Oct 142015
Autumn Leaves

Photograph by Jennifer Smith-Mayo

Here I am in the midst of a cool but sunny day in fall, my favorite time of year. In our rural pocket of Maine, everyone is busy with the tasks of the season, gathering and storing and tightening and tidying and buttoning up.

Our garden is all but put to bed. The garlic is planted, as are dozens of tulip bulbs. Tomatoes and basil are but fragrant summer memories, and only a few persistent beans, peppers, and squash hang on. The kale, chard, and spinach seem quite pleased with the cooler temperatures (I’m with them).

Many of our neighbors work at night. Barred and horned owls call across the valley, then wing low, snatching up scurrying field mice. Coyotes yap and yip along the ridges all around us, giddy in the cool night air. The whitetails snort and stomp, and scavenge our windfalls. We don’t mind, there are plenty for us all. We’ve been picking apples for weeks and the pantry shelves are filling with jars of tangy applesauce that will taste great come February.

One of my favorite fall pastimes is reading outside, a cup of hot coffee at hand. If you enjoy stories on the spookier side, the sort late autumn brings, I can shamelessly recommend a couple I’ve written–Myths and Mysteries of New Hampshire, which offers more than its share of strange and startling moments. The second is Haunted Old West, a collection of all-too-true stories of chilling locales across the Old West.

Or perhaps you have a favorite book you like to return to this time of year. One of mine, Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls, is a powerful story about a boy and his dogs and the love they have for one another.

Another of my fall reading indulgences is poetry (a year-round enjoyment, if I’m honest). Autumn, in particular, is the perfect time to read Robert Frost, Donald Hall, and Edward Hyland, three New England poets whose work feels as fresh as the first bite of a crisp, fall apple.

Ah, but what a day we have today. The gray squirrels dip and sway on the sunflower heads as if they were amusement-park rides, and the maples and birches do their level best to astound me with each look I sneak out the window. I’m not getting much work done–and I don’t mind one bit.

Okay, back to it. Happy autumn to all!

Matthew P. Mayo

Aug 152015

Sherlock Holmes and The Folly of Flight

I am pleased to announce that Gritty Press (ahem!) has just released my novelette, SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE FOLLY OF FLIGHT. Check out that amazing cover art by Jennifer Smith-Mayo her own self!

This aeronautical adventure of high-flying proportions teams master detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart sidekick, John H. Watson, M.D., with wily French dandy, master thief Arsene Lupin.

Are they too late to foil the formidable Lord Ruddy’s murderous scheme? Will a famed French aeronaut’s plans for the ultimate flying machine fall into the clutches of Germany’s notorious Count von Zeppelin?

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE FOLLY OF FLIGHT is an action-packed novelette filled with airships, intrigue, murder, swordplay, global espionage, fisticuffs, romance, and more!

Make haste … the game is afoot!

Available now: Kindle | NOOK | Kobo

Aug 062015

Faith in Winter by Edward Hyland

In June I had the honor to contribute an introduction to a book of poetry, Faith in Winter, by a gifted writer and dear friend, Edward Hyland, a man I’ve known for close to thirty years. My wife, photographer Jennifer Smith-Mayo, was also asked to contribute to the book, as Ed chose one of her photographs for the cover. The honor to us both is even more important now, as Ed passed away recently.

From an early age, Edward Hyland was an impressive fellow. He gave his first poetry reading for the Boston Globe Book Festival at the age of sixteen. A year later he attended Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference as one of its youngest attendees to date, studying under Robert Hayden, Miller Williams, and novelist Harry Crews. He went on to study with Paul Jenkins, James Tate, Charles Simic, and other notable poets.

Ed worked in human services with developmentally disabled individuals for more than thirty years. He leaves behind a wonderful family: a wife, son, and daughter, and more friends than anyone I’ve ever known. I miss our frequent wide-ranging phone calls and occasional get-togethers over a pint (or three) of Guinness. I’m a lucky man to have known Ed Hyland.

The good folks at Many Voices Press have set up a fine tribute page at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithinwinter, with links to the book for sale. You can also find the book here: http://www.blurb.com/b/6354570-faith-in-winter.

If you are a fan of top-notch poetry from a masterful writer, I am confident you will find much to like in this book.

Here is an excerpt, from the introduction, about Ed’s writing:

Hyland writes for himself, trusting that his concerns, his themes, his divulgences are familiar to many. His work is at times deceptive in its simplicity, flamboyant wording eschewed in favor of clear language, the tongue of his people, good, kind, hardworking folk who give all without reservation. Yet beneath that welcoming surface, his poems are a wonderful construct, an interdependence of working parts crafted over weeks, months, and years. Ed’s poetry is accessible to all who care to spend time with it. It does not require a skeleton key, appendices, or annotations. It requires the reader to be present. The poems do the rest.

Aug 042015

My new book just bribed its way out of the hoosegow and headed straight for the casino (after knocking over a bank)! Why would a book behave in such a manner? Because it’s called …

HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers! Yep, it’s 320 pages of greasiness in which I explore, poke, and prod the lives and lies of dozens of slimy cheats and oily baddies of the Old West.

HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West's Sleaziest Swindlers


But wait! There’s more! As an added bonus, I am honored to be today’s guest contributor at the dandy site Wonders & Marvels.

In my post, I explore the very reason why I enjoy the company of scalawags. Head on over there if you’re curious … and be sure to enter the drawing, as the good folks there are giving away five copies of … wait for it …

HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers!

This oily book is out now and available in paper, ebook, and soon in stone tablet (no, really … trust me).
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s

Jun 252015

Get Teague! A Gritty Press Short Story … of Redneck RevengeTo kick off the sizzling summer season, Gritty Press has just released my short story, GET TEAGUE! It’s a tale of redneck revenge! Yee-haw!

White-trash dimwits Judd and Kurl set out on a drug-fueled mission to track down the man they blame for their addictions — they aim to GET TEAGUE! And they aren’t about to let anyone stop them, until they cross paths with a crusty old mechanic and his baggy full of strange blue powder….

Fans of Elmore Leonard’s bumbling baddies and wise-cracking weirdos will find themselves right at home in this 6,700-word romp as Judd and Kurl lurch their way through their latest escapade, baying at the moon and white-knuckling down the highway to GET TEAGUE!

For less than a buck, you can find out where these two drug-addled dim-bulbs are headed. Hop in, and pass me the corn chips!

Available now: Kindle | NOOK | KOBO

Jun 022015

Shotgun Charlie

Well, not really. But my newest Western, SHOTGUN CHARLIE, is officially live and off the leash today. It’s a burly heist, chase, and buddy novel all in one. With a dollop of ‘aww, shucks’ on top. (Because everything’s better with a dose of humility. Except this post.)

SHOTGUN CHARLIE, available now … everywhere!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Indiebound

Apr 232015

Shotgun Charlie

Ha! Just when you thought it was safe to leave the house … my latest action-packed Western rides into town on June 2! SHOTGUN CHARLIE, another for the Ralph Compton line, is a prequel to my 2013 novel THE HUNTED. This one takes place back when reader favorite Big Charlie Chilton was still a stripling, and brings him face to face with hard characters and harsh circumstances that earn him a nickname he does not like….

Big for his age, young and impressionable drifter Charlie Chilton is taken in by the gruff leader of a gang of small-time crooks and ne’er do wells who sees something of himself in kindly, wayward Charlie. But an ambitious ruffian with a shady past soon joins the gang, convincing Charlie’s friends to pursue a big score. Charlie fails to thwart the crime and the heist turns bloody. As the only gang member caught alive, Big Charlie will soon swing for the very outrages he tried to prevent.

He makes a daring escape, determined to track down Haskell and the gang and prove his innocence. Hot on Charlie’s heels, a mysterious marshal and a posse of angry townsmen track him far to the north, into the High Sierra. Weaponless and with a vicious winter storm closing in, Big Charlie must find the killers and thieves before the seething posse turns vigilante and hangs him high.

(Intrigued? Giddy-up! SHOTGUN CHARLIE is up for preorder now … everywhere! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Indiebound)

Mar 122015

Mason the MankillerI’m happy to announce the rerelease of my 2008 novel, Hot Lead, Cold Heart, in a new, updated, revised spiffed format–complete with a bold new title: Mason the Mankiller! It’s brought out by Five Star’s Wheeler Large Print line and emerged blinking and snarling yesterday! Check out that bold cover–there’s no messing around with Mason the Mankiller….

Mar 052015

Myth Hunters TV SeriesLast spring I was invited to participate in an episode of a popular TV show called Myth Hunters as an “on-screen expert.” Yowza! So in June we altered our travel plans slightly and cruised into Denver, where I was grilled under hot lights for three hours about … Colorado’s Legend of Treasure Mountain, a long, fascinating tale of hordes of lost gold!

Here’s a link to a trailer about the episode:


Did I mention the treasure is still out there, undiscovered … and worth millions? Now, where’s my pickaxe?