Matt Gemmell

My new book CHANGER is out now!

An action-adventure novel — book 1 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Omen

Personal & Writing 5 min read

Looking back now, with the dubious wisdom of nearly twenty-five intervening years, Christmas Spirit isn’t a great title for a novella.

It’s pedestrian, for one, and only becomes more so when you consider that it’s a horror story set during the festive period. Taking that into account, the title becomes not just obvious, but almost self-conscious; it has the quality of the winking codenames used when distributing blockbuster film reels to cinemas.

I was at high school though, so let’s give me a break.

CHANGER paperbacks are now available!

Books & Kestrel 1 min read

My ★★★★★ action-thriller novel, CHANGER, is now available as a beautiful, 474-page paperback!

You can choose from two options:

  • An autographed version, personally inscribed by me. It also includes an exclusive story-themed bookmark, which you can’t get anywhere else. I’ll personally sign the book to you (or the person of your choice), package it and mail it, worldwide. You can choose who it goes to.

  • A regular paperback, available from your local Amazon site: just search for “Matt Gemmell”. (Note: if you’re in Australia, you can instead order the regular paperback directly here. This will also work for any other country, if you don’t want to use Amazon!)

Stranger than fiction

Politics 5 min read

When I published my first novel, CHANGER, six days ago, a part of my mind was focused on the following day’s UK referendum on membership of the European Union. My wife and I had already voted by post, and we’re both strongly in the Remain camp — like the majority of people here in Scotland.

Much of the UK didn’t believe that a Leave result was a real possibility — clearly including the Westminster government. No plan in place, and no response ready. When that result nonetheless materialised on Friday morning, there was shock across all four nations, and beyond. The currency’s value fell by an unprecedented amount, wiping hundreds of billions from British assets in the space of only a couple of hours. There was anger, and disbelief, and a palpable sense of regret. Never in living memory was the United Kingdom more divided.

Announcing CHANGER

Books & Kestrel 2 min read

Today is my birthday, and I’m extremely excited to announce that my novel CHANGER will be available later this month!

It’ll be on the Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks stores (and you’ll also be able to buy the book directly, if you’d like to get an ePub file for your device). Paperback copies will be available a little later.

Shelf 7

Personal & Writing 5 min read

The little book shop was called Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.

It was painted a very light cream colour, it was on the same street that I grew up on — but in a different city and country — and the cheerful Englishman behind the counter had the improbable name of Mr. Scotland.

The shop had an upstairs, and also a basement reached via another staircase hidden elsewhere. There were typewriters beside bookshelves, handwritten recommendations all around, and appropriately to its location in the eponymous spa town, one of the display tables was a full-sized claw-footed bath with boards across the top.

Writing in Markdown

Writing, Books & Tech 1 min read

It’s no secret that I constantly write in Markdown, which is a brilliant solution for the problem of keeping files in readable, portable formats, but also allowing for useful structure and formatting. In a nutshell, Markdown lets you write plain text in a way that’s not only readable as-is, but can also be converted to HTML.

If you’ve ever emphasised a phrase *like this*, you’ve used Markdown. If you’ve ever used a series of asterisks to create a makeshift horizontal separator, you’ve used Markdown. If you’ve ever made a list by starting each line with a hyphen or a number, you’ve used Markdown. It’s intuitive, it follows very common conventions, and it’s simple to learn and use.

Power Unused

Productivity & Tech 3 min read

I’ve been thinking about my set of productivity apps here on my Mac (I do almost no work on my iPhone except for making notes, and I don’t own an iPad). Taking productivity seriously means always being willing to refine your setup, I think. Sometimes you have to live with something for a while before you can see the areas where it doesn’t quite suit you.

I’ve crossed a threshold recently whereby I’m now working exclusively in open formats. It wasn’t a philosophy; just an accumulation of aesthetic and practical choices that had an unsought but pleasing side-effect.

Conduit

Personal 4 min read

Once in a while, someone asks me if I’m Matt Gemmell. I always tell myself that next time, my reply will be a wry Only if he doesn’t owe you money, but in reality I just say yes then silently curse the missed opportunity.

A year and a half ago, I wrote about losing my surname then taking it back, and the story will always be a defining part of my past. It shook my identity loose for a time, and I’ve never regained ownership of the person I was during those years. I did learn something, though, or rather I relearned some ancient wisdom that we’d do well to keep in mind.