Monday, August 14

Ladies and Gentlemen, and fans of mine (who very likely do not fall into either of the first categories), I present to you

Paul Stevenson, of Danville, Illinois, one of approximately three people (other than my older brothers) who can truthfully say he kicked my ass.

Would have been about third grade, I guess. Maybe fourth. It's important to note, here, that I was the biggest kid in my class. Strongest too, at the time. And Paul was just about the smallest. Though he was quick as a snake, which is also significant to the following story.

So we're in the door line at Roselawn Elementary (the doorline is where the neighborhood kids lined up to wait for the bell to ring and the front doors to open, and I notice Paul's lips are bright red. Now, I knew very well what was up: this was the result of a plaque-dye passed out at school the day before. It stains dental plaque red so you can judge how well you're brushing your teeth. Most of us -- myself included -- used them at night, and were able to scrub off the residue by the next morning.

Paul, apparently, used his in the morning. In my usual charming manner, I asked him if his mother had tried a dress on him while she was helping him with his lipstick.

Instead of taking a shot back -- which was what I'd been expecting -- he blitzed me.

Now, in those days I was also the fastest runner in the class (usually -- sometimes a kid named Chris Nelson could beat me, and sometimes a girl named Rhonda Drews. But I could also beat them.) so I scampered away, laughing, fully secure in the knowledge that there was no way Paul could catch me.

As has occasionally happened in my life, I overestimated my ability.

Before I entirely understood what was happening, he had tackled me and was proceeding to belabor me about the head and shoulders. He didn't actually hurt me -- don't think he was actually trying to; he was merely providing a public demonstration of the simple fact that I could easily get stomped by a guy wearing lipstick. More or less.

Which lesson I have never, by the way, forgotten.

Thanks for dropping by, Paul. I'll be in touch.


Chris said...

That is probably one of the more pleasant ways of getting "stomped by a man wearing lipstick" Matt!

reanningson said...

Stover! I'm so glad to see you're back. I had almost given up hope. It has been a while since I last checked the site. I saw tonight that you truly were alive.

It made my night. :)

Congrats on the house, sorry about the leg, and its interesting to hear that you (contrary to popular belief) are not invincible.

I eagerly await CBK. IF (and that's a big if) you ever have a spare moment and you want to help a poor writer in distress I would love it if you helped me out on some of my stories. My e-mail is if you're interested.

If not, eh, I'll live...Stephen King blew me off. And if you can get rejected by "the master of horror" then anyone else is easy.

Allright. Thanks. And I'm glad you're back.

reanningson said...

Oops. That should be comcast.

Dammit I hate typing.

freddy said...

Somebody said "Finally, I need to quit screwing with conspiracy shit and get back to work on CBK."


Also, for some reason, whenever I think the words CBK I hear Bruce Campbell's voice saying it with a an Elvis impersonator accent.

CBK baby, CBK.

But for real though, there are only 2 books I'm looking forward to at the moment. One is written by a Mr Donaldson, another is by a Mr Stover. I'm anxious for both to come out.

Paul said...

That's so funny, I do remember that red dye stuff. We did find out who was faster, now didn't we.


GameCreator said...

The name calling and the faux fight reminds me a little of Caine and Orbek.

Anu said...

Holy freaking god, Lois!

I'm always shocked when I discover that other people who live outside of Danville are in fact from Danville, have driven through it, or have even heard of it - especially when I met those people in NYC. I don't know why. I guess after more than 20 years of living here (moved here around my 2nd birthday), it still blows my mind that people like Gene Hackman and the Van Dyke brothers once called this place home.

It's not a complete Dudsville. Apparently Taco Bell's the place to be, and Walgreens is the place to work... I just wish we weren't getting a damn Starbucks. That's the last thing this town needs.

Anyway, glad your surgery went well. Take care of yourself!

MWS said...


Do I know you?

I still spend a bit of time in Danville -- my mother lives there . . .

Anonymous said...

My first comment here and I don't have time to make an account.

Glad to see you back from surgury and feeling better. I'm still feeling horrible about the death of David Gemmell. You and him are my two favorite writers.

Looking forward to CBK! Thanks for all the great stories...


Anu said...

Wow, your mom is here? Small world!

Most likely we've never met outside of a book signing. I would've remembered and gushed like a fangirl to my friends.

Azrof D said...

No wonder Caine was so small.....cheers and thanks for the story!

Interbang said...

A small bit of news about Heroes Die:

A bunch of 80 year old ladies will be discussing your book on Saturday, September 23 in Santa Monica, CA.

Scroll down to see Heroes Die listed under the Fairview SciFi/Fanstasy Book Group

Okay, I don't know for sure if they'll all be 80 year old women, but that's the general book group population here, so you never know. For many of these senior citizens, Heroes Die will be their first foray into the SciFi/Fantasy genre.

The head librarian has promoted this new book group and Heroes Die all over the library, displaying new copies of Heroes Die available for checkout all over the fiction and science fiction shelves, along with the book club flyer. We've been doing promotion for six weeks, so there may be quite a crowd.

I'll post again after the discussion, to let you know what your new target audience thinks of Caine's first adventure.

All the best,

MWS said...

Holy crap.

THIS oughta be entertaining . . .

Mike said...

I read "Heroes Die" for the first time in 2001 and thought it was amazing, then i went on and bought all your other books and loved all of them too. I am a huge star wars fan so i was thrilled when i found out you were writing a book for the NJO series.

Thanks for pointing out "The Lies of Locke Lamora" i got it about 3 weeks ago and couldnt put it down, it entertained me all the way from Baltimore to Guam. Any other awesome book suggestions??

Can't wait for CBK!

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,
I'm an author and college student, and have some questions for you. Traitor was an amazing novel. If you have the time please shoot me a quick e-mail at Thanks.


johneyfisher3598451267 said...
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Anonymous said...

Matt, you've ruined me. I used to enjoy books that I could just slip into and not worry about realism and all...but now when I read sci-fi I want it all to make sense and I want it to feel like it could happen. Thank you for ruining me. I now feel complete as one of your fans :)

l3yos53mgm said...

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Anonymous said...

Wow Matt! You're getting spam comments!

How scary is that!?!?


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Stover,
I would very much like to get my son, Aaron, an autographed picture of you for Christmas. He's in college in Tennessee. He turned me on to Heroes Die and Blade 5 years ago when we were moving to Germany (we work for the Army here). I'm 53, so I grew up on the explosion of science fiction/fantasy available lo these many years ago. He and I still consider Heroes Die as our favorite sf book (Dune's a very close second). We're no hero worshippers, just fans of talent. I just finished Blade again, and it occured to me how much he would love something for a dorm wall from you. Please let me know if you can help me out. Email me at Oh, he also turned me on to UFC/MMA (he takes BJJ classes). Looking forward to hearing from you.

Rick Burcham

Anonymous said...

Matt, I finished Heroes Die. Like the solution Caine found, as I was expecting them to cast the forget spell on Mal, thereby making everyone forget him. Kinda surprised not so much by epilogues as by their order. The "On-Sale Now" after the "Someone to Meet" seems a lot more... I dunno, gritty. My gosh, you are far more a softy than I anticipated!
- Prentice Southwell, Springfield, IL (yeah, the guy who talked your ear of at the Con, AND the guy that STILL needs to read Ep. III. It's sold out at BN right now.)

Chris said...

Where've you been Matt, you crazy kid! Still winterising?

Your fans demand an update!!

Paul Maitrejean said...

Hey, Matt . . .

I really like your writing style. Matter of fact, I was never a big Star Wars guy until I read your novelization of Revenge of the Sith. You put so much more depth into the story. As a writer, I respect and admire you deeply.

But then I read your blog, and you come off as a trash-mouthed lowlife. Not saying you ARE . . . I'm saying that's how you sound (read, whatever). Are you sure that's how you want your fans and potential fans (such as myself) to perceive you? I'm just asking you to think about it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Prentice again... finally got EP. III, and absolutely loved it, especially, the Anakin Forever finish and the way you captured the arrogance of Dooku. I keep rereading it, and I am still wondering about Mace (@#$^@%#ing contract of yours... :D)
Looking forward to reading that debate next. That or Blade of Tyshalle. BTW, drop me an answer at Is it pronounced Burn or Bernie?

Sammy in Toronto said...

It's not that he's a trash mouthed lowlife at all. It's how wonderfully well he crafts the speech of trashmouthed lowlife that makes him so special to us!!! Matt.. what happened to you? are you still with us or has the Force taken you over for good??

Anonymous said...

My thought on sounding like a "trash-mouthed lowlife" ...

Fuck'em if they can't take a joke


Anonymous said...

Of course on the other hand, I have known Matt for something like 25 years now (fuck, I'm old) and I would say that he is in no way a lowlife ...

Eric (again?)

Anonymous said...
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r.e.anningson said...

Matt, I thought that these things might interest you:

My final project in English this semester is an essay centered around "Getting Away From it All." We could choose any novel we saw fit. I chose Blade of Tyshalle and developed the argument about how most of the novel is Caine's struggle to free himself from the limitations he had set for himself as Hari.

I earned an A. I might add it was the only A anyone received on the paper. And I feel quite confident in asserting that it was not my because of my writing that I got an was the book. So I owe you some thanks.

Also, I have lent my copy of Heroes Die to 9 people, all of whom are promptly going out to buy Blade. Just thought you'd be interested to know that your fan-base is ever growing and that you've shaped and changed many people's lives.

Including mine.

-Ryan Anningson

valenka said...

Stover, would like to dialogue sometime--this way is fine.
Sorry to hear re the knee, btw--sprained an ankle recently during first 5K race--training for 1/2 marathon 2 benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Soc. Yours sounds worse.
After many shenanigans, finally decided to learn 2 notate music by self. Arranging stuff written in high school, working thru college, &...u guessed it--ran into a few we collaborated on. Am studying at Blue Bear School in S.F. , & my piano/comp instr.
thinks I should work harder to contact you before using any lyrics/etc. Like 2 think October Light has beautiful melody (mine), inspired by equally excellent lyrics (yours). In a few other pcs., collaborative boundaries aren't so clear. I want to use your lyrics, esp. here, instead of rewriting. Think feel same re Greet the Dawn, though lyrics not 100% finished.
Can I put your name on these as co-writer? Dk that anything will come of this, but just in case...
I am very happy for your success--no one deserves it more. Best to Robyn, & to your mother & family.
Very good people.
With respect,

metabaron said...

Dear Sir,

I've only come across your novels recently but I've been hugely impressed. The style, the pacing, and the imagination have all been superior, but what has impressed me the most has been the depth of reading and knowledge evidenced by yourself which is brought across to great effect in your work. In a world of bland genre fiction, there is not much that will challenge the reader, but you've taken up the gauntlet and proven yourself more than up to the task. I look forward to your next piece. In the meantime, however, is there anything you can recommend which will allow the reader to aspire to the heights and depths of the experiences outlined in your stories?

Best regards,

A new fan

MWS said...

The best thing you can do, metabaron, is read the Heavy Hitters; y'know, Hemingway, Kipling, Conrad, Tolstoy, Chandler -- those guys. The only problem is that reading the Greats can ruin you for reading anybody else. Including me.

If you want to stay in-genre, read Donaldson's CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT THE UNBELIEVER, starting with LORD FOUL'S BANE. Or Gene Wolfe's BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. Or Moorcock's BEHOLD THE MAN. Or Graham Joyce's THE TOOTH FAIRY. Or Paul Witcover's WAKING BEAUTY. Or Bakker's PRINCE OF NOTHING books.

Or . . .

There's plenty of Good Stuff out there.

metabaron said...


Thanks for your comment. I have in the past read the first five writers you mention, along with large chunks of Moorcock and Donaldson, but still greatly enjoy your own work. Indeed I completed reading through your entire back catalogue recently and found it a very good experience. I look forward to Caine Black Knife.

One of the best aspects of your work are the martial arts details, which are extremely accurate, kinetic and enthralling. I have an involvement in the arts myself, and have written a few articles on the subject. If you're interested, you can find these by clicking here:

Best regards