DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Matt is Scarred... Review



Jon Richter (@richterwrites


Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)


‘The sword laughed as it slid into his belly, its blade strangely cold, as though he had impaled himself on an icicle. He closed his eyes as he felt his stomach open, blood and bile and the vitriol of years suddenly dispersed, like the opening of some monstrous release valve…’


You are not ready for this.


Forget your standard Fantasy novels – old master Richter who has delivered superb, crime, horror and cyberpunk books, now rewrites the rules, subverts and expands the fantasy genre. And he does it in fine style!


As Hugh Hefner once said: ‘one guy, through living out his own fantasies, is living out the fantasies of so many others’ – and I think that may well be appropriate for Scarred as there is an infectious joy of the subject covered bursting from the pages of this new novel.


I won’t trouble you with the plot too much, all you really need to know is that it’s a kind of quest tale, we follow lowly young serving girl Freya (who has the titular ‘scar’ on her face). If you’re a fantasy book fan then you can have a fun side game of fantasy world cliché bingo as the Richter delivers them in spades but due to his excellence with the craft, he manages to make even trolls and knights feel fresh again.


There’s much to enjoy here and its one of the few books that will make its way into my ‘reread at some point’ pile – I can’t give it much higher praise than that!


My advice is to do whatever you need to in order to get yourself a copy of Scarred, find a cozy nook and maybe a quality glass of wine and settle in to have your heart and soul transported into a weird but wonderful new kind of Oz.

It's been said already that this evokes classic quest sagas such as The Wizard of Oz and Stephen King's Dark Tower series, with a dash of Kazuo Ichiguro's The Buried Giant and Hugh Howey's Wool, Scarred balances stirring prose with a fast-paced and gripping narrative - and I can't argue...

Want to know more about rascally deviant Jon Richter? keep reading:

He is the writer of dark fiction, and is the author of four crime thrillers (Chains, Rabbit Hole, Never Rest and Deadly Burial) as well as three collections of short horror fiction (Jon Richter's Disturbing Works: Volumes One and Two, and his latest release DARK FICTION), cyberpunk thriller Auxiliary, and psychological techno-thriller The


Jon lives in London and loves immersing himself in all things dark and sinister, whether they're books, films, video games or even board games – any way to tell a great story!

If you want to chat to him about this, or about anything at all, you can find him on Instagram @jonrichterwrites; he’d also love it if you would check out his website at www.jon-richter.com.


I have the privilege of being Jon’s co-host on the cyberpunk podcast ‘Hosts In The Shell’ and was fully prepared to give him a hard time if Scarred had been weak but I’ll not get to rib him on air because he’s flippin smashed it! Enjoy…

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Richter is has made the Fantasy Genre his gimp at first attempt!


>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click banner below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel 

(now becoming a graphic novel too)...


This review was part of the excellent Zooloo Book Tours



Sunday, April 21, 2024

Matt finds The Heart of Winter and meets Shona Kinsella

The Heart of Winter

Shona Kinsella (@shona_kinsella)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

"Suddenly, stepping out of nowhere, two wolves appeared between the stones. They were huge, bigger than any wolf Brigit had ever seen. One was black and the other white, and both stood as tall as her shoulders. They both growled deep in their chests, lips pulled back to bare teeth that looked as if they could easily crush bone."

Here is something wonderful - a tale of gods and celtic life, Scottish and Irish mythology fuse to create an adventure that Kinsella embues with a passionate beating heart and a fascination for the 'humaness' behind deities who are characters caught up in this powerful story.

The main protagonist is Brigit - a strong female hero for our times, her destiny seemingly set for her befire she takes it into her own hands. When faced with a forced marriage to Aengus, god of Summer, she flees into the highlands in search of the Cailleach, the Queen of Winter. There, she hopes to learn how to live on her own terms, without the need for a man to speak for her, but can she persuade the Cailleach that she is worthy? 

The Heart of Winter blazes a trail with a strong female lead, the plot is intricate and engaging - written with a clear descriptive style that gives plenty of room for emotions to unspool and much thought provoking material for readers to ponder concepts around being between tested, finding your destiny and believing in yourself. This is fantasy with real heart, and it's well worth your time.

I had the chance to ask the author Shona (who is a British Fantasy Award-nominated author) some questions so you can get to know her better.


If you were granted the powers of a master magic wielder what would be the first thing you did? 

Shona: I would make it so that everyone experienced empathy, especially those in power. They would have to make decisions based on what they believed to be best for everyone, not just the few. 

Matt: What is the scariest thing you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 

Shona: I love horror in all it's forms, but I don't really scare that way. One of the most stressful things I've seen though was a scene in the TV series Hannibal, with Mads Mikkelsen, where Hannibal and Jack Crawford are fighting in the kitchen. It's brutal and beautiful all at once and very powerful. 

Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 

Shona: All things gothic 

Matt: You are blessed with the ability to grant one wish - what does that look like for you, and whose wish would you grant? 

Shona: I have a very dear friend whose excellent book is out on sub just now. If I could grant one wish, I would grant their wish to find the right home for their book. 

Matt: Who or what inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 

Shona: I don't think there is one thing that inspires me most. I'm constantly inspired, by my kids, but the way the sunlight catches the hills, by music, by something I read, or something I saw on a documentary. The wonderful SFFH writing community is a regular source of inspiration. 

Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 

Shona: Probably one of my kids telling me to step away from the laptop and do something fun with them. 

Matt: What is the meaning of life? 

Shona: To find joy where you can and leave the world a little better than you found it. 

Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 

Shona: Friendship. 

Matt: If you could create a sidekick familiar – what would it be able to do for you? 

Shona: Supply me with coffee and chocolate as and when required. 

Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 

Shona: She was kind.

Thanks Shona!!

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4.5 - Excellent fantasy that packs real heart


>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click banner below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel 

(now becoming a comic too)...


Monday, April 08, 2024

Pageturners review and Pat Mills interview

Pageturners – How to write iconic stories   

Pat Mills (@PatMillsComics)   

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)   

I have been a fan of Pat Mills’ comic creations for many years – from the iconic 2000AD itself writing characters Judge Dredd, Nemesis The Warlock and Slaine The Horned God – plus more recently Dr Who 'Starbeast' he is rightly venerated as one of the all-time greats.   

So when I saw that he’d written a guide to writing successful comic stories, I had to check it out. 

And oh man, Pageturners is an absolute goldmine of honest, excellent information and advice – I’d go so far as to say that it is a ‘must read’ for anyone even remotely thinking about creating comic!   

“In classical times the Muses are worshipped as the Triple Goddess. In modern times, a muse is defined as a person or supernatural force that provides artistic inspiration.  I would describe her as a supernatural force because she often acts independently in a way that cannot be explained by scientists. Because they are so threatened by the irrational, they will dismiss the idea of her as fanciful nonsense.” 

Mills is a big believer in Muses – and the way he explains the way they work, prompt and interact with writers and creators, I think I’m in agreement (and will be actively courting mine!)… 

There is so much good stuff here, from actual scripts reproduced with his notes and thinking process behind them, through to how to best submit work and to who.  

There are invaluable tips for what to expect from or ask for when working with artists, editors and writers, the whole of the comic-making process is explored and laid bare.   I’ve never read such a frank, useful and open account, Mills writes this as part journal – recounting his exploits from as far back as his school days where an evil teacher became his nemesis. 

I will be referring back to this book as I venture forward with my comic creation and already feel energised and inspired by what Mills was able to achieve and how honest he is about what didn’t work out for him.   If you write or make comics, you should stop reading this and order Pageturners right now (here’s a handy link:   PAGETURNERS   )   

I had the joy of getting to ask Pat some Q’s and here is what he said (it's fair to say he's NOT a fan of the Catholic Church :)) :   

Matt: If you were granted the powers of a master magic wielder who or what would be your nemesis? 


Patt: Undoubtedly the Catholic Church. Without getting too esoteric here, I think my life purpose has always been to ‘challenge’ them. So they had to harm me in order to see them as the adversary, my nemesis 

 This is likely to inform other answers 



Matt: What is the scariest thing you’ve ever read or watched in a book/film of any genre? 


Patt: Something Wicked This Way Comes - book and film - by Ray Bradbury. It’s childhood challenged by absolute evil 



Matt: If you were hired to throw a parade of any scale or theme through the centre of London what type of parade would it be? 


Patt: A parade of people who should be in Hell. So lots of Catholic Bishops and Popes. And hypocrites and establishment mass murderers. 

 I feature the parade in Requiem 12 in a huge treble page spread so that’s very much on my mind. These people need to be identified and scorned 



Matt: You are blessed with a supernatural power - what does that look like for you? 


Patt: It would be writing - I regard my abilities as a gift of the Muse (the triple Goddess) and I have to do what she orders, as described in my Pageturners 




Matt: Who or what inspires you most (can be living or dead)? 


Patt: The enemy: the Catholic Church. In particular Catholic Knights. It’s not just Torquemada in Nemesis, you’ll see the Knights turn up in many of my stories. 


Matt: There’s a masked assailant with a gun to your head, who is most likely to be under the mask? 



Patt: One of the various Catholic school teachers I came up against as a kid 



Matt: What is the meaning of life? 



Patt: To recognise your life mission and fulfil it 





Matt: What was the best gift you’ve ever been given? 


Patt: Seeing Buffy St Marie live on my birthday 



Matt: If you could create a sidekick familiar – what would it be able to do for you? 



Patt: Back my intuition and confirm I’m going in the right direction 



Matt: What would you like written on your tombstone? 


Patt: I got some of the bastards. I wish I could have nailed them all. 


Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Essential Reading for all writers, especially comic creators!

INFO: Pat Mills is known as The Godfather of British comics. His most famous creations are probably Charley’s War and 2000AD, featuring Judge Dredd. Loved for his fast-paced action, compelling villains and flawed heroes, he always delivers a subversive punch and thought-provoking ideas in his comics, novels and non-fiction. Pat’s currently working on an exciting new comic: Space Warp. 
Read more of his stuff at: www.millsverse.com

>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click banner below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel 

(now becoming a comic too)...


Sunday, January 28, 2024

DIY BOOK PROMO - Dan Klefstad - review n interview


DIY Book Promo 

Dan Klefstad (@danklefstad

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

“My advice is geared toward un-agented authors like me, self-published authors, and even those published by the Big Five who are shocked at how little the company budgeted to promote their book.”

As an author, I can vouch that the world is stacked with a wealth of scoundrels who promise to help promote your book and bring you vast sales, all you have to do is erm, pay them and then sit back and become both famous and rich… 

It does kind of beg the question as to why these folks are still sending unsolicited emails and messages to authors and not kicking back and enjoying the millions they must have earned in order to be able to prove their methods work? 

You might even be wary of those publishing self-help books that will revolutionize your sales I hear you cry, and that’s fair, but amidst the ton of charlatans and opportunists, there are occasionally good folks actually trying to help. I believe Dan Klefstad is one of the good guys and DIY Book Promo is a tome that might just change your life as a writer if you’re prepared to put in the work and try some of the advice proffered. 

Is Dan a millionaire, world-famous household name? Not yet maybe, but his friendly, fast-paced book is worth a read as he shares all he learned during his 30-year broadcasting career, plus the three-year campaign for his novel, Fiona's Guardians (Darkmatters Review here). 

Authors can be shy at doing the promotion for their work, some might dabble with a little social media, others might arrange a book signing or the like but in this book, Dan gives quality advice about pitching media interviews, performing well in front of the mic, and how to share interviews so as to get wider exposure. He also talks about co-branding with indie bookstores, and which reviewers to pitch and which ones to avoid, it’s good stuff, even if you’re doing OK in sales I firmly believe that there is always more you can learn. 

My own promo journey for Complete Darkness has included getting artists to come up with their interpretations of the characters which I put on art cards and handed out at events. This strategy isn’t free but it did yield hundreds of pre-orders so proved very cost-effective – and led to the book now being turned into a graphic novel (but that is another story)… But we’re here to talk about Dan – and it’s great to read him share how to get your book adapted, pull off the right stunt, and how to grab surprise opportunities and best of all perhaps - never pay for promotion again. I know Dan as we share a publisher – the mighty Burton Mayers Books – so I got to ask him some questions that will help you get to know the man whose advice is being offered here. 

Dan says “In DIY Book Promo, I aim to help you find readers using free tools like email and social media. I share everything I've learned during the three-year marketing campaign for my novel, Fiona's Guardians. DIY Book Promo is also the title of my speaking engagements (in-person and virtual) at writer's conferences and with author groups.”

And you know what – I really enjoyed reading his thoughts, his experiences and I’ll certainly be putting a lot of what I read in DIY Book Promo into action!? 

"would you buy a book from this man?"

Here’s the background interview: 

Matt: Biggest joy so far as an author? 

Dan: Definitely seeing my vampire novel get adapted. For those who don't know, the all-professional acting company, Artists' Ensemble Theater, adapted my novel, Fiona's Guardians, for their Mysterious Journey podcast. It's available everywhere and it is excellent. (https://open.spotify.com/episode/1y0LNMg3zhHSi1ZdjKmkaB
This podcast made it easier to imagine further adaptations, and I've been working with a director/screenwriter to produce a short film based on my book. 

Matt: What's the best marketing of someone else’s book you’ve ever seen? 

Dan: That's a tough one to answer because I've seen so many examples of lost or squandered potential -- including for books published by the Big Five. One, however, stands out for me and that's the campaign for Gone Girl. The trailer really pulls you in and makes you ask, "What is the book about? What IS this book?" Haven't seen a better one before or since that novel came out in 2012.

Matt: What does success look like to you as an author? 

Dan: You mean something other than a villa on Lake Como, Italy? Ha ha, just putting that out there. Manifesting... Seriously, I think it's not too far-fetched to imagine another adaptation of Fiona's Guardians. I want a streaming series. I want it to be high quality, and beautifully shot and acted. I'd like to see it in my lifetime but will die quite happy knowing it's in the pipeline for others to enjoy. 

Matt: Building on that, how many sales do you think is a good achievement for an indie author? 

Dan: Allow me to suggest that the number of copies sold is less important than who reads your book. Do you have readers who enjoyed your book so much they took the time to write you a note saying they can't wait for the sequel? Do you have readers who recommend your title for their book club? Do you have one fan willing to walk around a book festival waving a copy of your book, telling everyone they should read it? And let's not forget: There's always a chance that someone will recommend it to a film or TV producer. That possibility may be low but it's never zero. I don't care if ten copies get sold or 10,000. What matters is who opens it and who stays with it to the final page. 

Matt: So what is your favourite vampire book and film? 

Dan: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2008 film version, which is one of my favourite vampire flicks. 

Matt: Thanks Dan – all the very best with DIY Book Promo!! 

If you’re interested and want to preorder the book you can here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/diy-book-promo/dan-klefstad/9781739367541 

AND – if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask Dan, or just hear him explain some of the promo itself he will be speaking at the Society Of Authors Hertfordshire Group which I Chair on 13th Feb – here’s the link to register for free: https://www2.societyofauthors.org/event/hertfordshire-writers-hybrid-meet-up-130224/

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4.5 - Lots of strong advice, and insights from Dan!

>>> Imagine a world where the earth is becoming hell?

Click banner below to find out in my dark sci-fi novel 

(now becoming a comic too)...