THIS JUST IN . . .
The prestigious Historical Novel Society has delivered a glowing review of my soon-to-be-released novel, Stranded, in its May, 2017, issue 80 of its print and web publication, The Historical Novels Review.
And here’s an excerpt:
“Narrated in simple country prose, pleasing to the reader, Janette’s impressive efforts to keep herself alive entrance us, especially considering she is alone, with only her father’s lessons to guide her. Interludes with bears, wolves and especially a rapacious mountain lion are as terrifying as any horror novel. Present-day adults and kids will be proud of Janette. Highly recommended.”
—Thomas J. Howley, Historical Novels Review
(Content Warning: If you think the world should be filled with rainbows, unicorns, fields of daisies, and pink fuzzy bunnies, you probably shouldn’t watch this.)
Okay, now that you’ve seen the trailer, let’s discuss. Oh wait a minute—there’s not much I can tell you that won’t spoil your reading experience. And you are planning on finding out what happens next, right?
To make it even easier, I’ve discovered that the book is currently being offered at a special pre-order, discounted price. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge….
Friday, April 7, 2017, mid-afternoon:
For a while it was perfect. But then that’s the way it often is with ideal moments.
Low, gray clouds parted, offering a too-tempting, vast patch of unstained blue with the sun pinned bold and warming in the center of it. What would you do?
I sat on a stool out in it, on an island of wet gravel between dying mounds of snow. I ate a juicy apple and drank a bottle of solid Maine stout and read from an excellent novel—Stardust by Neil Gaiman—and the moment was fine.
Twenty minutes or so of fine, actually. I came to the end of a chapter, apple core at my feet and an empty brown bottle standing beside it, when clouds once more blundered in.
But not before I saw Robin Redbreast land in a white birch and chortle six quick notes before winging northeast-ish.
I do believe that Spring, indecisive as ever, has arrived.
We are six weeks, give or take, from the release of my novel, Stranded: A Story of Frontier Survival (May 17, Five Star Publishing). It’s the story, based on a true account, of a young girl who travels West with her family and comes to be, you guessed it, stranded, alone, in the Northern Rockies in the winter of 1849.
(Think Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet but with the spunk of True Grit’s Mattie Ross. Or Island of the Blue Dolphins, but with mountains and snow and ice. And wolves and mountain lions. Oh, dear.)
It is also my first novel written with young-adult readers in mind. All that means is it should appeal to younger readers as well as to the seasoned among us (ahem). The story is at times brutal, touching, shocking, hopeless, and hopeful. Needless to say (and yet …), I am quite pleased with this one, much as I have been with my previous books.
They all offer unexpected, happy surprises in the writing, in the editing, and then again at that magical moment when they are finally real. For me that’s when I hold a copy in my hands, touch the cover, thumb the spine, flip pages no one else has flipped, and see all those words, knowing they exist in that order because of me. That is a heady five minutes.
Then comes the uncertainty, a time when I nibble my nails (difficult with fingers crossed), hoping readers will find this newest offering of interest.
Creating, with keyboard, paintbrush, ukulele, chisel, camera, angle grinder, or whoopie cushion (egad!), is the first, most freeing, and fun step in the process of making art. The next step, the most exciting, is whisking the sheet from the finished work in a Ta-Da! moment. It can also be the most terrifying.
It’s at this point that a creation is no longer a secret, private thing brought about by its creator. It is now available to everyone. Ideally it will begin a long, engaging, intriguing relationship with an audience, and vice-versa. It’s mutual trust of the finestkind, as they say in Maine.
Five Star Publishing’s editorial efforts helped make the manuscript better, and the cover design of Stranded is a visual victory that captures the mood of the book well. Early reviews are bubbling up and folks like what they’re reading.
Onward! F.A.B.! Thunderbirds are … GO!
It seems they love Roamer and ol’ Maple Jack across the big pond! Yep, Nicholas Litchfield wrote a fine review of my latest novel, NORTH OF FORSAKEN (A Roamer and Maple Jack Western) for the Lancashire Evening Post. And since the column is syndicated, I’m told the review has appeared in roughly two dozen other newspapers throughout the United Kingdom.
Here’s a taste of the fine, in-depth review:
“Solidly entertaining, and with a strong line-up of cold-blooded villains, North of Forsaken marks the long overdue return of Roamer, Mayo’s most noteworthy lead character. Expect plenty of gunplay, ambushes, bloody corpses and thrilling shootouts.”
And here’s a link to the full monty:
I’m pleased (Pleased? Bah! I’m downright giddy, I tell ya!) to announce my newest novel, NORTH OF FORSAKEN: A Roamer Western, officially released today! — Wednesday, January 18, 2017 — by Five Star Publishing, in both hardcover and ebook versions.
NORTH OF FORSAKEN continues the adventures of Roamer and Maple Jack, begun way back in 2008 in my novel WRONG TOWN. This time out, the trail leads the pair of rogues to what might well be a grim end….
On his way to visit his crusty old mentor, the mountain man Maple Jack, Roamer makes a brief supply stop in the raw, flyblown town of Forsaken, Wyoming. But Roamer’s plans change when he is recognized by a dandified young stranger, a specter from a past Roamer thought he’d left behind.
The arrogant youth—keeper of a secret of which only Roamer knows the truth—possesses the precious deed to a valuable ranch. The type of property people kill for. The big woodsman begrudgingly agrees to escort the young man and a shifty woman deep into the Bitterroot Mountains on their quest. Desperadoes attack, and Roamer falls victim, but Maple Jack saves him from imminent death. Trailing the outlaws, the bedraggled duo soon comes upon a lynched body, then the ranch.
A fusillade ensues among angry ranch hands and desperadoes—with Roamer and Maple Jack caught in the middle. Lies layer on lies and killing becomes too common. Roamer and Maple Jack realize death is close at hand in the cold little ranch valley … well north of Forsaken.
In the autumn 2016 issue of Big Sky Journal, Erin H. Turner offers a jim-dandy review of my recent novel, The Outfit: To Hell and Back….
Spur-Award winning author Matthew P. Mayo delivers another rollicking, old-fashioned Western with The Outfit: To Hell and Back (Five Star, $25.95). When wrongly convicted murderer Rafe Barr is given the chance of a full pardon in exchange for rescuing the daughter of the governor of California, he leaves the Yuma Territorial Prison and his life sentence behind. He joins up with an old partner and rescues the girl, only then to wind up in a lot more trouble on the road from Deadwood, South Dakota, to Colorado, with a band of unlikely allies in town and a gang of cutthroats and desperadoes on their tail. Mayo always spins a good yarn, and this entertaining novel of the Old West is no exception.
Hard to believe it was May when I last prairie-dogged these pages. What better reason to pop up again than to announce the kick-off of my new series! It’s called THE OUTFIT — think the A-TEAM in the Old West and you’re halfway there. Plenty of cigar chomping, whiskey sipping (real men don’t guzzle the uisce beatha), dove whimpering, fisticuffing, bullet cranking, horse-riding fun.
THE OUTFIT: TO HELL AND BACK
Rafe Barr, master tracker, spy, and war hero, is locked away in Yuma Territorial Prison for life, wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife and son. But five years into his sentence, Warden Talbot Timmons, who has made Barr’s time at Yuma a living hell, offers him a deal: full pardon in exchange for rescuing the young daughter of California’s Governor Pendleton from Deadwood’s top bad man, Al Swearengen. Rafe smells a rat, but agrees.
On the trail to Deadwood, Rafe rescues his old pard, explosives expert Cookie McGee, from a dicey situation. In Deadwood, Rafe and Cookie find the girl and a whole lot of trouble, and barely make it out with their skins … only to find their backtrail fogged by El Jefe and his Hell Hounds, a gang of cutthroats and desperadoes hired by Warden Timmons. Rafe, Cookie, and the girl ride hell-for-leather toward the hidden Colorado valley where Rafe’s ranch once stood.
Along the way they pick up a crew of colorful characters with peculiar talents—gambler, safecracker, and former slave Black Jack Smith; feisty widow Arlene Tewksbury; and local doctor, inventor, and drunk Deathbed Jones.
The fuse is lit as a mob of desperadoes and renegades led by the Hell Hounds swarms the ranch, and Rafe, Cookie, and the rest of the gang find themselves in an explosive battle for their lives. And that’s only the beginning for…THE OUTFIT!
My 2013 novel, THE HUNTED, just came out as an audiobook, and the sample I’ve heard sounds mighty fine—and the cover’s a corker, too. Here’s a link in case you’re tempted to give it a listen: http://www.amazon.com/The-Hunted/dp/B01CUWHXAA/
Big Charlie Chilton knows better than to lose his temper, but when a loudmouth threatens to expose his long-buried secrets, he can’t help but teach the man a lesson about being quiet. Unfortunately, it turns out the man was about to make an important supply run for the town, and Marshal Watt knows just enough about Shotgun Charlie’s past to draft him into service in his stead.
The trek north would be treacherous enough with the snow and the threat of an Indian attack, but the ragtag drunkards running the freighting outfit put Charlie ill-at-ease. When bad blood springs up between them, Charlie is left for dead on the side of the mountain. But they should have made sure he was really gone–because the wounded bear of a man isn’t down for the count, and he’s ready to bring vengeance on those who did him wrong…
I had so much fun with Big Charlie Chilton that I brought him back a couple of years later in SHOTGUN CHARLIE (a prequel to THE HUNTED). It came out in 2015 and explains how Big Charlie gained his ill-fitting moniker. Here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/Ralph-Compton-Shotgun-Charlie-Western/dp/0451472381/
A fine review by Erin H. Turner in the Winter 2015 issue of Big Sky Journal of my recent non-fiction book, HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers….
HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers by Matthew P. Mayo (TwoDot, $18.95) spins 22 yarns about the bandits, conmen, conwomen and bunko artists who populated the West, drawn by the chance to make their fortunes by taking advantage of those who responded to the siren calls of gold and free land.
Mayo proves the adage that everyone loves a heel, making sympathetic characters out of the most disreputable reprobates, putting them in a historical framework with an accessible, lively story-telling style. More than that, however, he puts them in context with each other and poses questions about what makes a villain a villain.
How much does Ned Buntline’s sketchy personal history and questionable veracity affect the fact that his dime novels shaped much of the mythology of the West? Why do we feel twinges of sympathy for con artists like Doc Baggs, who preyed on the greed of his wealthy marks?
Mayo’s novelistic approach reaches for truth about these characters and their victims. He’s succeeded in producing an entertaining and enjoyable read that also adds to our understanding and appreciation of the Wild West.