Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Not Yet

writing 6 min read

I have a son now.

That’s a strange thing to write, even though it was always the logical conclusion of all this. Maybe the dissonance is because what I really have is a baby, who happens to be male. I feel like the son part comes later, when he becomes more of a distinct person, rather than this functioning, information-absorbing blank being in miniature.

In any case, he’s perched on my chest as I write this, wrapped in a sling. My iPad is on my lap, and my wife is upstairs with the dog, having a much-needed nap. I’m taking this opportunity to write to you while I wait for the tumble dryer to finish what has become it’s once– or twice–daily cycle. Our lives have become smaller, and both regimented in content but also enormously variable in schedule.

She was in labour for thirty-six hours. We went to the hospital twice; the first time for pain relief and the second time for the main event, about twelve hours apart. After admission, it was still more than fourteen hours until the baby arrived. Throughout, we were treated wonderfully by the staff, with our own delivery room and dedicated midwives who were with us — and only us — the whole time. I think we were alone for perhaps five minutes during our entire stay in the labour ward.

They made it clear that everything was our own choice, and that there were always options. They followed our birth plan whenever practical, and they kept us informed as things moved forward.

Even so, we ran into some difficulties.

Weekly Short Story: Antisocial

writing, fiction & once upon a time 5 min read

On Monday mornings, I send out a story via email: ultra-brief tales of 1,000 words or more, usually in genres including science fiction, horror, and the supernatural. Those stories collectively are called Once Upon A Time. I’ve also published three ebooks and one paperback anthology of those stories so far.

I’d love to have you as a subscriber to the weekly free story. You can subscribe via email here, or use the form below. Unsubscribe any time, from the link in every issue.

Weekly Short Story: Nine Mile Burn

writing, fiction & once upon a time 5 min read

On Monday mornings, I send out a story via email: ultra-brief tales of 1,000 words or more, usually in genres including science fiction, horror, and the supernatural. Those stories collectively are called Once Upon A Time. I’ve also published three ebooks and one paperback anthology of those stories so far.

I’d love to have you as a subscriber to the weekly free story. You can subscribe via email here, or use the form below. Unsubscribe any time, from the link in every issue.

Free weekly short stories via email

writing 1 min read

Hello again. I hope you’re keeping safe and well. Here in Scotland we’ve just entered our second lockdown, and I’ve never been more grateful for the distractions of writing and reading.

During the past year, I’ve published three volumes of flash fiction: ultra-short tales of 1,000 words or so, to entertain but also to take the reader’s mind away from real life’s strange concerns during these times. Today, I’m announcing a bold (and completely free) new venture.

I plan to write and send out a brief tale via email once per week, to anyone who wants to receive it. New tales arrive on Mondays, and the first will go out later this month. There’s no cost, of course. This is just my way of reaching out to readers, and hopefully helping begin each week with at least a few minutes of entertainment.

If you’d like to receive the weekly stories, please sign up here!

There’s no catch, and you can unsubscribe at any time. You can also read more about the Once Upon A Time series of short stories so far, which includes three ebooks and a paperback anthology.

I hope you’ll choose to subscribe to these free brief stories. I can’t wait to send them to you.

Take care, thank you for reading, and best wishes from Edinburgh.

Publishing paperback novels with an iPad

tech & ipad-only 3 min read

This article is part of a series on going iPad-only.


As a writer, the iPad is already my perfect computer.

As a novelist who self-publishes, though, there have always been a number of limitations on which parts of my job I can do solely on this device — but things have changed. As various third-party iPad apps have become available (and evolved), and as iPadOS itself has progressed to give a more desktop-level web experience in particular, there’s now very little that an iPad is locked out of.

For the first time, I can now create and publish novels — in both ebook and paperback formats — entirely on the iPad, from start to finish. And to prove it, I did just that.

Once Upon A Time Volume 3

writing & books 1 min read

The third volume of my anthology of ultra-short sci-fi / horror / etc stories is out now! You can find on Amazon/Kindle, Apple Books, and as a ePub ebook file (either as-is, or a special autographed-cover edition). Once Upon A Time is a collection of flash fiction: standalone tales of 1,000–3,000 words, in genres including science fiction, horror, and the supernatural! The anthology also includes author’s notes on each tale, describing inspiration and background.

Custom Prompts for Drafts

development & tech 2 min read

Drafts 21 is out today, and it brings a major new feature for Actions developers: the ability to create custom user interfaces using the HTMLPreview window, which can now execute JavaScript and pass data back out to the calling context or action.

Accordingly, I’ve released MGCheckListPrompt, a custom selection/picker dialog which lets you choose from a list of options — which can be either drafts, or arbitrary choices. There are lots of configurable options and conveniences, including: full keyboard navigation/control (no pointing devices/fingers required); support for Mac, iPad, and iPhone; automatic light/dark theme support; customisable appearance via CSS; optional type-to-select mode; and more. Both multiple-selection (checkboxes) and single-selection (radio-buttons) modes are supported.