The Universe is out to get me!

It’s odd how the Universe will randomly fill my schedule with thousands of things to do right when I think I’m finally going to have a week or two to work on my projects.

About 8 days ago, I thought I was going to have a ton of free time to finish Andrew Doran 3 (seriously, how long is this Davenport guy going to take to put that out), a September deadline for an anthology story, and a chance to prep for NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all.

Well, in an effort to combat the Universe’s attempts to thwart my efforts, here I am providing an update.

I’m around 60% done with Andrew Doran and the Scroll of Nightmares. I am taking (and have taken) a break from that in order to hit that Anthology deadline. I’m hoping to finish it quickly enough to get back to working on Andrew Doran to finish it before NaNoWriMo. If I can get it done before the end of October, than Broken Nights 3 will be my NaNoWriMo project. Assuming that I can’t (waves at Universe), I’ll most likely be finishing up Andrew Doran and the Scroll of Nightmares in November.

In other news, the star of my life, my wife, Ren, has started an awesome podcast called “Are We Still Afraid of the Dark?” In it, her and her co-host, Maria, watch and review every episode of the 90’s show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” They offer commentary, reviews, and dissections in a comical manner and I produce the show! Check it out here. https://www.stillafraidofthedark.club/

Apple Link

Spotify Link

–MD–

Tales of the Al-Azif

My Works-In-Progress page isn’t entirely accurate.

In September 2017, I made an interesting realization: I was associated with authors who write the same thing as I did (Lovecraftian Adventure) but we all wrote our plots during different eras. This realization also popped into my head right after I watched another of those CW crossovers that I love so much, so it didn’t take much for me to begin reaching out to my friends and explaining this vision.

C.T. Phipps helped me organize and collect the authors while David Hambling helped us come up with the McGuffin.

Enter the Al-Azif. The ancient first draft of Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, written in the language of the insects and more powerful than even Alhazred could control.

Tales of the Al-Azif cover5

Tales of the Al-Azif is a crossover collection of Lovecraftian adventure written by a circle of trust in much the same way that Lovecraft and his own circle built the Mythos. This is a labor of love and a project that all of the authors involved put their hearts, souls, and insect-fueled magic into.

It’s coming out soon, so you won’t have long to wait for the history of the Al-Azif as told by C.T. Phipps, David Hambling, David Niall Wilson, David West, and Matthew Davenport as you get more stories involving your favorite Mythos heroes, including Harry Stubbs, Andrew Doran, and John Henry Booth.

Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer and keep you up to date!

NaNoWriMo 2018: In Review

NaNoWriMo is my annual holiday. Every year, I put forth an effort to actually succeed at finishing around 50,000 words in one month. Unfortunately, I failed to reach that goal this year.

I did not fail NaNoWriMo, though.

The good news is that I’m not alone. A lot of people across the world failed to meet their 50,000 word quota for the month. A lot of things come up to distract us from this effort, all easily placed under the header of “Life.” In my situation, I spread myself too thin. I chose to write on three projects at the same time, two of which were collaborations, and because of this my cadence broke and I became lazy.

That’s alright as well, though.

NaNoWriMo is meant to remind you about your writing commitments. It’s meant to help you self-analyze your writing habits and learn more about yourself in the process.

When I first started doing NaNoWriMo, I failed two years in a row to hit that magical 50k, but those first two years were a huge success. They were a success because, before that, I had only ever written around 15,000 words to any one story. In my first NaNo, I wrote around 25k, surpassing my old standard and showing myself that it could be done and that such an insurmountable seeming task wasn’t difficult if I just approached it one piece at a time.

In my second year I was able to feel the success that came with having a completed novel. It was indescribable. A piece of art that was in my hand, crafted and molded to the best of my abilities and able to project images directly into someone else’s mind. Stephen King said it himself in “On Writing” when he compared writing a book to the closest thing we’ll ever achieve to telepathy. I was feeling that power from the moment that I typed “The End.”

Success during NaNoWriMo has little to do with hitting that magical number. That number is just there as a goal for the masses to aim for, but at the end of the day we’re only held accountable to ourselves.

While I was distracted by multiple projects and phony excuses to myself, that wasn’t any different than my October had been. The difference was that I wrote 12,000 words in two different titles that I’m working on. I also finished an anthology piece. It was a productive month that only served to highlight a weakness of mine that I had forgotten I had. In an effort to produce as many titles as I could this year, I overbooked, underperformed, and failed to provide. It sounds like failure but it’s the furthest thing from it.

NaNoWriMo moved me forward on projects that I had and showed me what I have to do to finish titles in the future.

I hope you all had a successful NaNoWriMo, no matter what your word count was.

Writing with a Newborn

The first thing that everyone, without exception, does when you tell them that you’re expecting a child is offer advice. Sometimes they’ll disguise it as a story from their times as a parent or caregiver and other times they pretend they heard you ask them just so they can tell you. It’s a little annoying, but it’s harmless and, to be completely honest, I’m certain I’ll do it to someone else when the time comes (or I already have!).

For writers, it’s no different. While Ren and I received, and continue to receive, everyone’s general opinions about fussiness, diapers, and corporal punishment, my writer friends have only ever said one thing:

“Good luck finding time to write.”

Now, I’ll admit that my first several weeks with my beautiful bundle of joy was exhausting. She’s perfect in every way, but she is still a baby, and baby’s in those first few weeks can make every day feel like you’re walking through mud. Exhaustion is real, my friends.

BUT! Once she started to learn us and we started to learn her everything began to gel and I started to wonder what the heck all of my writing friends meant. I managed to meet two anthology deadlines without any problem.

While I still haven’t written anywhere near as much as I would have hoped to have written by this point in 2018, I will proudly admit that it has nothing to do with my daughter. My procrastination in my writing has been entirely the same as it was before she was born.

“Hey there, Mr. Novel-in-Progress! How are yo- Oh, look a (Netflix show, phone game, Youtube video, cat that needs petting, or butt that needs scratching)!”

Writing is one of my favorite things to do, but my biggest problem in writing has always been me. Once I sit down and make myself start typing, it flows easily and I can get a lot of words down. It’s that initial “making myself sit down and start typing” that’s the hardest part.

And that has nothing to do with my daughter.

To that point, there has been adaptation. I don’t expect to sit down and get four straight hours of writing in the middle of a Saturday. Instead, I adapt. I write when she naps, or I write when she’s gone down for the night. In contrast to the myth, having a child doesn’t require 100% of your day. She does require 100% of your love and attention when she’s awake, but if she’s napping next to you looking all adorable, there’s no reason you can’t pop open your laptop and let her be your writing muse!

I’m only speaking from the position of a parent who’s only child is under 6 months old. It’s likely that as she ages and and her needs change I will find less and less time to write.

The good news is that I don’t believe any of that.

I believe that as her needs change I’ll adapt my writing schedule and style. I’ll still procrastinate but I’ll also evolve as my daughter grows.

“Good luck finding time to write,” is a nice sentiment, but it implies that my not writing is her fault. That’s not true at all or we’ll have to blame Netflix and Cat-petting as well. Nope, my schedule and how I find time to write are entirely on me. I’m responsible for when the words get on the page, and I’m responsible for when they don’t.

That being said, I totally wrote two more chapters in the next Andrew Doran novel last week. You’re welcome.

I love my Peanut. Her and Ren are the best Muses a guy could ask for!

–MD–

A Great Andrew Doran Review!

Special thanks to Adam for this great review!

The Statement of Andrew Doran

Matthew Davenport

Macabre Ink/Crossroad Press

In the vast majority of stories set in the Cthulhu Mythos, or within the broader genre of Lovecraftian or Cosmic Horror, it is a trope that if any character – whether protagonist, antagonist or some part of the supporting cast – comes into contact with a being from the Mythos, or any of the magic that comes from the void between dimensions that said beings inhabit, then there will be an incredibly high price to pay. That price is usually something to do with one’s sanity being slowly (or rapidly) peeled away as the true face of the uncaring cosmos is revealed; a soul being corrupted or completely destroyed; or, at best, some combination of the two that doesn’t happen immediately but is cursed to haunt the character until their shortened and untimely death in the near future. That’s all well and proper, and such an intrinsic part of Lovecraft’s writing, and the genre that has expanded upon his writings, that I would be concerned to see a story in the genre that didn’t include it; it wouldn’t be a Cosmic Horror story, or something inspired by Lovecraft.

However, I must admit that it is nice to see a piece of Mythos fiction that features a protagonist who is fully aware of the myriad dangers of the void, but who is still skilful and disciplined enough to be able to effectively wield those powers without immediately turning insane or being mutated into a fleshy blob that can only scream telepathically. Sometimes it’s a good thing to buck the general trend of a genre, as long as it’s actually done properly – an excellent example is the Midnight Eye series of novels by my favourite author, William Meikle, which features a Glaswegian private detective who becomes embroiled in Lovecraftian shenanigans and can occasionally pull off a success without his mind being irreparably shattered. Another great example is the book that I’ve just finished reading, and is therefore the subject of this review – The Statement of Andrew Doran by Matthew Davenport. The titular Doran is a professor, mythologist and occultist who divides his time between studying various elements of the Lovecraftian deities and the cults who worship them, studying forbidden texts to understand the basis of the evils done by the deities, and fighting anyone foolish enough to try and use them for evil. He’s a fantastic creation, unashamedly in the style of iconic and archetypical adventurers such as Indiana Jones – someone not afraid to use guns, swords and his bare fists at times to fight foes trying to end the world through Lovecraftian means – not to mention a hefty dose of void magic when appropriate.

Set in the early 1940s during the Second World War, with the United States on the brink of joining the war against Germany and Japan, The Statement of Andrew Doran sees the professor pursue the Necronomicon when it is stolen from Miskatonic University by agents of the Nazi regime, fighting his way across Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany in an attempt to stop the nefarious Traum Kult from unleashing the apocalypse on Earth. Fast-paced, action-packed and extremely well-written, by the time I was half-way through the novel I was enjoying myself more than I have in quite some time. Because while we get fantastical, almost cinematic action sequences (a fight against undead Nazi soldiers while fighting through a heavily-armed convoy is a particular favourite of mine), and some of the genre’s obligatory dream-like sequences where entities such as Cthulhu are witnessed, there are also some intriguing ideas ventured by the author.

For example, the Necronomicon is stolen by the Nazis from Mistaktonic University at the beginning of the novel, and there’s an interesting relationship between Doran and the university administration that’s really only hinted at by Davenport. I rather enjoyed the idea that the senior faculty left the dreaded, forbidden tome on open display for students to read, in order to see what they would conjure from the book and they could take advantage of once the unfortunate student was driven insane or killed. Davenport also weaves together a number of genre archetypes, such as creatures, cults and deities, to evoke a world in which the theft of the Necronomicon, and the desperate efforts to get it back, are merely on plot amongst many being undertaken by cultists and other groups and individuals. This is brilliantly illustrated by an early section set onboard a trawler heading from the United States to neutral Spain, with Doran encountering some oddly fish-like men who are guarding a mysterious set of packages heading for the Spanish coastline, and having to disrupt their plot in order to proceed with his journey.

Doran himself is also an interesting and well fleshed-out character. Although he starts off as an obvious homage to Indiana Jones, with a desire to keep forbidden tomes in museums (or preferably all to himself) and an eager readiness to punch foes in the face, the author slowly but surely gives him more depth as the novel moves forward. We get to see how his efforts to get the Necronomicon back affect him, both physically and mentally; and his relationship with a supporting character that appears about a third of the way through the book is incredibly well done, doing an excellent job of subverting the often stale genre trope of ‘suspicious companion who doesn’t seem quite human.’

Cheerfully pilfering the best and most exciting elements of the genre – the Necronomicon, Cthulhu, Herbert West – and deftly bringing them together, Mr Davenport has written a fantastically pulpy, fists-swinging, guns-blazing, magical lightning-hurling action-adventure that readily proves that not all Mythos tales need to be grim, foreboding and often achingly depressing in order to be successful or authentic; Davenport shows that it is possible to use all of the tropes of the genre, and be faithful to them, while still producing an incredibly enjoyable adventure. The Statement of Andrew Doran is a credit to both the author and the publisher – once again the fantastic Crossroad Press – and I cannot recommend this heartily enough; I greatly look forward to reading the sequel and any other books that come in the series.

via The Statement of Andrew Doran – Matthew Davenport – Review

First Draft of Satan’s Salesman is Complete!

All I can say about it is: “It’s about damned time.”

I originally had the idea almost two years ago as a kind of joke with author Kathryn Daugherty, who’s sales pitch for her books is “A penny from Heaven.” When we sat in booths near each other and I would see people ignore her and keep walking, I’d say “It’s better than a Dollar from the Devil,” and rarely guilt anyone into doing anything.

While in another really boring sales meeting at my former employer, I had the idea that every sales industry is kind of the same, and they probably all have to deal with the same issues, from boring meetings to cold call rejections. That thought led to the humorous idea of a man who’s part of the Soul-Trading industry and Satan’s Salesman was finally conceived.

Well, the first draft is done, and I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s the synopsis. If you want to be a beta reader, comment and I’ll email you an unedited first draft to let me know what you think.

 

Expect one HELL of a Deal!

Shane’s a damned good salesman, but when a promotion that he spent years earning gets taken away only hours after getting it, he realizes that sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do.

But that’s not good enough for Shane.

Confronting the person that he believes is responsible for his situation, Shane learns that there’s another, quieter, sales organization that he’s competing against:

Perdition Investments.

At Perdition Investments the products are whatever you want the most, but the cost is your Soul.

Shane has a chance to use his excellent skills in an entirely new way, but at what cost? Can you lose your soul by trading people for theirs? What’s the price for success?

Shane’s about to learn that, in these contracts, the Devil is in the Details…

Writing update

To be entirely honest, my writing has suffered since October. NaNoWriMo wasn’t anywhere near the success that it usually is for me. My only real excuse is distraction and blogging (you’re welcome, by the way), which is it’s own distraction.

That being said, I haven’t stopped planning out writing projects and thought I would give an update on those and where they are with proposed completion dates. Nothing like a deadline to give you something else to feel guilty about ignoring. Of course, the goal is to get these done way before their deadlines. But…best laid plans of mice and men, yadda yadda…

  • Satan’s Salesman: Deadline 12/25/2017

This book has taken me a long time to write, and I’m finally nearing the end of it. I think the slowness of my writing this story has been entirely due to already knowing where it ends and how much of it is very close to real work that I’ve done (not selling souls, but selling in general). I’ve hashed it all out with multiple people, I’ve talked it up and ironed it all out, and the story is done as far as my notes are concerned. I just need to sit down and finish it. Another 10-20k words and that should do it. Aiming to finish this one by Christmas.

  • Super Secret Mythos Project: Deadline 03/30/2018

Not a lot that I can say about this right now. It was born out of a collaborative discussion with friends/fellow mythos buffs. We’ve drawn parameters, we’ve set the schedule, and now we’re bringing it home. Stay tuned and prepare for awesome Lovecraftian writing!

  • Andrew Doran Book 3: Deadline ASAP, but 04/26/2018 (I’m racing the birth of my first child with this one)

I started Andrew Doran Book 3 a while ago and was serializing it on the blog Shoggoth.net. I reread those first two chapters and wasn’t entirely excited about the direction it was headed. I’m going to re-use a lot of what’s in them, but changes are necessary. Book 3 will follow Andrew and Nancy as they hunt for the Book of Eibon. Most importantly, I’m super excited to be diving back into Andrew Doran’s head.

  • The Multiverse Protection Bureau: Deadline 08/30/2018 (never had a kid before, all dates after Andrew Doran are subject to adjustment)

I had this idea about a month ago and fell in love with it almost immediately. The idea is pretty simple, X-files/Men in Black, but with Parallel worlds. The idea is to have fun playing with the science fiction concept, while also being able to play in multiple genres. It’s a series that will entirely be fun to write as well as an exercise in genre hopping while staying safely within science fiction. This will be a series.

  • Broken Nights Spin-Off: Deadline 2018

If you haven’t read Broken Nights: Strange Worlds, than you haven’t met Coven yet. Well, she’s a kickass witch who is home to the souls of her entire coven. One person, 8 witches, all in one body. And she’s too kickass to be a cameo in Jason Night’s story. So I’m bringing her to her own book with my brother’s blessing.

  • Broken Nights Book 3: Deadline 2018

Mike is writing notes RIGHT NOW… Right, Mike? Right…?

Broken Nights: Strange Worlds by Matthew & Michael Davenport

Now Available!!!E Book Cover II

Six months have passed since the Guardian saved Darden Valley. The city’s path to recovery is well underway as the citizens gratefully accept their new protector as one of their own, but for every crime the Guardian stops, two more take its place as the city’s criminals try to make a name for themselves against Darden Valley’s champion.

With new abilities and a computer system that acts and sounds like his departed sister, Jason Night is struggling to adapt to this new world without letting his emotions destroy the momentum he’s built for himself.

As he finally begins to put the pieces of his life back together, Samson arrives. Stronger than any other man and with unbreakable skin, Samson is a warped and twisted vision from biblical legend. Samson’s arrival heralds a new threat to Darden Valley. A supernatural threat that one man with a few clever gadgets is no match for.

Magic is real and the Guardian is powerless to stop it.