2021

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.

Continue reading “2021”

Spooky Books for Halloween

Hello there everybody! With the spooky season almost upon us, you might be looking for a good book to scare the shit out of you. I thought I’d put together a little list to help you with that goal.

These novels are listed in no particular order, and I’m just listing them because I loved them. I received nothing in exchange for these endorsements, but uhh, if Mr. King wants to give a cover quote for my next book, I’m all ears…

Now, without further ado…

Continue reading “Spooky Books for Halloween”

A long overdue update

Hello friends!

I just wanted to take the time to give you all a bit of an update on a couple of things. I’ve been a bit quiet for the past six months, and after saying I was going to give everybody monthly updates, that just hasn’t happened.

My bad.

Continue reading “A long overdue update”

New Release: Legacy of the Bloodreaver

Crematoria Online: A dark fantasy LitRPG series from Matthew J. Barbeler! For fans of Diablo, Bloodborne, Devil May Cry, and The Elder Scrolls.

Making friends has never been Lucas Hutchins’ strong suit, but now he has no choice in the matter. He has a promise to keep, but he’s not strong enough to do it alone.

Lucas forges friendships and alliances with a bunch of ragtag player characters: a purple-haired Apothecary with a passion for baking, a mysterious Occultist who takes role-playing way too seriously, and a Hellkin who just wants everyone to get along.

Meanwhile, the armies of the Crimson Queen are gathering in the realm of Sanguinaria. They mean to invade the Four Kingdoms and bend every man, woman and child to the Crimson Queen’s will.

Lucas must use his wits and his Investigator abilities to find out what the Crimson Queen is up to before it’s too late to fight back.

Get Legacy of the Bloodreaver now!

Praise for Rise of the Crimson Order: Crematoria Online Book One:

“This has got to be one of the best books I’ve ever read with Kindle Unlimited. Bravo.” – Matt, Amazon Review

“one hell of an adventure” – Shawn T. King, Amazon Review

“I loved the detective class and the abilities/actions are very well thought out. It’s refreshing to have something other than sword & board.” – Goonbag, Amazon Review

January 2020 Update

New year, same goals.

I’ve bought into the whole New Years’ Resolution thing in the past, but I pretty much have the same goals every year.

  • Write more
  • Make good health-related decisions

This year I’ve got an addition to the list, which is kind of tied into both.

  • Consume less, create more.

This is kind of a catch-all statement that captures my attitude toward a lot of things. The older I get, the more cynical I get about this consumer-centric capitalist nightmare we all live in. This year I want to be more conscious of the things I spend my money on, and the societal/corporate structures that my spending choices support.

I want to be financially independent and debt-free, so I can pursue a life of literary abandon. But the day job is what pays for the book covers, the editing and the advertising at the moment. Lots of work to do in that space.

It goes without saying that being the best Dad I can be is right up the top of the list.

Crematoria Online

The Legacy of the Bloodreaver Kickstarter is almost over, and I’m almost sure that it’s not going to be funded.

I’m okay with that.

At the beginning of the campaign, I was a little disheartened about the slow start. I’ve run two other Kickstarter campaigns in my life, and they were both effortless, resounding successes. One was funded in 8 hours, the other was funded in 2.

To have such a dead-on-arrival campaign for Legacy of the Bloodreaver didn’t feel great.

But as I was setting up the campaign, I knew the costs were prohibitive. The costs involved in printing a 500 page book, shipping it from Amazon’s KDP warehouse to me to sign in Australia, then to re-send out to backers, is untenable. Combine that with the weak Aussie dollar, and Kickstarter’s fees, I pretty much had to price myself out of success.

The last campaigns I ran ended up costing me money in printing and shipping costs over and above what was raised on Kickstarter, but this time I did my homework and costed the whole campaign accurately so that I would be able to cover costs with the funds raised.

$75 for two books from an Aussie indie writer is just too expensive, it seems.

But that’s cool. It just reaffirms that I should be focussing on ebooks as my primary release platform, and that audiobooks are the next platform I need to pursue. Putting the physical books as a priority doesn’t make sense for me at this juncture.

There’s just under 47 hours left in the campaign at the time of posting this, so if you want to put in a last minute pledge, you’re more than welcome. If the campaign isn’t successful, you won’t be charged a dime.

Anyway, Legacy of the Bloodreaver should be going up for preorder on Amazon very soon. I’m really proud of this book, and I think all you LitRPG folks are going to love it.

The First 10 Weeks of Dadhood

Tobias turned 10 weeks old this week, and it’s a bit crazy how quickly that time has gone. Maybe it’s gone so fast because I’ve only worked my day job five out of those ten weeks, and the remaining time has been a flurry of editing, nappies, spending time with family, and all the chaos that Christmas brings.

It’s not hyperbole when I say that these last ten weeks have been the best of my life. The arrival of this little dude is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Just look at that cheeky little bugger.

Modest Mouse said it best. “When life gets longer, awful feels softer.”

Other Writing

He’s a little tiny teaser of a cover I’ve had commissioned for Beasts & Bastions volume 1, done by the excellent and twisted horror specialist Dean Samed.

I’m still working on the first draft, but I’m hoping this book will drop sometime in 2020.

I’ve published five chapters of Beasts & Bastions on my website already, but I’m sad/glad to say that these chapters are now defunct. The first two chapters will be changed a bit, but the whole starting in the forest thing is going to be scrapped, and the characters are going to be changed a bit. I’ve got a better opening, which I’m going to start drafting after I get Crematoria Online book 2 out the door.

I’m also going to be helping edit the latest anthology from my local writers group (The book is titled Misbehaving), which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. On one hand, I don’t feel qualified to edit or critique someone else’s work, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for growth. So I’m in.

I also had a piece published on Junkee.com about my experience discovering my aboriginal ancestry, and all the baggage that comes with. You can read it here.

Legacy of the Bloodreaver Kickstarter

The Legacy of the Bloodreaver Kickstarter is now live!

This campaign is the best way to get signed copies of my Crematoria Online series. If you have a second, please spread the word on your social media channels, and to anyone you feel might be interested!

December 2019 Update

Well, here we are, the last day of 2019.

It’s been a hell of a year. I am not being hyperbolic when I say this has been the best year of my life. It’s had its challenges, sure, but those are all smoke in the wind now.

My greatest highlight is becoming a father. I’ve been a surprise dad to Little Miss 7 for a couple of years now, but having a bub is a whole other ball game. It’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced, but also once of the most rewarding.

The other highight? I’ve had the most successful year of my life as an author. My Crematoria Online series has gained some serious traction, and it’s so awesome to see people as excited about my work as I am. I’m still working full time, so this is just baby steps, but at least I’m taking steps in the direction I want to go.

Here’s to a bigger 2020!

Crematoria Online

Still working away. I’ve put the Legacy of the Bloodreaver Kickstarter together, and I’ll be kicking that off soon. But I’m also doing a rewrite on the last quarter of the book. I want Legacy to be the best book it can possibly be, so taking the time to rewrite feels like a necessary thing to do.

Here’s a sneak peek of the Legacy of the Bloodreaver ebook cover!

Did I mention that there are now Crematoria Online t-shirts?

Other Fiction

I’m also writing another LitRPG/GameLit serial called Beasts & Bastions, which I’m publishing to my website here as I go. I’m also uploading to Royal Road if you’d prefer to follow it over there.

Keep in mind that this is pure alpha – I won’t be doing a structural edit until the first arc is done. But if you like it raw, then give it a read.

It’s a ‘bunch of friends get transporting into a tabletop roleplaying game’ story, but set in a distinctly Australian setting. It’s going to use a whole bunch of Australian mythological creatures, as well as classic monsters with an Aussie twist, while also celebrating my aborginal roots.

It’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

I’ve got so much faith in this series that the first arc already has a Dean Samed cover on its way.

That’s all from me for this year, folks. I hope 2019 has treated you well, and I hope 2020 treats you even better.

November 2019 Update

Wowzers, this update is super late! 10 days into December! Sorry about that.

I spent most of November preparing for my son’s arrival, and then after he came along it was a complete blur. But the hard stuff (and honestly, there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of hard stuff for me) is completely outweighed by the good stuff.

The first baby cuddle, the first time he grabbed my finger in his tiny hand, the first time he smiled, and even the first time he peed during a nappy change (which hit yours truly right in the open mouth – lesson learned) – all of these moments are incomparable to anything I’ve ever experienced before in my life.

I am in absolute awe of my wife-to-be Abbie. She is the strongest person I have ever met. I thought I knew what true love was before the birth of our son, but I didn’t have a fucking clue. I feel like my life only just started last month, that I’m seeing things through a brand new set of eyes. I feel like everything leading up to this was just practice.

Crematoria Online

In book-related news, Rise of the Crimson Order got a new cover last month, and new versions of the books are in the process of being uploaded to Amazon. The changes are not major. They include:

  • rebalancing of stats of the items Lucas receives during the book, to ensure they adhere to the overarching gear power curve of the whole series
  • addition of one scene, which alleviates some deus ex machina in a later chapter. If you’ve bought the Kindle edition of the novel, you should be able to update the manuscript when the update is live

I’m in the process of finalizing the new paperback version of Rise with the snazzy new cover.

This whole rebranding thing is for a reason. Early in 2020, I’ll be launching a Kickstarter Campaign for Crematoria Online book two. This will include a reward tier where you can get the whole story so far, which will include the two books, new cover(s) and matching spines, so it’ll look all pretty on your shelf. Book three will adhere to the same style when it’s done.

I have a lot of faith in Crematoria Online – I think it’s one of the finest things I’ve written, and I’m really excited to take you all on the journey through this story. So far, I have a whole Lucas Hutchins arc planned out, that will go for a minimum of two more books (four in total), with a potential for more after that.

NaNoWriMo

Hahahaha, NaNoWriMo was a bust. I got 17k words written during the month. That’s still better than a kick in the teeth, but nowhere near the goal of 50k.

PS, if you want to see gratuitous baby + proud dad photos, visit my public Instagram. ❤