Matt Cook’s Blood Magic series

Guest blogger Jason Sanford often rants on his website at www.jasonsanford.com. His fiction has been published in Interzone, Year’s Best SF 14, Analog, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Pindeldyboz, and other places, and has won the 2008 Interzone Readers’ Poll and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship.

Here’s a horror story to strike fear into every writer and reader: An emerging author’s first two novels are published by a small press, where the books sell very well. The author begins writing the third book in the series to wrap up his story. However, thanks to the increasingly insane publishing world, readers won’t see this new novel anytime soon.

I’m talking about the Blood Magic series by new author Matt Cook. The first book (titled Blood Magic) was released in 2007 by Juno, a publisher of paranormal romances. As I wrote in my review at that time, the novel is a must read for any fan of fantasy or horror. The sequel, Nights of Sin, was published last year and is even better than the first, taking Matt’s characters into unforeseen emotional and storytelling ground. The books did extremely well, with both being nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards and becoming two of Juno’s best-selling titles.

The problem is Matt’s novels aren’t truly paranormal romance, instead mixing dark fantasy, horror, romance, and science fiction into an epic storyline. The novels were selected by Juno’s editor because she flat-out loved the manuscripts, which speaks volumes about them. The fact that they sold so well is further proof of their worth.

Unfortunately, Pocket Books recently purchased Juno. While this is great for lovers of paranormal romance—Pocket lacked a paranormal imprint—the downside is Pocket wants Juno to be solely dedicated to that genre. So a genre-bending novel like Matt’s third book is out, no matter its worth or how well it sold.

I’m optimistic Matt will find a new publisher for the third book. The reprint rights are also available. So if any publishers are looking for a hot new writer to bring under their wing, two words: Matt Cook!

I should also admit a purely selfish reason for blogging about this: I WANT TO READ THIS FINAL NOVEL! I refuse to fall in love with these characters and their story and not discover how everything turns out.

To learn more about Matt and his writing, check out his website and this interview we conducted back in 2007. Or better yet, order the first two books and read for yourself these fun, moving, well-written novels.

12 comments on “Matt Cook’s Blood Magic series

  1. Paula Guran says:

    Jason:

    Thanks so much for your support of some great books I am proud to have had a hand in. I, too, hope Matt will find further success as a writer. (And he knows it!)

    But allow me to set a few facts straight. First, Juno never published paranormal romance and does not now. We published a variety of fantasy and now publish a more closely defined type of fantasy. Further, Pocket was publishing romance before they picked up Juno. Pocket Juno very specifically does not publish romance. The label “urban fantasy” may not be accurate, but that seems to be what this sort of fantasy is commonly called.

    So, yes, unfortunately Matt’s books did not fit into the Pocket Juno — neither did some other fine books we did — but that has nothing to do with paranormal romance.

  2. Matt Cook says:

    Hey – thanks, Jason for the kind words! I cross-linked this over on my blog here:

    http://bloodmagicbooks.blogspot.com/2009/11/blood-magic-on-web.html

    Full disclosure: Jason is a member of Writeshop, the Columbus-based writer’s group of which I am a member. I swear, though – I did not put him up to this. Thanks, man! :)

    And thanks, Paula for clearing that up with Juno. “Urban Fantasy” is definitely more inclusive than “Paranormal Romance”, I agree. Of course, in my day (you know, back when we had pterodactyls and not birds and cars had stone wheels… heh) “Urban Fantasy” was more about modernizing elements of classic “fairy tales” (think Emma Bull and Charles de Lint) and less about, say, stuff like the Anita Blake books. I’ll always be grateful for the confidence you had in me and in the series, and working with you has been the highlight of my (albeit fledgling) writer’s career. Best of luck to you over at Pocket/Juno!!

  3. Paula Guran says:

    Yup, I totally agree. But, as I keep pointing out to people (http://juno-books.com/blog/?p=410) genres get stuck with names not of our invention.

    But, really, none of that matters. The Blood Magic books aren’t urban fantasy. Just good fantasy (or possibly even SF).

  4. Paula: I wasn’t trying to insult with the term paranormal romance. Please forgive my gaffe. I was merely trying to bring attention to Matt and his amazing novels.

    And in the interests of complete complete disclosure, while Matt and I are now in the same writing group, when I wrote my review of his first book I didn’t know him. So I hope people don’t assume I’m praising the books b/c I know him.

  5. Matt Cook says:

    ((Slips Jason a fiver…)) =)

  6. Aw come on. I can’t be bought for anything less than a 10-spot. :-)

  7. Daemon says:

    This actually sounds like a textbook example of when print-on-demand becomes a sane thing to do, should the book companies not get their act together.

  8. Matt Cook says:

    Yeah, I’m following Print-On-Demand closely… Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to authors who decide to publish independently or through smaller boutique publishers. So far, much of print-on-demand has shared this stigma (deserved or not).

    Like it or not, unless you’re an author with a catalog of titles under your belt from a big, established publisher, if you do decide to pursue “non-traditional publishing alternatives”, then others in the field (particularly editors at aforementioned publishers) tend to see such efforts as… well, as inconsequential at best to outright harmful to a writer’s career at worse.

    Of course, much of this concern is, in my opinion, justified. After all, if an author published under, say, the Tor imprint, that means that at the very least that they had to convince multiple people, all trained publishing professionals, that the work is good enough to be out on shelves. Agents, acquisitions editors and others had to vet the manuscript for quality and appropriateness for that particular imprint before a check was cut. Obviously this doesn’t assure that the work is good (just look at the heaping mounds of less-than-stellar works on store shelves distributed under major publishers’ imprints). When I worked with Paula, she really scrutinized the manuscript and suggested a bevy of changes, some minor, some not, but all of which helped the final product. Without that kind of editorial involvement, the book would have been worse off.

    But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t consider alternatives to major publishers. Given the comments I’ve received from readers, the majority of which have been overwhelmingly positive, I’d just like to see the story get into as many hands as humanly possible. Telling stories that other people enjoy and think about after they close the book covers has been a lifelong dream of mine, and is why I write. The money I get as a dividend for my work (what little there is – I think I net about $.03/hour tops) is just a bonus. A bonus that keeps gas in my car and electricity flowing to my laptop, true, but…

  9. Fan20100531 says:

    Like “Chronicles of Tornor 3: The Northern Girl”, “Nights of Sin” left me in a glorious state of turmoil dreaming up what could come next. I am glad to hear Mr. Cook at least knows and has begun writing a third book. I think Mr. Cook’s reputation as a fine writer has already set quite well. He could easily publish independently. Heck, I’d pay $100 to read a rental of the third installment in a secured environment and sign an NDA to boot.

  10. Gloria says:

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