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Write a Novel with Me

I have an idea for my next book. It will be a historical novel with some supernatural elements, and probably middle grade (but that might change). It is not under contract. I haven’t written a single word. I have done no research yet. I have not mentioned it to my agent or any of my editors. I am at the moment in this book’s creation that sits just after the idea’s Big Bang. All is raw and formless matter. 

The COVID19 pandemic has been a disruptive force that has led me to a reassessment and new appreciation for aspects of my life I once took for granted.

I miss being around other writers. I miss teaching. I want to restore some of that to my life, though not in a way that fights prevailing conditions, but rather leans into them through our newly ubiquitous forms of connectivity. I also want to use this disruption to become more aware, or differently aware, of how I write.

If you decide to join me on this year-long adventure, you will have access to a monthly virtual gathering over Zoom, where I will give a 90-minute presentation on writing a novel, related to the part of my novel that I am working on at that time. Think of it like an in-depth studio tour. I will bring you backstage (please watch your head and mind the dust) and show you how one of my novels gets written. I expect we will begin with research and idea development, then character development, then outlining, then drafting and revising. Along the way, I will also be pitching and sending the book to my agent, and he will possibly be pitching it to editors (whether or not an editor will want it remains to be seen). I also expect there will be setbacks, pitfalls, and disappointments, and I will share those, too. And I use the word expect because I don’t actually know how things will unfold. As I mentioned above, it may be that writing a novel in this way will make me more aware of how I actually do it, and it could very well be that I do it differently than I think I do.

These sessions will be open to any student to join. If you are interested in creative endeavors, generally, or have ever wondered how a novel gets written, please join me by visiting the course website to register. If you’d like to learn more, I had a virtual discussion about the workshop with Luke Peterson of Futurescapes, which can be found here


I’ve decided to embark on an unlikely new writing project. I say unlikely, because it’s not something in which I would have predicted having any interest, but nevertheless, here we are. I’ve decided to start a (ahem) monthly newsletter, The Kirbside Almanac, which will be published on the 1st day of every month. But this will not be an ordinary newsletter. Firstly, I will not be using it to promote my books or my events, at least not primarily. If and when I do mention my other work, such information will appear as advertisements (see the image below to get an idea for the flavor of this periodical). Instead, I plan to produce something that will give my creative impulses another outlet. I’ll be writing essays, short fiction, poetry, and reviews of movies, books, and music. Now that I think about it, I might review almost anything, such as the mason jar out of which I’m currently drinking my iced coffee like a hipster. I’ll also be including some of my art, in the form of drawings, paintings, and photography. I hope to include interviews with interesting people, and possibly some nonfiction outtake pieces on the various tidbits and nuggets from the research for my novels that don’t quite make it into my books. The content will vary month-to-month, according to my whim, but will include several pages of content that I hope will prove interesting and entertaining.

DISCLAIMER: it is quite likely that, editorial standards being what they are, the occasional “error” might appear on the pages of my circular, such as interviews with people who do not physically “exist,” or nonfiction pieces that are not technically “true.” When such mistakes happen, rest assured that I will correct them. Additionally, the appearance of an advertisement should not be construed as an endorsement by me of the goods and services being advertised, unless I specifically state my endorsement, as I clearly would for the aforementioned mason jar.

If this publication is something that appeals to you, I invite you to subscribe via my page at, and feel free to share with anyone you know who might be interested.

Those first pages…

When I’m doing a book signing, or sometimes just hanging out at a social gathering, it’s not uncommon for someone to say to me, “You know, I’ve thought about writing a book.” I usually respond to this by telling the person that they should write it, but they often deflect. “I wouldn’t know how to start.”

I know how daunting those first pages can be, and it can feel like a perilous leap of faith to begin writing a story down.

When people express a desire to write, I often suggest they find a writers conference to attend, but I know that many people find that idea intimidating, for a variety of reasons.

That’s why several authors are putting on a different kind of writing conference. We want something small and inviting. Cozy, even. We want to create an environment in which any question can be asked without embarrassment, and people who dream about writing a book can leave knowing how to begin.

The conference is called, appropriately, First Pages. It will be a one-day event with classes taught by a wonderful faculty of talented, award-winning, and best-selling authors who are also great teachers. You can see the full line up and register for the event HERE.

I recently had the honor of speaking at the Utah Educational Library Media Association, along with Laurie Halse Anderson. She spoke of books as empathy-building windows, and perhaps now more than ever, our world needs more windows. There are important stories that need to be told. So if you have a story, or you know someone who has a story, and you want to take the next step, please join us at First Pages.

A Taste for Monsters Launch Event

taste-for-monsters-coverTwo weeks from today, I’ll be at the Provo Library to launch my newest YA novel!

A Taste for Monsters is a Victorian ghost story set in the London Hospital during the Ripper murders. If this sounds like your kind of book, then I hope to see you at the event.

The details:

When: Tuesday, September 27th at 7:00 PM

Where: The Provo Library (ballroom) – 550 North University Avenue in Provo, Utah


Last Descendants Launch Party!

In just a few weeks, the first of my YA Assassin’s Creed novels will be released into the wild. Last Descendants comes out on August 30th, and I’ll be having a launch party to celebrate. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, I’d love to see you. If you live elsewhere, I’ll be posting tour dates as they’re confirmed. I hope to host similar events in additional cities if I can make it work. Now, the details:

AC launch poster






Final Cover! Assassin’s Creed – Last Descendants

The final cover for Last Descendants, my Assassin’s Creed series, is here, and I think it looks really, really cool. I’ve also seen the interior layout and design, and I am so thrilled with how this book is turning out. I hope you’ll all enjoy it. It’s available for pre-order most everywhere now, including iBooks. August 28th can’t come soon enough!


Last Descendants release date!

AC_1_CoverIt looks like Last Descendants is now available for pre-order as both an ebook and a physical book, with a release date of August 30th!

Feel free to consult with your preferred purveyor. Or click the links below.

Indiebound | Amazon 

Island of the Sun cover reveal!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Schu was kind enough to reveal the cover to my next novel on his site, but now I’d like to reveal it here. With much excitement, I present to you Island of the Sun, the sequel to The Arctic Code and the second book in The Dark Gravity Sequence!

IslandoftheSun hc (1)


Here’s the official synopsis:

Eleanor has shut down the mysterious Concentrator in the arctic, but her mission is far from over. The Earth is still spinning out of its orbit, and growing colder by the day. Their only chance is to find the other Concentrators imbedded around the world and deactivate them before it’s too late.

But doing so won’t be easy. The Global Energy Trust has branded Eleanor, her mom, and her friends international terrorists, and are tracking their every move. The G.E.T. will stop at nothing to harness the power of the Concentrators in order to preserve the select few people they deem worthy, and Eleanor is soon forced to ask herself whether it’s worth risking the lives of the entire human race for a slim chance to save them.

The second book in Matthew J. Kirby‘s Dark Gravity Sequence is a breathless race across a planet perilously close to extinction, one that will find Eleanor and her friends questioning their connections to it—and to each other.

The Arctic Code Book Launch!

photo (1)I have in my hands a new book that I wrote. The real thing, and it’s gorgeous. I think this is my 6th book to be published, which kind of blows me away when I stop to think about it, and so far, the thrill of holding a new book that I’ve written hasn’t diminished at all. Every book is its own thing, with its own creative challenges and rewards, so to hold each in its final form brings its own unique thrill. I hope people like this one. As I seem to say with all my books, I’m trying something new, stepping into uncharted story territory. I’m actually working on the sequel at the moment, and I can’t wait for you all to see where the story goes. But I’m getting ahead of myself. THIS book comes out later in the month, and I’ll be having a book launch party at The King’s English, my favorite independent bookstore in the world. Please join me.

What: a book launch party for The Arctic Code, Book 1 in The Dark Gravity Sequence

WhenApril 28th, 2015, at 7 PM

WhereThe King’s English Bookshop, located at 1511 South 1500 East in Salt Lake City

The Quantum League Launch Party

flyer invitation

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