Dead Weight 2

I mentioned in a previous post that I made my debut novel, Dead Weight, free for one day through a partnership with the popular service BookBub. The promotion was new, interesting, and successful. Nearly 20,000 people downloaded the book in less than 24 hours, which is wonderful exposure. Lots of new reviews, nearly all of them positive, have since filtered in. And my inbox has seen an influx of emails from readers, most of whom asked when the next book in the series is coming–some a little nicer than others.

To be clear, Dead Weight is a self-contained story. It doesn’t require a sequel.

Buuut I really had always planned to come back to the universe with another book and possibly a third if there was more to tell. That’s still the plan.

I’m a bit of a scatterbrained writer, though. Most of the last year has been spent on Sophistication, which is also a self-contained novel with the potential for more books. There will definitely be more to come for Miyuki and friends. First, though, I’m deep into Degenerate, which I suppose you could call my homage to the classic mystery and horror genres, although it doesn’t fit snugly into either one and, in fact, often lives outside both. And I still want to write The Deep, Dark, Down after that. Maybe. Aaand I’ve been kicking around pages for a book tentatively titled Grandpa’s Computer.

You see what myself has to deal with here? I honestly don’t know how I put up with myself sometimes.

All of this to say that if you’ve landed here looking for answers about Zephyr’s next move, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. I apologize, but the truth is that I’m an undisciplined writer who chases the new shiny things in his mind. Eventually, however, the sparkle wears off and I go back to my old heroes and mysteries. I’ll do my best to make the wait worth your while. In the meantime, though, if you liked Dead Weight, consider checking out Sophistication now and Degenerate later this year.

 

Where Do You Find the Time?

I’ve written two books and I’m into my third, which is what someone like Stephen King farts in a couple months. But even so, one of the questions my friends, family, and neighbors ask most is, how do you find the time?

Easy answer.

I find it in the dead of night. When my wife and kids have gone to bed. Exhibit A:

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Please note the subtle arrow and the time. Nearly 1:40 am.

This is when writers write when they can’t devote themselves to the craft. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. But the dedicated ones persist.

Early 2019 Updates

It’s Saturday and I’ve had a couple drinks. Seems like a good time to update all three of you on my life and work.

Sophistication

Sophistication is out pretty much everywhere. It should also be available on Audible, but the book keeps failing the company’s volume checks. My voice artist also mixes the audiobooks and the poor guy has remixed and re-uploaded it back to me three times now. Whenever it fails, I have to log back into Audible and re-upload 90-something files one at a time. I’ve done this so much now that I go to bed dreaming about Audible’s upload directories.

Hot.

Anyway, the audiobook really is so damned fun and I can’t wait to get it out so that a few people can experience it.

Meanwhile, the readable book seems to be earning lots of praise from both critics and readers alike, which is wonderful because you just never know how this shit is gonna go. I half expected people to despise every word and there may yet be people who do. Sales are slow, but steady, and I haven’t done any marketing beyond some social media posts. I’ll start in on that soon.

Dead Weight

Remember my first book? It was all dystopian and shit. Well, first off, it’s sold well thus far. Several thousand copies, which may not seem like a lot outside of the books industry, but I’m told that’s pretty good for self-published authors. I’ve been trying to get the site Bookbub to feature Dead Weight for more than a year, but they kept rejecting it. A couple weeks ago, however, Bookbub finally accepted it for featuring later this month. Pretty cool because the site reaches millions of folks.

Degenerate

It’s cooking. I’m 10,000 words in now, which, based on the length of my previous two works, means I’m about one-twelfth through. I’m going at a faster pace than I usually do, though. I think I’ve written about this, but Dead Weight took a half decade to write and Sophistication took about two years. Lots of procrastination involved in both of these works, of course. I started Degenerate for real a couple weeks ago and I hope to be done in a few months. Six months at the longest. I really think it’s manageable. If so, that’ll be dramatic progress for me.

(Fast forward to the end of this year and I’ll probably be 20,000 words through.)

The other bit is that I really like where the story is going. Mason Alexander is black man in a racist world. He’s plagued by general anxiety disorder and crushed by the stresses of day-to-day life in Silicon Valley. And he’s starting to see things that shouldn’t be there.

When I first started writing this, I said to myself, now Matt, you just wrote a pretty raunchy book so maybe take it down a notch for this one. But turns out I’m just a sick asshole, I guess, because if it stays on track, Degenerate is going to make Sophistication feel tame.

Next update, I’ll show off two book covers for Degenerate, both fantastic in my opinion. Obviously, much more to come on this one in the coming weeks and months.

SFWA

All sci-fi authors want into the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America organization, but gaining admission is particularly challenging for new authors because you have to sell a fair amount of books before they’ll even consider you. I’m delighted then that Dead Weight cleared the hurdle and I’m now a member. It’s a little surreal to be in private message boards carrying on convos with some of my all-time favorite authors. Super humbling. Incredibly cool. Ridiculously useful. And another achievement unlocked as I try to break into this weird, fickle industry.

 

Kirkus Digs Sophistication!

So here’s the deal, people. If you’re an author, you’re always thirsty for a positive review from Kirkus Reviews. It remains the most reputable outlet and premier source for book reviews, which is why needy a-holes like me bite their nails and pace around their houses for weeks when they learn their books are under review.

Kirkus is also known through the industry to be pretty unforgiving, if not downright harsh with its reviews, particularly those from self-published authors. I’ve heard agents say, “Well, yes, Kirkus destroyed my client’s book, but it’s still an honor that they reviewed it.”

So when Dead Weight, my debut novel, made it through Kirkus with a mostly positive review, I counted my blessings and figured it would be a happy anomaly.

Now, though, Kirkus just published its review of Sophistication and I’m thrilled to note that overall they really, really liked it.

Some choice quotes form the review:

“Casamassina’s (Dead Weight, 2016) prose is voice-driven and inflected with numerous details of his cyberpunk-meets-Comic-Con vision of the future.”

“His attempts at snark often come across more misanthropic than perhaps he means them to—a viral video is described as spreading across the internet like ‘runaway Gonorrhea at a cheap motel’—but he occasionally reaches moments of lyricism.”

Lyricism!

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“The plot is well-paced and quite riveting, and once the storylines of the various characters begin to intersect and the scope of the conflict reveals itself, readers should become thoroughly invested.”

“While the narrative is bloody, profane, jocular, and angst-ridden, an unexpected warmth pervades the work that will likely keep readers with it until the end.”

“An ambitious and mostly successful sci-fi tale with a bit of social critique.”

I mean, right? Right? Thanks Kirkus!

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/matt-casamassina/sophistication/

Sophistication is Out!

Hey.

Look!

On Amazon. iBooks. Barnes & Noble. Kobo. Other various places.

Sophistication is out!

Yes. I just yelled that. And I don’t like exclamation marks, so you know this is a really big deal.

Take your pick below:

Amazon Kindle (eBook)

https://tinyurl.com/yahybtef

Amazon Paperback

https://tinyurl.com/ydcrk8rm

iBooks

https://tinyurl.com/y7vk9ffw

Barnes & Noble (eBook)

https://tinyurl.com/y7ow3umb

Barnes & Nobile Paperback

https://tinyurl.com/y7al2ky4

Kobo

https://tinyurl.com/y7mbfffc

And there are probably other storefronts I’m forgetting.

Note that the Audible audiobook is about 70% finished and will debut sometime during the end of December or early January. Really can’t wait for that one to hit.

Oh, Look: You Can Pre-Order

What brings home the holidays better than a raunchy, violent, cynical book set to the backdrop of near-future Silicon Valley?

Coming to your fireplaces and trashcans December 18, ya’ll. But seriously. This was a fun one to write and I’m happy it’s finally coming out.

Look out soon for more details on the print and audiobook versions, both well underway and also coming December 18.

 

Holiday Update

Ah, the trials and tribulations of an author. The manuscript for Sophistication, my second bookis done, sitting, collecting dust, glaring at me. Can’t really blame the stupid, inanimate stack of paper, either, because I’m hardly holding up my end of the bargain. I made one real attempt to secure a publisher. It was perhaps the biggest publisher, and I worked with them for about a year on the first version and then two revisions. Then they basically told me that it was just too damned violent. And I don’t know how to change that without fundamentally breaking the book.

So I’ve been learning to program in Unity, closing deals at work, overdecorating my house in Halloween shit, dieting, exercising… I bought a new iPad Pro. That’s cool, right? None of it, however, is querying agents and publishers, which is what the fat pile of words in one corner of my living room demands.

It’s time to start into the slow, tedious, stressful, hopeful, heartbreaking, excruciating process of pitching the book again. I’m just not sure I possess the patience. My plan at this point is to fire everything in a scatter-shot query blast and see if anything hits. I’ll give it a month.

At the same time, I’ve decided I’m going to ready the novel for self-publishing, just in case. That means one final professional edit. Print formatting. And my favorite part, working with a voice actor on the Audible / audiobook version. I liked the work Joshua Nicholson did for my first book, Dead Weight, so I’ve already chatted with him about Sophistication and he’s on board. Even after I warned him with apologies that it’s much raunchier in every respect.

So here’s the deal. If the all-encompassing query bomb finds a target, Sophistication will debut sometime next year via traditional publishing avenues. And if not, it will be self-published on December 18, 2018 by the highly reputable partnership of Matt Casamassina incorporated.

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Meanwhile, I’m starting into my third book, Degenerate, at the same time. I was thinking I might pile onto NaNoWriMo, but that would require some level of dedication and consistency, so I opted myself out. Still, I expect steady progress because I have every intention of finishing this book quicker than I have any other.

Redraft in a Photo

If there was a formula for any book or revision, it would probably look something like this:

Imagination + research + concentration + determination + repetition =

Another way of writing it:

Early mornings + late nights + heartache + fear + doubt + persistence =

IMG_2535.jpg

So this goes back to a publisher on Monday. I think it’s in a much better place than it was before. Hoping the gods agree.

Oh Hiii, Guys!

Turns out I’m still alive.

A bit quiet here then because there’s been lots of change behind the scenes.

New job. New hours. New summer schedule. New clothes.

Do new clothes count? It’s a lie, anyway. Damn it. I need new clothes.

Due to this job thing, which is interesting, challenging, fun, and promising–all things that jobs should be–this pretty much sums up the writing for the last couple of months:

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Even so, the second book is in the can. Is that an expression? (Just looked it up and yes–yes, it is.) You might assume I meant trashcan, and I won’t correct you because that’s where potential publishers may put it. But for the purposes of this post, it’s finished. And I don’t mean finished in the dead sense, damn it. I mean it in the healthy, breathing, kicking, alive sense.

I think I promised that I’d be done with the third book by this time. That’s cute, isn’t it? I make a lot of promises, most greater works of fiction than any of my novels. What I will report is that the dust surrounding my life hasn’t yet settled, but the big explosion preceding that settling has already rocked my world and soon enough I’ll be able to see across the street again. No idea if that imagery works–I just mainlined some cold brew coffee at 10:05 p.m. so that I could start (yes, start) writing for the night–so you’ll just have to pretend you followed me.

Third book cometh. It’s about an old colleague. It’s way raunchier than my previous novels. It’s gonna be fun.

I will report back here at some point before I die with news of Sophistication’s release date. It’s really nothing like Dead Weight, and I’m excited about that.