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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Odds and ends

I haven’t posted anything lately, but I’ve been doing a lot of writing.  I’m waiting to hear on a novella that’s in the intake hopper at the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and a short story submitted to Lightspeed.

The novella is the latest episode in the unwinding story of Baldemar, learning his trade as a wizard’s henchman.  The short story is a space opera tale of Erm Kaslo, hardboiled confidential operative, in the far-future age of the Ten Thousand Worlds, before magic becomes once again the operating principle of the universe.  I plan to write a number of Kaslo stories, if I can sell them.

Meanwhile. The November/December issue of F&SF contains the last (but one) story about Raffalon the thief.  Its title is “The Vindicator” and it features Cascor the discriminator.  Six months from now, when the exclusivity period for “Vindicator” ends, I’ll self-publish a collection of all the Raffalon tales, including one I haven’t written yet which will be exclusive to the collection.

A reprint of a non-Archonate story of mine, “Hunchster,” is available online in the monthly free ezine, Polar Borealis, a labor of love by Canadian fan-extraordinaire R. Graeme Cameron.  PB features an all-Canadian cast of fictioneers, poets, and artists.   A good place to encounter up-and-comers.

I’m in between housesits at the moment.  More news to come once I’m settled again.

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Wizard’s Henchman signed limited edition

Yesterday I received the signature sheets for the 100-copy signed limited edition of A Wizard’s Henchman.  These are pages that will be bound into the front of the limited, each with my signature and a number from 1 to 100.

I signed them and had them back in the hands of FedEx that afternoon.  By Wednesday evening (September 21) they’ll arrive at PS Publishing’s Yorkshire premises from where they can go to the bindery and get bound into the books.

So those who have ordered the limited edition can start counting the days.  Shouldn’t be too long.

The book has already had its first review on (five stars — thanks, Karl).  Here’s a gentle reminder that reviews on Amazon or Goodreads and other venues help sell books.  They don’t have to be five stars;  in fact, a book that earns a range of reader reactions tends to be more trusted by a reader who hasn’t tried the author before.  Too many authors enlist friends and family to plug their works.

Also, a couple of readers have posted questions about the book on Goodreads, and I’ve been happy to answer them.  Anybody who has any questions about any of my works is welcome to use the Goodreads site to get in touch, and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

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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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