Matthew Hughes: the Archonate

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OLD GROWTH — a Sid Rafferty Mystery

Here’s one for those who like my crime-writing side, especially those who have enjoyed my semi-autobiographical mystery, Downshift:  I’m self-publishing the sequel, Old Growth, in ebook formats and as a POD paperback.  You can buy it from my webstore or through Amazon and other online vendors.

If you like brick-and-mortar bookstores (and who here doesn’t?), you can get your friendly neighborhood bookseller to order in a copy for you.  There’s even an audio book version, narrated by the excellent Bob Gonzalez, who narrated the audio version of Downshift.

Old Growth is set on Vancouver Island during the mid-1990s, when dope-growing was a burgeoning new industry and environmental activists were swarming in from all over the world to protest logging of old-growth forests in the Carmanah Valley and Clayoquot Sound.  It’s a little less autobiographical than Downshift, but it deals with events I was tangentially involved in as a freelance speechwriter working for forest companies and politicians.

Here’s the blurb:

Freelance speechwriter Sid Rafferty signs on to help a neophyte candidate run for election as an alderman in Cumberland, once a booming coal-mining town on Vancouver Island that’s now shrunk down to an out-of-the-way little village. But first another writing job makes Sid a witness to a violent death the Mounties are calling murder, then a pair of marijuana-growing brothers want to know what he’s doing poking around near their grow-op.

An old colleague from his newspaper offers Sid a job spying on environmental activists, but he finds working undercover is no picnic. And he’s about to find out that in Cumby, old currents run as dark and deep as the abandoned mine shafts. Dig down too far and the past can reach up with a deadly grip.

You can read the first chapter here.



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“Fishface and the Leg”

One for the completists: the first story I ever sold was “Fishface and the Leg,” and it appeared in the supplement to a weekly farmers’ newspaper out of Saskatchewan called The Western Producer. It’s never been seen again until now, when it shows up in the Table of Contents of Pulp Literature’s Issue number 13. Because it’s a crime story, it will have the byline “by Matt Hughes.”

In the same issue is “The Devil You Don’t,” a little time-travel yarn that ran in Asimov’s several years ago. The byline on that one is “Matthew Hughes.”


I’ve started writing hardboiled space-opera short stories featuring Erm Kaslo, a “confidential operative” whose investigations take him to many of the Ten Thousand Worlds. I did the first one, a novelette called “Thunderstones,” for editor Nick Gevers who was putting together an anthology called Extrasolar for PS Publishing and needed to fill a gap. Now I’ve placed a second story, “The Bicolor Spiral,” with Lightspeed Magazine and have started a third.

Erm Kaslo, you may remember, is the protagonist of A Wizard’s Henchman, now out in limited editions and ebook formats from PS Publishing. In the novel, he undergoes a transition from confidential operative to the position in the eponymous title after the universe suddenly shifts its operating basis from rationalism to magic. I plan to do more with Kaslo in the post-change environment – probably another novel – but the short stories will be prequels, covering the years before the big change when he was a Sam Spade of the far future.


I’m recovering the rights to The Other, the Luff Imbry novel that would have had a sequel to complete the story begun in the first book, but the publisher changed owners and the numbers were not good enough. This authoring game is all about the numbers.

I may try crowdfunding the second Imbry book through Kickstarter or GoFundMe. I have to look into the ins and outs. I have pretty much decided to try Patreon, however, which offers readers an opportunity to fund their preferred authors and artists by pledging a dollar or two every month. I’ll wait until after the holiday, though, since December is not a good time launch new ventures.

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Kindle Giveaway of A Wizard’s Henchman

With the release of A Wizard’s Henchman, I’m trying something new to broaden my readership.  Using Amazon’s giveaway program, I’ve provided seven copies of the Kindle ebook as prizes.


An apology to my readers in Canada, the UK, and the antipodes, but Amazon will only allow the contest to be open to US residents,  To enter to win a copy of the novel, all you have to do is go here and click on the button that says you will follow my Amazon author’s page.


The promotion runs for the next nine days and the winners will be randomly selected by Amazon’s computers.


Good luck!

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A Wizard’s Henchman in Kindle

My new Archonate novel, A Wizard’s Henchman, is now available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon.  The US price is $5.99 ($7.79 Canadian) and £4.56 in the UK.




Here’s the blurb:

Erm Kaslo is at the top of his game: a hardboiled confidential operative in the ultra-high-tech civilization of The Ten Thousand Worlds that spans the entire galactic arm known as The Spray. But the universe is about to arbitrarily change its fundamental operating premise from science to magic. Technology will cease to function and all of Kaslo’s hard-won skills and abilities will be useless.

As the change nears, a handful of would-be wizards are jockeying for position in the coming race for supremacy, squabbling over the few ancient books and paraphernalia that survive from the long-forgotten age when magic last ruled the cosmos. Kaslo goes to work for Diomedo Obron, a wealthy dilettante with more money than common sense who hopes to emerge as a powerful thaumaturge.

But there’s worse to come: an ancient evil has been biding its time for millennia, waiting for the age of science to end. Now, its moment finally arrived, it reaches out from another plane to strike with deadly force. And only Kaslo can stop it—if he can live long enough.


And here’s the opening chapter:

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New Raffalon story in F&SF

I’ve had an email from Charlie Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, to tell me that my Raffalon story, “The Vindicator,” will run in the November/December issue.
This is will be the last Raffalon story to appear in F&SF. When the exclusivity period runs out in the middle of 2017, I’ll put them all together in a collection and put it out as an ebook and POD paperback.

The collection will include the seven stories that have run in the magazine, plus “The Inn of the Seven Blessings,” the original Raffalon story that appeared in the George R.R. Martin anthology, Rogues. And I’ll write a ninth story to appear exclusively in the collection.

While I’m talking about F&SF, Amazon is offering an amazing discount on an annual subscription to the ebook version. If I’m reading it right, the price is US$5 for six big double issues – which is 83 cents an issue. Five bucks for 450,000 words of fiction, plus columns, cartoons, reviews, feature articles, and some interesting classified ads – that’s the best bargain in SFF today.

Here’s a link:

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