Why you should read the Nameless series
June 16, 2017 § Leave a comment
I’m an absolutely terrible salesman. But I’m the only salesman I have, and so, I’m going to try and talk up my work here, on my blog, without doing any of the usual self-deprecation or self-effacement I usually do in these situations. The truth is, if I don’t present myself as believing in my work, why would you even be interested in reading it?
And I do believe in my work. I believe in it so much that despite going blind, despite repeatedly having to go in and let them inject me in both eyes and endure having lasers burn holes in my retinas, I made sure I finished these books. That’s how much I believe in it, and how much it means to me.
I’ve been writing a long time. I had a shot at making it back in 2004/5, and I blew it. That’s on me. Now it’s 2017 and I’ve written 3 novels since November of 2015, and I’d like you to buy them. Then I want you to tell all your friends to buy them. That’s not a little thing to ask. What makes me think my books are even worth your time?
Well, frankly, they’re weird. But they’re not trendy weird. When you hear people talking about the ‘new weird’ they’re talking about a literary movement that has produced some really good work. But it’s often a touch more cerebral, and what these books are is essentially a blender that I throw every single occult, pop culture and literary reference I can fit and set it on frappe. These books will show you Santa Claus punching monsters. These books use Cthulhu as a unit of measurement. These books put Tolkien up against Lucas.
These books also star actual human beings with feelings and reasons for their actions. People who love, hate, fear, and their actions are informed by these things. Nobody does something because the plot demands it – the plot unfolds around their actions and motivations. This isn’t because I have some sort of manifesto demanding it, it’s because I don’t know how else to write stories. In my experience even the people who do the most harm and hurt the most people don’t do those things just because they love evil. Most of them wouldn’t even agree they were evil. They do things because they feel they have to in order to survive, or because they’ve gone too far to back down now, or that everything they sacrificed would be for nothing if they stopped. You see it all the time in history – we call the people who did the worst things ‘history’s greatest monsters’ but they weren’t monsters. They were people, just like you and me, and they had reasons.
Those reasons were awful, of course, but that’s the point.
I write about relationships, about gender and sexuality, because those subjects lie at the core of my own life. I’m a bisexual with body dysmorphia and I spent years questioning myself about what and who I was. And I’m not done questioning. The books don’t make a lot of hard and fast “This is the way it is” judgements aside from the standard one of assuming all people deserve dignity and respect but their actions can absolutely be challenged and fought. I grew up Catholic, and while I’m not that anymore, I always have remembered ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ and even as I’ve abandoned the idea of sin itself, I still keep that notion in mind – people doing horrible things don’t stop being people, and there can be a way back for them, if you extend it.
But that makes the books sound like morality tales. They have that element, but the fact is, they’re not stories that exist to teach you how to be a better person. They’re stories with mountain sized monsters getting punched in the face by flying people, where a woman used a magic lasso to fight a spider made of pure darkness, with myths and fables going head to head with monsters and saturday morning cartoon characters. There’s sex and violence and while there’s very little gore, I do deal with the consequences of those things. Nobody fights the Nemean Lion and just skates away from it.
The books ultimately go for fun first. There’s a fairly diverse cast of characters, and it’s a growing cast so more diversity always comes. Some of the secondary characters are among my favorites — I adore Akivasha, I have a soft spot for Stuart, and Bry has become a character I truly love to write. Her story unfolds in the three books and she goes from a victim of someone else’s cruelty to someone who can stand toe to toe with nightmares and come out ahead. She doesn’t have to trade away who she is to do it, either.
I should talk about LGBTQ+ representation here. I think it’s important. I know some people call it ‘forced diversity’ and if that’s you, then you probably won’t like these books. Of the main cast of the book, the two lead characters are a bisexual woman and her genderfluid husband, then there are a gay man, his bisexual boyfriend, two women in a committed (albeit sometimes rocky) relationship, a trans girl growing up, and the only character who is probably straight is in a relationship with a vampire. Oh, and there’s Stuart, who I don’t even know how to classify. None of these characters exists to tick off a box on a list, they are who they are because it fit the character, because LGBTQ+ people exist and they love, hate, fight, fuck and do everything else humans do. I decided in my books where monsters threaten to devour whole towns that showing queer people being human could help ground the narrative in the real.
Telling me “I don’t like forced diversity” is saying “You, Matt, are not a human being” and I don’t agree with that. I’m bisexual, dysmorphic and somewhat genderfluid, so no, this isn’t forced anything. This is the human heart in conflict with itself. Yes, I steal from Tolkien, Lovecraft and Faulkner.
Look, I’ll be up front. Of course I think I wrote a good novel series. If I didn’t think that, what would be the point of any of this? But by this point the three books have acquired over eighty reviews on Amazon, and pretty much all of those are positive. That’s not easy nor is it coincidence. If I have to champion my own cause here, I might as well do so vigorously, and these are books you’re not likely to forget. There’s no meandering here. I promise you, I do not waste your time, because I know that there are a lot of options out there for you and your time is precious. These books have something for you, be it Jem and the Holograms defeating a Hound of Tindalos or a full on brawl between three generations of comic books and the entire Cthulhu Mythos.
Basically, I love stories. I love writing. I love reading. And these books are my love letter to those things. Last year I started to go blind, and even though treatment has slowed the degeneration, it’s still there. These books are my response. They’re my ‘do not go gentle’ and I really, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart think that there is something here that you might love.
Here are links to the online previews for each book on Amazon – Nameless, Heartless, and Faceless. You can buy the books as ebooks or as paper format, and here’s the links so you can select whichever format works for you –
If you haven’t already read the books, give them a try. If you have, tell others every chance you get. Buy them a copy as a gift. You can make a really big difference and help me get the word out, because I wrote these. And I’m proud of them, and think they deserve an audience.