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Jem Matzan
Author and actor
Interests: Writing, guitars, SW:TOR
Recent Activity
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The Key West Capers series, written by Laurence Shames, is a highly entertaining set of crime caper stories set in modern-day Key West, Florida. They are a mix of comedy, crime drama, thriller, and romance; there's something for everyone. You don't have to read any other books in the series to enjoy this one. Each book is a standalone story with the same setting and one common character throughout (except for this book): elderly, friendly, sociable, retired crime boss Bert "The Shirt" D'Ambrosia. Surviving characters occasionally do come back in other books; when they do, their context is quickly established through comedic summary. This is the fifth book in this series I've narrated, the previous ones being Key West Luck, Tropical Swap, Tropical Depression, and One Strange Date. Coincidentally, this is also the chronologically fifth book in the series, taking place after Tropical Depression, but that doesn't matter in terms of understanding or enjoying this audiobook. Virgin Heat is as much of a standalone novel as the Key West Capers series has. Virgin Heat is the story of Angelina Amaro, innocent mafia princess who has come to a late, gradual understanding of how her father, mob capo Paul Amaro, earned... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at Jem Matzan
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Unsurpassed is an erotic romance novella about a woman named Aubree who is secretly in lust with two kickboxing instructors at the gym where she works out. They're best friends, but different in key ways: one is more charming and outgoing, the other more dark and brooding. Aubree couldn't possibly choose one over the other, but she could certainly choose both of them together. When they invite her to a holiday charity event hosted by famous MMA champion Drew Alexander, she's excited at the prospect of being escorted by both of them at the high-rolling casino where the event takes place. Even more exciting: they'll be sharing a hotel suite, compliments of Drew. That's where things go sideways. Aubree gets exactly what she'd fantasized about, but at the cost of being manipulated into assisting with a conspiracy to extort money from Drew. The audio is only 3.5 hours long, but the story goes a long way in that timeframe. Other books in this genre might add long, meandering conversations or unnecessary scenes in order to stretch the word count and finished hour count to a potentially higher profit point. The sex scenes are not brief at all, however; they're the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2017 at Jem Matzan
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Bride By Contract is a multi-cultural romance novel in the "billionaire" genre (made popular by Fifty Shades of Grey). It's interesting to see the many sub-genres within Billionaire Romance; most of them are crossovers with other romance and erotica genres, with paranormal/shapeshifter being the most dominant (ha!) that I've seen lately.Bride By Contract is much more down-to-earth and contemporary, which shifts (ha!) the "magic" away from paranormal or supernatural powers, focusing instead on the "magic" of love, which I think should always be the most powerful force in any romance novel. Many romance stories are, in my opinion, actually horror novels with romantic aspects; that is to say, the "magic" that controls the fictional world is something supernatural. (Magic in its many forms is the core component of all Speculative Fiction; in Fantasy, it's an arcane power; in Horror, it's supernatural power; in Science Fiction, it's futuristic science or technology; in Romance, it's love; one could argue that in Erotica, it's lust). The main character is Liana Turner, a highly organized executive assistant to wealthy GQ-like men's magazine publisher Jackson Turner. Jackson earned his own wealth, which is in the millions of dollars, but his father George made a billion-plus... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at Jem Matzan
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The Key West Capers series, written by Laurence Shames, is a highly entertaining set of romantic crime caper stories set in modern-day Key West, Florida. They are a mix of comedy, crime drama, thriller, and romance; there's something for everyone. You don't have to read any other books in the series to enjoy this one. Each book is a standalone story with the same setting and one common character throughout (except for book 5, Virgin Heat): elderly, friendly, sociable, retired crime boss Bert "The Shirt" D'Ambrosia. Surviving characters occasionally do come back in other books; when they do, their context is quickly established through comedic summary. One Strange Date is the 12th book in the Key West Capers series, but only the fourth that I've narrated, after Key West Luck, Tropical Swap, and Tropical Depression. Chronologically, it takes place a year or two after Key West Luck, but you don't have to read it to understand and enjoy One Strange Date. This is a unique book in the series, in that it takes place within one 24-hour period, though through narrative and character dialogue, context and backstories are quickly established for the important characters. It is also deeper than most... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at Jem Matzan
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The Key West Capers series, written by Laurence Shames, is a highly entertaining set of crime caper stories set in modern-day Key West, Florida. They are a mix of comedy, crime drama, thriller, and romance; there's something for everyone. You don't have to read any other books in the series to enjoy this one. Each book is a standalone story with the same setting and one common character throughout (except for book 5, Virgin Heat): elderly, friendly, sociable, retired crime boss Bert "The Shirt" D'Ambrosia. Surviving characters occasionally do come back in other books; when they do, their context is quickly established through comedic summary. This is the third book in this series I've narrated, the first two being Key West Luck and Tropical Swap . Tropical Depression was written six books (and about 10 years) before Tropical Swap, but that doesn't matter in terms of understanding or enjoying this audiobook. Tropical Depression is about Murray Zemelman, also known as The Bra King, a Jewish man in his mid-50s from New Jersey who made a fortune in boutique brassieres in the wake of the calamity of the bra-less 1960s. During a midlife crisis, he divorced his wife of many years,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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The Key West Capers series, written by Laurence Shames, is a highly entertaining set of crime caper stories set in modern-day Key West, Florida. They are a mix of comedy, crime drama, thriller, and romance; there's something for everyone. You don't have to read any other books in the series to enjoy this one. Each book is a standalone story with the same setting and one common character throughout: elderly, friendly, sociable, retired crime boss Bert "The Shirt" D'Ambrosia. Surviving characters occasionally do come back in other books; when they do, their context is quickly established through comedic summary. This is the second book in this series I've narrated, the first being Key West Luck. However, Tropical Swap was actually written before Key West Luck. Again -- this doesn't matter in terms of understanding or enjoying Tropical Swap. Tropical Swap is the story of a vacation "home exchange" that goes in an entirely unexpected direction for both exchangers. A 40ish couple from New York, Meg and Peter Kaplan, exchange their West End Avenue apartment for a nice new house on the outskirts of Old Town Key West. During their first night there, someone throws a coconut through a front window,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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The Key West Capers series, written by Laurence Shames, is a highly entertaining set of crime caper stories set in modern-day Key West, Florida. They are a mix of comedy, crime drama, thriller, and romance; there's something for everyone. You don't have to read any other books in the series to enjoy this one. Each book is a standalone story with the same setting and one common character throughout: elderly, friendly, sociable, retired crime boss Bert "The Shirt" D'Ambrosia. Surviving characters occasionally do come back in other books; when they do, their context is quickly established through comedic summary. Key West Luck is the story of young Phoebe Goodyear, recently released from prison for being a passive accessory to her toxic ex-boyfriend's drug dealing, and ready for a fresh start in Key West. The plan? To sell sno-cones on the beach. She spends the last of her cash reserves on a downpayment for a sno-cone truck. In the process of getting it ready for business, Phoebe meets Nicky Angelo, formerly an associate of a Philadelphia mob enforcer, but now a starving tavern musician in his mid-20s. When Phoebe's sno-cone truck is in danger of being repossessed by a seedy con-man,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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Quatermain: The New Adventures is a New Pulp adventure fiction series that adds to the legendary stories of H. Rider Haggard's iconic character Allan Quatermain. Set in the jungles, mountains, and savannas of Africa in the late 1800s, these tales capture the air of danger, mystery, and myth that Europeans expected and experienced in their colonization of "The Dark Continent." In addition to the 17 original Haggard novels, there have been both direct and indirect movie adaptations, most notably King Solomon's Mines, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the Indiana Jones series. The only character common to both of the stories in the first volume of Quatermain: The New Adventures is Allan Quatermain himself. He's described as being an Englishman in his mid-50s, with gray hair and beard, and short but strong. Most of the time he's calm, slow-paced, and reflective; but once the situation turns dangerous, Quatermain turns into a quick-thinking, precise-acting, calculated hunter. This wasn't an easy voice to develop, but from the beginning the only model I had in mind for it was Alec Guinness. The first story, "Golden Ivory," is a first-person account of a riverboat pilot's journey with Quatermain and his party into the African... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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Sinbad: The New Voyages is an print and audio series of short stories and novellas based on the Arabian legend of Sinbad the Sailor. The exact origins of the stories of Sinbad's voyages is unclear, but Sinbad eventually made it into the 1001 Arabian Nights canon. Most people know Sinbad from the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation effects films of the mid-20th century, the animated shows, and the various other modern retellings. This series of audiobooks is both a tribute to and extension of Harryhausen's style of adventure storytelling. All of the Sinbad: The New Voyages stories honor Airship 27 publisher Ron Fortier's vision of a multi-cultural crew of warriors and mystics accompanying Sinbad on his voyages. Unlike previous and subsequent volumes, Sinbad: The New Voyages Volume 3 consists of one full-length novel instead of a trio of short stories and novellas, enabling the story to play out over a longer period of time. Here’s my writeup on the first volume in the series, which also explains how I developed the voices for all of the main characters that span all volumes, and here's my writeup for Volume 2. The story in Volume 3, subtitled "The Warriors of Forever," fits the... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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Sinbad: The New Voyages is a series of collections of short stories and novellas based on the Arabian legend of Sinbad the Sailor. The exact origins of the stories of Sinbad's voyages is unclear, but Sinbad eventually made it into the 1001 Arabian Nights canon. Most people know Sinbad from the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation effects films of the mid-20th century, the animated shows, and the various other modern retellings. Sinbad: The New Voyages Volume 2 contains one novella and two short stories based on Harryhausen’s vision for Sinbad and his crew of warriors and mystics. Here’s my writeup on the first volume in the series, which also explains how I developed the voices for all of the main characters that span all volumes. For Volume 2, I developed one major new vocal effect: The Lich King. Obviously based on the famous villain from the later Warcraft games, it’s the most complex and nuanced effect I’ve yet created. It uses several tracks with varying pitch changes and echo/reverb configurations. Here’s a sample of the effect that I created while I was testing it, using dialogue from the World of Warcraft “Wrathgate” scene: In the audiobook, I used this effect for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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Sinbad: The New Voyages is a series of collections of short stories and novellas based on the ancient legend of Sinbad the Sailor. The exact origins of the stories of Sinbad's voyages is unclear, but Sinbad eventually made it into the 1001 Arabian Nights canon. Most people know Sinbad from the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation effects films of the mid-20th century, and some of the more modern remakes and reboots. Sinbad: The New Voyages Volume 1 contains three new original stories based on Sinbad and his crew of warriors and mystics. These stories are marvelously suited to a dramatic audiobook reading. I really put the pedal to the floor on this one, and I'm already working on producing the next three volumes. The basic plot of all Sinbad stories (even the original ones) is this: Sinbad is either in need of more money or is given a quest from the Sultan to retrieve something mythologically significant. He gets his core crew together (described below) and takes on oarsmen and sailors to work his ship. Along the way, supernatural creatures attack, and Sinbad and his crew fight spectacular battles to survive and keep on sailing. There is often an arch-rival villain... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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Deathwish World is a near-future science fiction story written in the 1980s by two prolific speculative fiction authors. It centers around four characters whose paths unexpectedly converge in their quest for personal and social justice: Horace Hampton, a 30ish black American man who volunteers as an agent of the Anti-Racist League; Roy Cos, a political activist who tries to recruit the few privileged workers in America to join together in an all-encompassing labor union; Lee Garrett, a stunningly attractive and independently wealthy American woman who endures a lengthy application process in order to join the ranks of the futuristic Illuminati-like group known as The World Club; and Franklin Pinell, a 20ish American man who is deported upon being convicted of his third felony, and seeks to join the ranks of an international megacorporation that provides murder-for-hire services to the rich and powerful. The main character, if there can be said to be one, is Horace Hampton. Without revealing too much of the plot, I'll say that he has an alter ego named Jeremiah Auburn. While Hampton is a black proletariat on welfare, Auburn is white, exceptionally rich, and holds a position of power in The World Club. In order to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at Jem Matzan
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The Not-World is a non-Tolkien fantasy novel with elements of historical fiction and classical mythology. Set in mid 18th-century England, it chronicles the shared adventures of three extrordinary characters: Deirdre, a romance novelist who suffers from chronic pain and disability due to a childhood accident; Dylan, a discharged Royal Navy seaman who has taken a second career as a carriage driver; and Thomas Chatterton, a real-life 18th-century poet who, after his suicide as a teenager, is largely credited with inspiring the Romantic Period. Deirdre hires Dylan to drive her from London to Bristol, where she will stay with her aunt while London suffers from an outbreak of the plague. Along the way, they are supernaturally drawn into the forest beside the road between Bath and Bristol, known from local folklore as "The Not-World," a realm inhabited by dangerous creatures from ancient Celtic and Roman mythology. With the help of the teenage poet Thomas Chatterton, who enjoys visiting the woods, they escape back to the road and get a new ride to Bristol. But the connection between the sea-worn Dylan and adventure-starved Deirdre is too much for either to go without. So when Thomas sends Deirdre a letter begging her to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2015 at Jem Matzan
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I worked on this audio book for more than 4 months, as a dedicated effort and as a part-time effort when other projects were in progress. It's the longest project I've ever done, and it's also the most challenging; I had to do more than 40 different character voices. Though it's credited to Anonymous, I wrote it. No secret or mystery behind it -- just a desire to make the book more powerful for readers. It's in first-person past tense, and the main character has no name, gender, or race, so I didn't want new readers to wonder who the main character was and flip back to the cover to see what the name on the front was, and then associate the two. When I created the audio book cover, I found a clever way to represent this: The Hero is set in a pre-gunpowder, post-feudal civilization with an emotional atmosphere similar to the Kurosawa and Leone films of the 1960s and 70s. The main character -- known only as The Captain -- devastated by the death of his mentor, travels to a remote village to notify his next-of-kin. The journey to the village follows a path of destruction perpetrated... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2015 at Jem Matzan
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Firsts is a young adult romance novel that explores several common thresholds into adulthood: first love, first time having sex, first bad relationship, first time making major life decisions, and forging a new adult persona separate from the defaults of childhood and habits of adolescence. The main characters are Savannah and Wesley, lifelong best friends who are facing the end of high school and uncertainty about their future. Wes is secretly in love with Savannah, but she refuses to think of him as anything other than a platonic friend. Throughout the story, Savannah and Wesley each overcome their crippling insecurity and feelings of inadequacy in order to face a set of challenges that push them to take charge of their lives as adults. Instead of accepting the growing sense of disappointment and failure that drifts in with the tide of everyday life, each character takes unprecedented risks in order to achieve something greater. There are two long sex scenes in the book, which include no kinks and nothing that would be shocking to a mentally healthy heterosexual adult, but plenty of passion and anticipation. Savannah is often sarcastic, and like all American teenagers, she's rough with herself and her friends.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2015 at Jem Matzan
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I read every book I could find on The Red Baron when I was a teenager. I was fascinated by the adventure and tragedy of the Great War aces, particularly Manfred von Richthofen and Werner Voss. So I was really excited when I was selected to narrate this short biography of von Richthofen . It's only a few dollars, about an hour and a half long -- good for a day's commute -- and covers all of the relevant details of the Red Baron's life and military career, including the controversy surrounding his death. If you've always wanted to know more about the Red Baron (or you thought he was fictional!), but don't want to invest the kind of time I did to learn about the greater context of World War I and the other pilots who flew with and against von Richthofen, then this is the book for you. I did a light German accent for Manfred von Richthofen (heavy German accents don't come through very well in compressed audio), and pronounced all of the German and French words with their proper native accents. Here's a link to the audio book: The Red Baron: The Life and Legacy of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at Jem Matzan
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Lost Treasure is a really great story about a guy who returns to a pastoral lakefront village where he spent his summers as a boy. At first, he's only there to execute his grandmother's will, but in the process of doing that, he reconnects with his old best friend and love interest, and discovers that old wounds can still heal, and there is still space in his life for redemption. Technically it is a M/M romance (both of the characters featured in the romance are male), but there are only two descriptive sex scenes, and I wouldn't classify this as erotica. It's an excellent story that anyone of any gender and sexual orientation will enjoy. For the narration, I chose to give general Canadian accents to all of the Canadian characters. Since I grew up near Canada (actually only a hundred miles or so from Lost Treasure's setting), I've had quite a bit of exposure to the dialect typically found around Ontario. The main character is from Chicago, but I felt that a Chicago accent would be a bit distracting, and I didn't think that it fit the character very well, so he got my normal dialogue voice. The narration... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at Jem Matzan
I ghostwrote and project-managed this book on social media marketing. It's an excellent overview of social media strategy for a variety of different kinds of businesses, including authors. As with all technical books, there is some information decay over time, but the concepts and strategies won't change much over time, even if the tactics and other details do. If you feel like you're on the wrong path with social media, I confidently recommend Social eCommerce: Increasing Sales and Extending Brand Reach . Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at Jem Matzan