The Adventures of Matt Kincade, Child Pirate Werewolf Hunter

As you probably know, I recently published a book on the kindle store about a vampire hunter. What you probably didn’t know is that it’s autobiographical. Well, semi-autobiographical. Well, maybe not autobiographical exactly. But inspired by real life events. Sort of. I mean, did I have a handgun or a katana? No. But, being in the fourth grade, I really wanted one. Did I slay supernatural creatures of the night? No. Well… sort of. But young Matt Kincade’s prey wasn’t a vampire.

It was a werewolf.

It all started on a warm Saturday in late October, the day of the elementary school Halloween carnival. On that day, every year, the blacktop playground of the school was transformed into a carnival midway, littered with pumpkins and hay bales and scarecrows, orange and black crepe-paper bunting, rows of games and attractions, food and drinks and entertainment.

What I mostly remember about the Halloween carnival was being hot. As the days got shorter and the nights crew crisp and cool, as the trees turned to orange and yellow and the scent of woods-stove smoke drifted in the air, naturally thoughts would turn to wintertime, to sweaters and hot chocolate. And then, every damned year, there’d be a last minute heatwave in late October, and the halloween carnival would be a bunch of little kids crammed into elaborate, semi-functional, sweat-soaked costumes, wandering around on heat-shimmering asphalt and bordering on heatstroke.

Aside from that, the carnival was actually a lot of fun. After buying a fistful of tickets, kids could wander around and play games of skill to win prizes, knocking over milk bottle pyramids with baseballs, throwing darts at balloons, or lobbing ping-pong balls into mason jars in order to win short-lived goldfish in plastic bags, goldfish that the children would then bring to their unenthusiastic parents. There’s a whole other story behind my goldfish acquisition, and I’ll get to that some other time. But the prizes are important here.

See, little fourth-grader me, dressed up like a pirate, was wandering around with a bag of loot. Pirate loot. It was just a plastic bag filled with all the stupid little crap I’d won playing the carnival games. Hard candy. A rubber snake. One of those little plastic whistles shaped like a bird that you fill with water. A few novelty pencil erasers. The kind of junk you order from Oriental Trading Company when you need prizes for an elementary school carnival. But a significant amount of stuff. Hard and heavy, you might say. This factors in later.

So anyway, the main event of the Halloween Carnival was the haunted house. The rest of the year, it was the school library. But, thanks to the efforts of an army of volunteers and a few hundred yards of black plastic sheet, every year it was transformed into a labyrinth of macabre horror, just scary enough to terrify a young, sensitive child like myself. But this year, I decided, I was going to be a man. I was going to go through the haunted house. By myself. No parents holding my hand. So I paid my fistful of tickets and went inside.

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Sweet jiminy-crapballs, a werewolf.

Spooky music. Rattling chains. The screams of the damned. It was all there as our tour guide, dressed as a green-skinned witch with a hooked nose, beckoned us with one finger into her chamber of horrors. I and the rest of my tour group (a bunch of other terrified elementary school kids) huddled close as we shuffled around the corner.

Oh no! There was a mad scientist! Eyeballs in jars! A serial killer! Guts made out of spaghetti! Horror piled upon horror!

In retrospect, this was an amateur production, but as a nine year old it seemed pretty real and it absolutely scared the piss out of me.

Which is why I plead self-defense.

Following behind my tour group, we rounded one more corner. And the lights went out. In the utter darkness for a span of heartbeats, my imagination ran wild.

Then the strobe light kicked on. And there, advancing in slow-motion through the smoke-machine fog, was a god-damned fucking werewolf.

Flash. There he was. Flash. Closer now. Flash. Bloody red fangs. Flash. Claws outstretched. Flash. Even closer. Flash. Reaching for me.

My survival instincts kicked in.

Honestly, even today I’m pretty proud of my reaction. You know those crisis moments where your body just takes over, and you do things without conscious thought? It’s like your brain just shoves you out of the driver’s seat and gets it done. Like, for example, when a boat falls off of a trailer on the freeway in front of you. (Again, a story for another time.)

So. As this terrible, slavering werewolf advanced, illuminated by strobe-light bursts, I sprang into action.

The bag of candy in my hand. The heavy bag full of plastic toys and hard candy. I swung it.

But oh, I didn’t just swing it. I swung it. I swung the bag forward, upwards in a circle, then pulled it sideways over my head, building up a terrific head of steam, yanking it around  in a hard, flat arc, all in the stuttering slow motion of the strobe light.

Right into the side of that werewolf’s face.

It was a sublime hit. I couldn’t possibly have done it better. Through the handle of the plastic bag, I felt it connect. I heard the hard, solid Thwok as plastic struck werewolf flesh. Stunned, the werewolf stumbled sideways a few steps. It shook its head.

Then the creature spoke to me: “You little shit!”

The werewolf tore off his mask, revealing a very angry high-school drama student with a red mark on his cheek.

High-schoolers were scarier than werewolves.

He grabbed my by the arm and dragged me away, down into the bowels of the haunted house. Which, oddly enough, looked like the periodicals section of the school library. He hauled me in front of the grown-up in charge and said, “This little asshole hit me in the face with a bag of candy!”

“What did you do that for?” asked the grownup.

“I was scared,” I answered.

I think I saw her suppress a smile. “What’s your name?”

I made up a name. Ralphie or something.

“Are your parents here?”

“No,” I said. In reality, my mom worked for the school and was volunteering in another section of the carnival.

“How did you get here?” she asked. I said I’d walked, which was plausible in this particular tiny foothill town. She asked me where I lived, and I lied an address.

Finally, realizing she had nothing on me, my interrogator said, “Okay, get out of here. You’re banned from the haunted house.” Fine by me, lady. I scuttled away, into the light and the late October heat.

Did that encounter whet my appetite for supernatural justice, planting the seeds that would lead me, years later, to write a story about a cowboy vampire hunter? yeah… probably not. But it’s good to know that if I’m ever attacked by a werewolf, and I happen to have a bag of candy in my hand, I know exactly what to do.

 

 

Another Great Review!

Check out this great review from author Patrick Dorn!

Matt Kincade’s breakout novel doesn’t just kick butt in the action scenes—all writers in this genre had better know their way around describing exciting murder and mayhem—the story goes DEEP and BROAD in creating a believable world where society’s outcasts and outlaws have formed a community to defend the world from equally established criminal organizations of fanged, undead predators.

I’ve gotta say, after living for quite some time with this bizarre fantasy world churning around in my brain, it feels pretty darned good to get it out in the world and have normal people not think that I’m completely insane. Thanks for the great review, Patrick! Check out out Patrick’s website, and of course pick up a copy of The Devil’s Mouth!

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The Blurbs-Blurbs For Books That Don’t (and Shouldn’t) Exist

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Writing a book description is nerve-wracking. You’ve only got three or four sentences to convince someone to read your book. First, it needs a hook. Then it needs to be an accurate description, but not give too much away. It has to go into detail, but still leave something to the imagination. It has to introduce the reader to the characters and the world and the story, but still not be too long. And the punctuation? You can get away with a missed quotation mark on page two hundred of your self-published work, but on the blurb? That’s gotta be perfect. Stressful.

So, like always, my brain responds to stressful situations with humor.

Me: Okay brain, we’ve got to get serious here and figure this out.

Brain: Haha what if the book was about like a zombie apocalypse but with ducks. A duckpocalypse.

Me: Shut up, brain. That’s a terrible idea.

Brain: No, but seriously. Duckpocalypse.

And so without further comment, a few blurbs I thought of while trying to think of a blurb.

***

One man. One canoe. One creek…of shit.

And no paddles.

1845. William Fudge was a warrior. A poet. A gentleman. A family man. Until the tragic accident that changed everything. Now, a broken loner, he accepts a job that only he is qualified for. To journey, alone, up the wild and dangerous Shit River, into Deep Shit territory, all the way to Shit Creek. His mission is to map the Deep Shit territory for the fledgling United States Government, to find the source of the Shit River, and the mythical city of Porcelaina.

It was all going great until he lost his paddles. Now William Fudge is up to his neck in shit, fighting against the current, and trying to figure all this shit out.

Book one of the Up Shit Creek series, Up Shit Creek: Without a Paddle.

Available wherever shit is sold.

***

He’s a badass vampire hunter. A lover. A fighter. He’s also a talking golden retriever.

She’s just a cute, quirky girl, living life to the fullest, trying to learn how to love again while she tries to make her artisanal cupcake shop a success.

After a series of dog-gone implausible events brings them together, they team up to hunt for the vampires that took his puppies and gave her cupcake shop a terrible Yelp review. Together, they’re going to teach those vampires that their bite…is worse than their bark.

Woof at the Devil is available on the Kindle store, and soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Anniston and Rob Scheider.

***

London, 1585.

Up-and-coming playwright William Shakespeare has just written a work that will live on in history. But when rival playwright Richard Greene steals the only copy of Richard III, Shakespeare pulls out all the stops to get his play back…and get his payback.

The race is on as Richard begins production with his stolen play, and Shakespeare fights his way through London’s literary scene with his rapier wit, and also an actual rapier. Even though it’s the renaissance, the Bard is about to get medieval.

Together with a ragtag gang of misfit actors, William Shakespeare is about to prove that the pen is mightier than the sword. Except he still has a sword, because a pen is only mightier in a figurative sense, and he’s going to murder all of his enemies in an extremely literal sense, in which case a sword is still far mightier than a pen.

Coming this summer: Bard Hard.

***

Melanie Strudel is just a normal girl, except for one extraordinary power: She can understand the language of birds.

She can’t talk to them, but she can understand them.

This superpower doesn’t change her life in any meaningful way, because birds don’t say anything worth listening to. As it turns out, they mostly just complain about the weather, talk shit about each other, and discuss the things they ate.

Melanie goes on living a perfectly normal life, except that birds annoy the crap out of her, because they’re a bunch of boring, loudmouthed, gossipy little shits.

Pick up The Language of Birds, wherever boring, uneventful books are sold.

***

#URDEAD

Until she found that hashtag, Rebecca Doodler was just another social media queen, instagramming duckface selfies and food pics to her hundreds of thousands of followers, spitting out pithy 140 character witticisms, basking in her odd quasi-fame.

But then the message showed up. “retweet this in thirty seconds or you will die in one week. #URDEAD”

She thought it was just a joke. Until her followers started dropping like MySpace users.

Now, Rebecca has to use every ounce of her social media prowess, racing from the fetid swamps of facebook to the ghettos of instagram, to the ghost city of MySpace, fighting against time as she tracks down the source of the mysterious hashtag. If she doesn’t figure this out soon, she won’t have any followers left. And then who’ll like her bikini selfies?

Coming when you least expect it: #DeathByTwitter.

 

The Perks of Being a Bookworm

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I was generally a pretty good kid. Generally. Mostly, because almost every time I’d try doing something bad, the universe would rain down massive, fiery karmic retaliation upon me. In other words, I’d get caught. But one time I got away with it, because I was a giant nerd.

For the most part, I just read a lot. Hard to get in much trouble when you’ve got your head buried in a book. Lunches, recesses, classtimes, on the bus, I’d be reading. I’d sit in the back of class, pretending to be paying attention or doing schoolwork, all the while with a book on my lap. Most of my teachers, bless their hearts, pretended like they didn’t notice. I thought I was pretty sneaky at the time, but in retrospect I think they were just glad somebody was reading. So, I had a well-deserved reputation as something of a bookworm.

But every once in a while, I’d get a crazy idea in my head. I’d sow my oats. I’d really cut loose and do something wild.

Like flipping the bird to a road construction worker.

Party animal, right? Of course, this was in the second grade, when living dangerously meant sneaking your vegetables off your plate and feeding them to the dog.

But anyway, I was riding the school bus home, one fine day, and we passed by a group of county workers in reflective vests and hard hats, doing some road maintenance. My friend (whose name I forget, but let’s call him John) and I thought, for second-grader reasons, that it would be the coolest thing in the world if we flipped off these grown-ass men who were out doing their jobs. But, criminal masterminds that we were, we would hide our faces by crouching down below the level of the bus window, and hold our hands above our heads, middle fingers raised, like some kind of obscene puppeteers.

And so we did. The bus approached the road construction. We scrunched down in our seats and raised our little hands aloft, flipping the unicorn at these poor unsuspecting schlubs who were just out doing their jobs, who hadn’t done anything to warrant being disrespected by two nerdy eight year olds at three fifteen on a Tuesday afternoon.

We waved our digitorum impudens around, giggling all the while, until the bus moved past. A clean getaway. The perfect crime. We were so cool.

I should have known, there’s no such thing as a perfect crime. There we were, sitting on those smelly green vinyl bus seats, when a white county truck pulled up behind the bus, flashing its yellow light bar. My friend and I exchanged panicked looks.

The bus screeched to a stop. The hydraulic bus door honked open. And then, clomp, clomp, clomp, a great big angry grownup in a hard hat climbed up the bus steps and stared coolly up and down the aisles of the school bus.

To the bus driver, he said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but we were just working by the side of the road, and when you drove by, some kids on this bus flipped us off.”

I took a deep breath and reminded myself: we’d taken precautions for just this sort of situations. We’d scrunched down. We were criminal masterminds. Nothing to worry about.

“Whoever did it was scrunched down in their seats,” said the road worker, “so I couldn’t see their faces. But I saw the top of one head, and it looked just…like…him.”

A great big meaty calloused old grownup finger pointed directly at me.

My sphincter clenched tighter than a submarine door. I broke out into a flop sweat. I trembled. I gazed back at that finger like I was staring down the barrel of a loaded shotgun.

I should point out that at this point in my life I had what could kindly be described as a flattop. I thought it made me look like Val Kilmer in Top Gun. In retrospect, I looked more like a bucktoothed hedgehog. In any case, it was a pretty distinctive haircut. Certainly nobody else on the bus had the same cut. It was just the sort of thing that would make the top three inches of someone’s head immediately identifiable.

The moment stretched out forever. I’m busted, I thought, boned, hosed. The jig is up. I’m going up the river. I hear if you just confess they’ll be lenient. I can cop a plea. Maybe I can turn in my accomplice for a reduced sentence. I wonder what prison food tastes like.

And then the bus driver let out an incredulous laugh. “Matt?” she said, “You’ve got to be mistaken. It couldn’t have been Matt. He just sits there and reads all day.”

“Not Matt,” said Heather, the girl across the aisle from me, “he’s a bookworm.”

“He just has his face buried in a book all day.” added David, sitting next to Heather.

“All that dork does is read,” called out Travis, from the back of the bus.

The entire bus rose to my defense, declaring that I was such a nerdy little bookworm that there’s no way I could have ever committed the crime of which I’d been accused.

I just sat there and tried to look angelic.

His confidence shaken, the road worker looked around at the other faces on the bus. “Well…” he said, “then I’m not sure.” He’d lost his momentum. He looked up and down the aisles one more time, mumbled something about respect, and then left the bus.

And I got away scott-free. What’s the moral of the story? I don’t know, maybe: Don’t flip off total strangers. Or maybe, the moral is that you don’t know what kind of black and twisted criminal heart beats within the chest of a nerdy goody two-shoes bookworm. Or maybe it’s that if you’re going to be guilty, it’s a good idea to look innocent.

 

 

 

“How I Got a Book Contract and Achieved Success in Traditional Publishing” By Bestselling Author D.B.B.M. LeConnard

Exclusively on Matt Kincade’s blog, D.B.B.M. LeConnard, bestselling author of the Dragon Elf Foundling Wizard Prince series, shares his harrowing story of persistence and overcoming adversity to become a successful traditionally published author in today’s challenging literary landscape.  

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Bestselling author D.B.B.M. LeConnard

Greetings, dear readers. Matt Kincade, the author of this little blog thing, has asked me to relate to you, his followers, the tale of my path to publishing success.

Let me begin by saying that saying that this is not an easy road. The path to literary greatness and adoration is not for everyone. You must be totally, completely committed to your goal. In addition, like me, you must be an utter genius and a literary savant. If ever you’ve struggled to find the right word, if ever you’ve written something and not immediately known that it was the best writing you’ve ever done, that anyone has ever done, you are not ready. This is not the path for you.

Luckily, being the inherent literary genius that I am, It was the path for me. I, of course, knew how to write before I knew how to talk. The whole of the Dragon Elf Foundling Wizard Prince series sprang, fully formed, from my brilliant imagination when I was seven years old. By the time I was eight, I had Book One: Foundling Wizard Prince Awakens to His Fantastic Destiny, finished, and was working on book two.

Of course, nobody wants to publish the work of an eight year old, even one as amazingly gifted as myself. And so I had a long wait, biding my time and doing my best to interact with the slower children in school, while unsuccessfully sending my manuscripts off to agents and publishers. I began attending every writer’s and publisher’s convention I could find, discovering my peers and my competitors, and intricately plotting their deaths.

At the age of nineteen, following a year in the mountains of Tibet—learning the ancient Shavukinasa Walakali meditation technique known only to a few monks high in the Himalayas—I returned to the United States and moved to New York City, determined to at last break into the writing industry.

I submitted my manuscripts. I was rejected. And I submitted. And was rejected. It was a low point in my life. There I was, alone in a studio apartment with my genius and my typewriter. (Yes I know most normal people use computers, but I am not a normal person. I am an Author, and only that firm analogue input, the indescribably feeling of my finger depressing a mechanical lever, pushing an ink-slicked stamp to leave an indelible mark on high-quality bond typing paper, can truly capture my artistic inspiration.)

I took drifts and piles of rejection slips and built things with them. A couch. A desk. A friend. But I was never deterred. Never once did I question the purity of my purpose, of my destiny. As the Foundling Wizard Prince was destined to become the king of the Dragon Elves, so too was I destined to become a bestselling YA fantasy author.

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LeConnard never gave up on his Dragon Elf Wizard Prince dreams.

Still, I submitted. Still, I was rejected. In my free time, I stalked and murdered my competitors. I obtained work as a waiter at restaurants and cafes frequented by professionals in the publishing industry. (merely to further my literary goals, I assure you. I wouldn’t presume to debase myself by working such jobs merely for money, merely to pay the rent on my shoebox apartment.) I learned their names. I flattered and cajoled, making them the objects of my considerable charm. I casually mentioned my books. I “accidentally” left manuscripts at their tables. I offered sexual favors. All to no avail.

And so I devised a plan. Prior to a publisher’s conference, I infiltrated the hotel by pretending to be a bellhop. I was able to obtain a copy of the conference itinerary. Particularly of interest to me was a private luncheon, at which executives from all of the big five publishers would be in attendance.

On the day of the conference, clad all in black, with a ski mask over my face, I leaped from an adjacent rooftop to the roof of the Marriott Hotel, then rappelled down the side to a service entrance. I stripped off my black clothes, revealing a housekeeping uniform underneath.

I made my way, undetected, into the hotel. The conference was in full swing. My peers and competitors, those I hadn’t murdered or otherwise ruined, were milling around the conference floor, unaware that I was about to soar right over their heads to limitless literary success.

Because I couldn’t decide which of my brilliant plans I wanted to use, I then karate-chopped a UPS deliveryman in the neck and stole his uniform, dressing in his brown shirt and shorts, leaving him unconscious in a laundry cart.

I approached the conference room, casually nodding to the the security guards as I passed, a brown cardboard package in my arms.

I knocked on the door. They opened. “Delivery for Robert Dibbler,” I said.

They let me in.

At that point I slammed the door shut and jammed it with a chair. Either I’d get that contract or they’d all burn with me.

I stripped off the UPS uniform. underneath, I wore a handmade costume, depicting Ka’reth Muldgwanado, the Foundling Dragon Prince protagonist of my works. “Chalago Kal!” I screamed, which is the traditional greeting of the Dragon Elves. I set off a smoke bomb and shot roman candles from my sleeves, in imitation of Dragon Elf magick, and flung copies of my manuscript about the room, one of them striking the president of Simon and Schuster squarely in the face.

At the same time, I read aloud the prologue to my first book, Foundling Wizard Prince Awakens to His Fantastic Destiny, knowing that the might of my prose would win them over. Of course they said, “Please don’t hurt us, oh God it’s happening again,” but what they meant was, “I am transported to a faraway land by this Author’s sheer brilliance. Thank all the Gods he had enough gumption and moxie to find his way to us, and may those same Gods forgive us for leaving his manuscripts unread on the slush pile.”

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Purchase the DEFWP Chronicles, anywhere anything is sold.

Then, just as hotel security broke down the door, Margaret Robineaux, Vice President of Hachette Books, said, “Wait a second, LeConnard? Are you Ralph LeConnard’s kid?”

Turns out my dad went to college with Margaret Robineaux. So we had lunch the next day, and she signed me on for a seven-book contract, with a nice six-figure advance. Six months later, Foundling Wizard Prince Awakens to His Fantastic Destiny was on the front table of every Barnes and Noble in the country.

In conclusion, though the path to traditional publishing success is not an easy one, you too can do it, provided you are brilliant, naturally gifted, psychotically obsessed, willing to pave a road to victory with the broken bodies of your enemies, and have connections.

Happy writing, and Kipple Pagillo! (which is Dragon Elvish for “Good luck.”)

 

Six Word Stories Redux

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Round two…Fight!

***

“Give me liberty, or give…aaaargh!”

***

“Hold on!”
“I can’t! I love—”

***

“Mr. Goldstein? Come with us, please.”

***

His bulletproof vest couldn’t stop love.

***

“This must be a nightmare.” Nope.

***

“I had to. Don’t hate me.”

***

Dreams of dying hadn’t prepared him.

***

She smelled the wine. “Nice try.”