Author name: Matt Ruff

Twenty-five years

It’s hard to believe, but today is our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Our wedding day was hilariously inauspicious. Lisa and I both had terrible sinus infections that made it hard to sleep the night before, and just to make things more interesting, my mother-in-law, who was more stressed about the event than we were, decided to work out her anxiety by vacuuming the house at 5 AM.

The weather was also against us. We got married in Bradley Beach, NJ, and the ceremony was supposed to take place on the actual beach, but it was raining heavily when we got there and the wind was driving the rain sideways, so the gazebo we’d reserved for the wedding didn’t offer any shelter. We scouted the town for alternate venues, and came up with two possibilities: the Bradley Beach laundromat, and the train station.

We opted for the train station. It was an open platform, but the roof was broad enough to keep the rain off us while we said our vows. Then, while I was kissing the bride, a commuter train arrived, horn blasting.

Even at the time, I recognized that in hindsight, this would make a much better wedding story than if everything had gone off without a hitch—and I also knew that, in the one way that truly mattered, it was the luckiest day of my life.

Tomorrow night (5/4) at Brick and Mortar Books

Tomorrow night at 6:30 PM I’ll be appearing at Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, WA, to chat with author Alexandra Oliva about writing scary stories. If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you in the audience.

In related news, last week’s Reddit AMA was a blast. You can check that out here. Although the AMA is officially over now, I’m still keeping an eye on the thread, so if you’ve got a question that hasn’t already been covered, go ahead and post it and I’ll either answer it there or on the upcoming reader Q&A episode of the Destroyer of Worlds podcast.

And speaking of the podcast… I was in the middle of the Reddit AMA when I discovered that the WordPress podcast plugin I’d been using had stopped working. After some troubleshooting, I figured out that this was caused by an irresolvable conflict between the plugin and the software used by my web host’s servers. I managed to restore the podcast feed by switching to a different plugin, but that led to a new problem where the feed URL is now slightly different, and when I tried to update the URL on various podcast directories, a couple of them—looking at you, Spotify—stubbornly refused to accept the change. All of which is to say I’ve still got a few kinks to work out, but for now you can listen to the podcast here, on Apple Podcasts, on Amazon Music. or on Google Podcasts.

Tomorrow night (4/18) at Powell’s City of Books

Just a reminder that tomorrow night I’ll be at Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR, reading from The Destroyer of Worlds, taking questions, and signing books. The event starts at 7 PM. Hope to see some of you there!

And coming up next: on Wednesday, April 26 I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit. Then, on May 4 at 6:30 PM, I’ll be at Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, WA for “Word Craft with Alexandra Oliva,” a discussion about writing (RSVP here).

Ask me anything on April 26

FYI: On Wednesday, April 26, I’ll be hanging out on the r/books subreddit, doing an Ask Me Anything session. The event will begin at noon Eastern/9AM Pacific and continue throughout the day. This will be my third Reddit AMA—see my previous appearances here and here—and it’s always a fun time.

And as mentioned yesterday, if you have a question you’d like to hear addressed on the Destroyer of Worlds podcast, you can leave it in comments here on the blog or post it using the Ask the Author feature over on my Goodreads profile page.

Powell’s reminder + one more call for reader questions

This is an early reminder that I’ll be returning to Portland, OR, next Tuesday, April 18, for my Powell’s City of Books event that was originally scheduled for February 22. Hopefully there’ll be less snow this time.

Also, I’m still collecting reader questions for the final episode of the Destroyer of Worlds podcast. Feel free to leave them in comments here or over at Goodreads using the Ask the Author feature of my profile page.

Lone Women is on sale today

My friend Victor LaValle (The Ballad of Black Tom) has a new novel out today.

In the opening pages of Lone Women, Adelaide Henry burns down her California home with the bodies of her parents inside it and sets out for Montana. But her plan to start a new life as a homesteader is hampered by the literal baggage she brings with her: a steamer trunk containing a monster that can never be abandoned or set free.

Although this is a horror novel whose supernatural elements are part of the fun, the best part of Lone Women, for me, is the portrait it paints of Adelaide and the community of other women she finds out on the plains. Definitely recommended.

(The New York Times, which calls the book “almost impossible to put down,” has its say here.)

88 x 3

Today is the third anniversary of the publication of 88 Names.

Thanks to COVID, March 2020 was a lousy time to be bringing out a new novel, though I was certainly luckier than other authors in the same situation. Because of the book’s futuristic theme, we’d arranged a lot of online promotion, including a podcast and an interview in virtual reality, so when my real-world book tour got eaten by the plague, I had a back-up plan and all the hardware I need to start Zooming. The Lovecraft Country TV series also helped cushion the blow—I knew my wife and I would be OK financially regardless of what happened with the new novel.

Still, I’ve always felt that 88 Names got short-changed by the bad timing. So if you’re looking for a Friday read—something lighter in tone than The Destroyer of Worlds, but still topical and thoughtful—please consider checking it out. The Big Idea essay I wrote for John Scalzi’s Whatever blog will give you a good sense of what the story is about and whether it’s for you.