I'm pleased to announce that Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock took 2nd place in the Historical Fantasy category of the 2023 Spring BookFest awards.
MATT'S OCCASIONAL WRITING BLOG
Happy International Bagpipe Day! A whole day when we celebrate pipes, piping, and pipers. So make sure you hug a piper today—better yet, buy them a drink. The following is from Nationaltoday.com (I don't vouch for the veracity, especially the claim that Nero played the bagpipes while Rome burned—we all know he played a fiddle, because that's the kind of thing a fiddler would do). Anyway, enjoy the day!
INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY, MARCH 10, 2023
International Bagpipe Day is held annually on March 10. Can you believe that bagpipes date back to 400 B.C., and are thought to have originated from Egypt, with the first players known as pipers of Thebes? Bagpipes are distinct and unique musical instruments that hold a special place in certain parts of Europe, such as Scotland and Ireland.
HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY
A bagpipe is a type of woodwind instrument that consists of several parts including the air supply blowpipe, the bag, the chanter, the chanter reed, and the drone or drones. The chanter is the melody pipe that can be played by the piper, whereas the drone or drones provide a constant note. It has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt.
In the early part of the second millennium, clear evidence of bagpipes began to appear frequently in Western European art and iconography. They were also popular subjects for carvers of wooden choir stalls throughout Europe in the late 15th century and early 16th century.
Andy Letcher and Cassandre Balosso-Bardin co-founded International Bagpipe Day with the International Bagpipe Organization and the Bagpipe Society. Since 1986, the Bagpipe Society has been actively involved in bringing together new bagpipe players in order to preserve the history and practice of bagpipes. Cassandre came up with the idea of organizing a bagpipe conference as part of his efforts to promote the diversity of bagpipes to a wider audience.
The First International Bagpipe Conference, which gathered musicians and instrument makers from all over Europe, launched International Bagpipe Day worldwide. Thousands of pipers around the world now celebrate the day every year, with many local pipers organizing events in places such as Harvard (U.S.), Glasgow (U.K.), Haninge (Sweden), Minsk (Belarus), Iran, and Nigeria.
5 FACTS ABOUT BAGPIPES THAT WILL FASCINATE YOU
1. Varied in materials of construction
They were traditionally made from whole animal skin, often a sheep's skin, but in modern times, are usually made with artificial fabric such as Gore-Tex.
2. It was loved by a Roman Emperor
The ancient Roman emperor Nero was a notorious piper, who is said to have played the bagpipes as Rome burned
3. Once an instrument of warfare
They were originally used to scare off enemies on the battlefield, and are the only known musical instrument in history to have been used in war.
4. It is popular in the U.S.
These days, bagpiping has become so popular that there are more bagpipe bands in the U.S. than there are in Scotland.
5. It is symbolic
Over the years, the bagpipe has become a symbol of mourning for fallen heroes, especially firefighters and policemen.
A would-be lawyer, a deadly captain, and a fortune-teller are on the hunt for a magical lock of hair along the 18th century Atlantic coast. Wildness and hilarity ensue.
With a mix of Patrick O'Brian, Susanna Clarke, and Terry Pratchett, Yonder & Far: The Lost Lock is historical fantasy at its best.
Get a copy today:
Happy New Year!
Feliz Ano Nuevo!
(Yes, I know the "n" is missing a tilde)
Frohes Neues Jahr!
However you celebrate it, however you say it, I hope your 2023 is a joyous, healthy, and prosperous year.
A quick update on the writing front. I'm pleased to announce that I just signed a contract with Montag Press for God of the Godless. This was a novel I put the finishing touches on around the middle of last year. A quasi-historical fantasy (it's set in a fictional country that, if you squint real hard, vaguely resembles the Roman Empire), Godless is a "life story" novel about a young man who gets kicked out of a seminary and is forced to become a gladiator. It's loosely based on a short story I published a while back. I'm particularly excited to once again work with editor John Rak, who has a real talent for shaping these kind of stories. I'll post an update later when we have a better idea of when the book will release.
In the meantime, thanks for stopping by the blog, and once again, Happy New Year.
I'm pleased and thrilled to announce that John Yonder and Captain Far's next adventure will be published by the good folks at Ellysian Press. Book 2 of the Yonder & Far series, tentatively titled The Tarot Tale, has been accepted by my publisher. More strange fae, more deadly battles, more Custom, and the 1800 presidential election set the stage for Yonder, Far, and Mary Faulkner's next exciting tale.
So apparently Amazon has put my epic fantasy novel, The Mountain, on sale. Not something my publisher (or I) had planned, but it's appreciated nonetheless. I don't know how long it will last, but you can get a physical copy of The Mountain for $10.08--more than half off the initial list price of this 700+ page book. Click the book cover image for a link to the Amazon page.
There's a new website that curates "best of" lists for novels called Shepherd.com. Basically, authors create a top-5 list of books (best summer reads set in Iceland, best gothic mysteries with an animal sidekick, that kind of thing). My own contribution--best historical fantasy with a twist of myth and magic--is up now. The link is here.
Check out the latest episode of the Mythbehaving Podcast with yours truly on the hot seat.