Well thank fuck we survived 2020, hey?

Honestly, sometimes you have to celebrate the little things.

I wanted to let you all know what I’m up to in 2021, and give you a bit of an update on how things are going.

If you haven’t been able to tell from the whole *waves hands at last year* thing, it wasn’t a good year for me. I put out one book, and while it was the best one I’ve done yet, it didn’t perform anywhere near as well as I’d hoped, so my confidence, motivation and direction was just kind of *waves hands around again in a generally vague fashion*.

I’m going into 2021 with a mission, and that mission’s name is EDGE Force.

What the hell is EDGE Force?

  • A Survival Horror LitRPG trilogy
  • shorter, faster, and bigger in scope than Crematoria Online
  • It takes place in the real world, not in a VRMMO

I’m writing all three books before publishing the final version of any of them. When I publish them, you’ll get getting all three books in a matter of months. But if you want to get in on the ground floor, I’ve got some good news.

I’ve just launched a Patreon, and all chapters of all three EDGE Force books will be uploaded there in alpha state before they’re published on Amazon.

They won’t be on Patreon forever though. Amazon’s policies with Kindle Unlimited (KU) means that once I publish it on KU, I’ll have to remove it from Patreon.

Here’s a little taste:

My eyes snapped open at the sound of gnashing teeth. I blinked a couple of times just to make sure my eyes were open, because all I saw was black. Something near me, something really close, was trying to take a bite out of something, but I couldn’t see shit.

A single light bloomed in the floor in front of me, which illuminated a person who walked on the ceiling. Steel bars separated us. My mind raced, trying to figure out how they were ignoring the laws of gravity. I looked down to see a chain affixed to some shackles around my legs, which were floating up towards the ceiling.

A sudden shift in my perspective made my head spin. The shambling gnasher on the other side of the bars wasn’t walking on the ceiling – I was upside-down, hanging by my feet!

This was far less than ideal.

I saw the thing beyond the cell door in a new light. While it looked human at first glance, wearing a tattered plaid shirt and torn, dirt-stained jeans, it chattered away to itself as it searched for prey. It had once been human but definitely wasn’t any longer.

The sockets of the eyes were empty, full of putrescent sludge which dripped over its pallid cheeks as it wandered around the room beyond the cell. Something that looked like osteoderms – the thick scaly armour that covered the backs of crocodiles – had started to grow over the exposed skin of the infected thing’s head.

I frantically looked around the cell to find some way I could get myself loose. My heart sank when I saw the door standing ajar. It wasn’t all the way open, but there was nothing stopping that thing from getting in here with me if it stumbled in the right direction.

Above me there was a lock on the shackles, which meant that somewhere around here had to be a key. I just needed to find it. I swung my head in either direction, desperately looking for the key.

How long did I have before that thing discovered the open cell door?

My arms were tied in front of me with a loose coil of fraying rope.

I grinned as I brought the rope to my lips and started tearing at it with my teeth. Sometimes a small victory is enough to stoke the fires of motivation. A jolt of pain in my left aim made me pause. I recoiled for a second and stared dumbfounded at the clear outline of a key sitting just under my skin.

“Oh, this is some Jigsaw bullshit,” I said, and immediately regretted opening my mouth.

The eyeless thing rushed towards me with its mouth open and its arms outstretched. It slammed into the cell wall and bounced off. Even though its eyes had turned into lumpy strawberry jam, it could still hear me.

With a long and storied history of both watching horror movies and writing my own horror novels, I knew I couldn’t waste any time. I worked the rope with my mouth until I could slip my hands free, then lifted my forearm to my lips.

No time to think.

No time to second guess myself.

No time to dwell on how much this was going to hurt.

Want to know what happens next? For your weekly fix, head on over to my Patreon and become a patron.

I won’t just be publishing the alpha chapters as I write them on Patreon – I’ll also be sharing some behind the scenes stuff, some insight into my writing process, and others things I think my patrons might enjoy.

As for Crematoria Online? I’m still working on it, but because the series was a bit of a fizzer, it’s going to be hard for me to make it a priority at the moment. If you want to help out with this, tell your friends about it. Leave reviews for the series. Spread the love, and I’ll be able to write more.

I’m hoping to avoid this whole leaving people hanging thing with EDGE Force by completing the trilogy before I publish any of it.

Published by Matthew J. Barbeler

Matthew J. Barbeler writes dark fiction to die for.

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