t growl or bite or run away. Nope, he slapped Bruce into the closet. Seriously, what was wrong with my dog? XD

He actually got along with cats more than he did other dogs. Rosco’s mom also had a cat named Signor Cisco (roll the “r” like a cat purring). Anyway, Signor was the apotheosis of cats. Independent. Sassy. Peed on the most expensive article of clothing that he could find when he was upset. And, oh my word was that cat judgmental! That’s probably the biggest reason Shadow got along with Signor so well. The both of them were just about the judgiest things on the face of this planet! The two of them would sit on the bottom step while Rosco zoomed around the house like a psycho, trying to get attention. They’d look at him, then at each other. You pretty much knew they were having a conversation about how dumb this dog was because all he wanted was attention.

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When Shadow was developing the art of judgement

  I also had an outdoor kitten that I found in the neighborhood for a little while, and kitten and Shadow were best buds. When Shadow was out on his run, they’d chase each other and play around, and Shadow actually let the kitten sleep next to him. The kitten was a weird one, too. He would sit there and purr while Shadow continued to chew on his face. Very…different relationship, but that was Shadow. He wasn’t your typical dog. He was socially awkward, just like his daddy.

Going back to just how judgmental my dog was. If there was an award for the world’s judgiest doggo, Shadow would be the undisputed champion of the universe. He’d mastered the side-eye before he was even potty trained. People didn’t believe me when I told them my dog’s judgmental. “No, dogs can’t be judgmental!” They quickly changed their minds when they met Shadow…who always greeted them with a “you’re gross, why are you touching me?” look.

When he was feeling extra, he would lay back and cross his front legs and seriously glared at you. If he had a human’s voice, it would have sounded just like Simon Cowell. He also hated it when people baby talked him. So, naturally, I did it all the time. He’d just lay there and stare at me like “do I look like a child to you?” Great times…great memories.

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Shadow’s face whenever I’d baby talk him…he looks so happy haha

Despite the fact that he was judgey and apparently allergic to affection, he was still the best dog I could ever ask for. He has been there for me for a vast majority of my adult life. He would lay at the foot of my bed and want belly rubs when I had a stressful day. He loved to play with his Kong. He was truly a blessing, and I will never forget him.

There is a saying that says “some angels come on four legs”, and it’s a saying that I am partial to. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my buddy all these years. He will always be in my heart.

Never take your pets for granted. They truly are a gift from God, and every moment you have with them is precious. This blog post is dedicated to all the four-legged family members out there. Thank you for being there!

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This was his least judgemental face when I tried to take a selfie with him…
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Look at him…….he really was the perfect dog for me
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The last picture I took of Shadow. He was feeling cuddly for once in his life.
Goodbye, Shadow. I love you, buddy ❤