Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Sci-Fi Gold Medal Winner!

Just announced, Dark Matters is the 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year in Science Fiction! Thanks to Foreword Reviews for this tremendous honor; read more here:

With this award, Dark Matters is now the:

  • INDIEFAB Gold Medal Book of the Year in Science Fiction
  • Independent Publishers IPPY Gold Medal Winner in Science Fiction
  • Next Generation Indie Gold Medal Winner in Science Fiction

I have to admit, it feels pretty good for a debut novel! Now, back to writing Book 2!


Thou Doth Quote Too Much

Believe it or not, the first draft of Dark Matters (Book 1) didn’t include famous quotes at the start of each chapter. But I’ve always enjoyed the well-placed aphorism, and thought that subtly relevant quotes to begin each chapter would be a great addition to the story. So during the editing phase, I spent a week or so digging through various books and web sites. Soon enough, I had what I thought were a good mix of quotes. Some well-known, others more obscure. But they all meant something in the context of the story. Or at least, they did to me!

That was early 2015. So here we are, a year later, and suddenly I’m saddled with finding another 40+ quotes for each chapter of Book 2. AND, in the back of my mind, I know I’ll need that many more for Book 3. Suddenly, my brilliant idea has begun to bite me in the arse, so to speak…

I write this now, with the smallest of smiles on my face, because I’ve just finished selecting the quotes for Book 2. Don’t get me wrong-a few of them will change before the book is released, though I’m very happy with all of them. But I expect I’ll stumble on a few that are ‘even better’ before Book 2 is published. There was some last-minute swapping in Book 1, and I’m sure it will happen again.

So how do I go about finding the quotes? I’ll be honest, it’s a bit like my writing: some initial structure that eventually devolves into a free-for-all. I’ll start with the chapter content, and pick a few themes that might work for the quote. Maybe the quote should have something to do with power, or with truth. So I’ll start with Google (of course…), hunting for quotes of that type. From there, though, it’s anyone’s guess where it may lead. I might see a quote I like that doesn’t fit, so I’ll look at more quotes from that individual. Or I’ll find a related topic (leadership instead of power) and head down that path. In the end, though, it’s a slow, deliberate process that only ends when I find the perfect quote. The good news is, when I find it, I know it. Somehow, it just feels right. Very much like when I was choosing names for all the characters (though I’ll save that for another article…). And, what took barely a week for Book 1 quotes took almost a MONTH for Book 2. I can only hope it was worth the time.

One last bonus, as I’m feeling a bit giddy from the completion of this month-long search. Below are a couple of my favorite quotes for Book 2, just for loyal subscribers! I suppose you could call them the smallest of spoilers, though I think that’s a bit of a stretch. But DON’T READ FURTHER if you don’t want to see the first-ever Book 2 content released into the wild… :). Enjoy!


Book 2 Quotes Examples



Dark Matters Media Tour

Good news, I’m finally set to launch a two-week Dark Matters Media Tour! This will mostly be on the radio, but there are a few stops along the east coast. I’ll try to keep this up to date as things are added. Check back often!

March 30           TBD       WISR Pittsburgh PA (radio tape delay, sometime during the Afternoon Show)
March 31     9:10am        WTCM Traverse City MI (radio call-in)
March 31   10:05am       WOCA Orlando FL (radio call-in)
April  2       10:00am       Wellington Square Bookshop, Exton PA (Book Signing Appearance)
April 4          8:00am       WOCM Ocean City MD (radio call-in)
April 4        10:30am       WMKT Traverse City MI (radio call-in)
April 5          8:30am       WRHI Charlotte NC (radio call-in)
April 5           9:15am       WGRT Port Huron MI (radio call-in)
April 5          9:30am       WOJB NPR Duluth MN (radio call-in)
April 6-9             TBD       New York City (Appearances TBD)
April 12              TBD       KKWK Kansas City MO (radio tape delay)
April 13        8:35am      WXGM Norfolk VA (radio call-in)

Quote from James Rollins

I’m thrilled to say that a run-in with NY Times bestselling author James Rollins (of the Sigma Series fame) turned into an offer from him to read my book! Even more amazing, barely a week later he sent me back an email:

Hey Michael,

I finished your novel last night.  Great read!  Lots of cool science (which is of course right up my alley).  Here’s a blurb to use as you see fit:

“Michael Dow’s DARK MATTERS has everything I love in a novel:  scientific speculation, stunning action, and characters that leap off the page.  But best of all, here is a novel that combines all of the above into a seamless, thrilling story.  Don’t miss this debut!”

—James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Bone Labyrinth


(Side Note – you should check out Jim’s 30+ books. Especially The Eye of God, with interesting parallels to my own Dark Matters…)

I have to say, in the few years I’ve been at this author-thing, the amount of support & advice I’ve received from “famous” and successful authors, editors, and others in the industry has been incredible. In addition to Jim, another author, AG (Gerry) Riddle (of the Atlantis/Origin Mystery Series) has also provided encouragement and feedback. I have to say, it’s pretty cool. Hope I can return the favor someday…

Dark Matters Release Events!

Update on several book events happening soon, leading up to the release of Dark Matters!

  • Jan 27: I am hosting NY Times bestselling author James Rollins at the City Opera House in Traverse City, for the latest National Writers Series Main Stage event. My book (and his!) will be available for sale. Get tickets to the event here: Purchase NWS Tickets
  • Feb 1: Book available for pre-order on Amazon! eBook and hard cover.
  • Feb 6: Book signing at Horizon books, Traverse City, 2-4pm. Get my book a week before the release date!
  • Feb 11: Book launch party at The Box, Traverse City. Free food and drinks, meet the author, 5-8pm. Register to attend on Facebook: Register for the Event
  • Feb 16: Official book release!

Feel free to contact me if you have questions, [email protected]. Hope to see you!

Big News – Dark Matters Publication Date!

It’s official, the first book in the Dark Matters Trilogy will launch in February 2016! Stay tuned for more details, including a book launch party, book signings, pre-order information, and more! Also, if you haven’t noticed already, the entire web site has been updated with the new cover art and graphics, to include the book trailer video – check it out!

Sign up on our email list to be notified of important dates as they happen.

Thanks and we’ll talk again soon!


Wiped from Existence

As I search for an agent to represent the book, I am also continuing to edit the completed Dark Matters manuscript. (And begin the work on Book Two in the series, by the way…).

My latest edit cause the elimination of a supporting character – Collin, one of the employees at the physics lab where Professor Hanssen works his “day job” of hunting for high-value asteroids. Collin survived through my writing of the entire book, and even through my first few edits. But the more time I spent with the story, the more I realized he was merely an off-shoot of another character, and not bringing much to the table on his own. So it was with a heavy heart that I wiped him from existence – a hard thing to do across 400+ pages. But there is no doubt it helped to tighten the story.

Alas, my dear Collin, I shall remember you well. But the world, I’m afraid, will not.

Book Done, Search Has Begun

Sorry for the dearth of recent posts… the good news, the manuscript for Dark Matters: The Chosen is complete at 91,000 words and 40 chapters. I’m very happy with the first draft. Or more accurately, the 128th draft – a few revisions were done over the summer. 🙂

Over the past few months, I’ve given portions of the book to people I know that are “in the business” – professional editors, a few publishers, and even one NY Times best-selling author. Based on their feedback (not all of it glowing, believe me), I’ve decided to spend several months pursuing the traditional publisher route. This means finding an agent to represent the book – a daunting task for a first-time fiction author (the first agent I approached says he received 5,000+ requests in 2012 and signed just 5 new clients). But I’m fortunate to have the time and resources to go down this path, and if it doesn’t pan out, I can still choose to self-publish next year. So that’s the plan.

One other bit of good news, I’ve hired someone to help with the search and to do PR for me and the book – she is an amazing resource for on-line research, publisher/agent information, and general marketing and promotion. In fact, she’s already gotten me invited to the sold-out 2014 World Science Fiction/Fantasy Convention in Washington DC. So look for us in DC in November. Thanks Jodi! I have to admit, to see my name listed just a few down from Stephen R. Donaldson and the others is pretty cool!

So stay tuned for more in the coming months. With the book (mostly…) complete, I should have more time to keep everyone in the loop. Or email me to say hello!

A Book Update

With 70,000 words in the rear view mirror, and the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel in sight, I thought I would provide a quick update on progress, and future plans for the book.

There are about 10 chapters left to write; I expect to finish the first draft in early July. Based on feedback from my editor (and others), I am going to spend the summer and early fall shopping the manuscript with agents, in the hope that I can sign with one and subsequently land a publishing deal with a mainstream publishing house. Simultaneously, I will continue to re-write and further edit the book – probably with more paid help. There is also still some research to be done, and folded into the story.

As a first-time writer of fiction, I know the odds are against getting a book deal. Or even an agent, for that matter. I will note for the record, however, that a few former colleagues have told me that I’ve been writing fiction for decades; I do appreciate their perspective on that :). Dr. Seuss received 27 rejections before someone finally agreed to publish And To Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street – and I’m no Dr. Seuss. So maybe I’ll shoot for 25 or so rejections, and call myself a close second.

More to come, stay tuned!


Dark Matter

Heavy into the Dark Matter chapters this week… becoming a pseudo-expert in all things baryonic and non-baryonic, supersymmetry, and extra dimensions, of course. Oof.

“These are just a few of the things I control in my world.”

(Extra credit if you can name the source of this quote… it’s an obscure movie favorite of mine). And no cheating with Google.

Crossing the 70,000 word threshold this week. Inching closer to the first draft finish line.

One Week Left for Kickstarter

For those following, the Kickstarter project that was launched to help fund this book project is down to its final week. You can watch the “book trailer” video and learn more here:

We have raised $20,000 to date, with less than $5,000 to go! A huge thanks to everyone that has contributed. You can support the project for as little as $10, which gets you an e-book when Dark Matters is complete.

The book has reached 40,000 words; I’m hoping to get the first half to my editor by the end of the month.

Oh, and one more thing. Go Hoos!


Sorry for the lack of blog updates over the past few days… the good news is that I’ve been writing! It’s been a fairly prolific week; at this pace, I may hit 40,000 words by the weekend. Close to halfway through the book. With any luck, I’ll be sending the first half of the book back to an editor before the end of the month.

As a first-time writer of fiction, I continue to be fascinated by emerging patterns, and the overall evolution of my writing. For instance, I much prefer writing dialogue to writing back story/background/scene transitions. Don’t ask me why. I’ve also discovered the shower as the absolute best place for brilliant story ideas. Again, don’t ask me why. And I’ve finally become comfortable in forging ahead to new chapters, rather then endlessly editing the chapters I have (somewhat) completed. It’s harder than you can imagine, leaving chapters alone when you know they aren’t quite done. Now I know – they’ll never be done.

One final note – less than two weeks left on the Kickstarter project. If you plan to contribute, do it soon!

Thanks –


One-Percenters on Kickstarter

As my Kickstarter project passes the halfway point, I’ve been thinking more about my request for funding from friends, family, and even strangers. Let’s face it, I’m a one-percenter – which is part of what I think makes this project interesting (and fun for me). But it also raises the question – why do you need money? For me, it’s about validation of the concept, and something concrete I can show to the publishing world.

Here’s another perspective. I was surfing through some other Kickstarter projects, and came across a project launched by Spike Lee. Last August, he raised over $1.4 million for his latest movie project. In his video and in the description of the project, he discusses the question – why should people give money to a wealthy, successful filmmaker?

If interested, check it out here:

If nothing else, that guy’s got some crazy cool stuff to give away for his rewards…

OK, enough. Back to Rudy and his most recent crises. But please keep sharing this project with your friends!


Billionaires at Play

What if the 20 wealthiest Americans pooled their resources and worked together to develop and pass a set of ‘third-rail’ legislation that generally has the support of a silent majority, but is doomed to languish in our current political landscape? Just for fun and to annoy everyone, let’s say:

1. Congressional term limits; eliminating anonymous and unlimited PAC contributions

2. Banning semi-automatic weapons; background checks for gun purchases

3. Social Security Reform (raising rates, income caps, and/or retirement age)

These twenty individuals could use just 10% of their total wealth (a mere $60 billion) and fashion a political campaign for the ages. Here is what $60 billion might buy:

  • A staff of 1,000 in every state to lead the grassroots campaign. They could place personal phone calls to every U.S. household multiple times per month.
  • A staff of 2,500 in Washington DC to coordinate and lead the charge.
  • $1 billion in a PAC fund for each of the issues.
  • One-third of all U.S. advertising for an entire year – TV, internet, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc. Sure, it doesn’t actually work like this but you get the point.
  • About $5 billion in ‘pocket change’ to deal with unexpected problems as they arise, and to hire an army of expert consultants :).

Of course, once this set of low-hanging fruit was accomplished – who knows what they might be able to tackle next? The possibilities are endless…

(Don’t forget to visit our Kickstarter page!)

Random Facts

As the research for this book continues, I thought I would post an occasional interesting fact or two as I stumble across them. Like I said, the book is mostly fiction.

  • Humanity reached 1 billion in population around the year 1800.
  • 130 years later, in 1930, we reached 2 billion.
  • 30 years later, in 1960, we reached 3 billion.
  • 15 years later, in 1975, we reached 4 billion.
  • 12 years later, in 1987, we reached 5 billion.
  • 12 years later, in 1999, we reached 6 billion.
  • 13 years later, in 2012, we reached 7 billion.
  • Predictions to reach 10 billion range anywhere from 2050 to 2065. Or never.

But as usual, to me these statistics hide a more fundamental truth. The issue is not simply world population, it’s population combined with the amount of resources consumed. As an example – the average American consumes 32 times more resources than the average citizen of Kenya. In other words, if we could improve the standard of living for everyone on the planet so they lived like the average American, we would create a world where  we would need to provide food, clothing, and shelter for today’s equivalent of 70 billion people.

How would that work?

Check out more about the book at the Dark Matters Book Kickstarter campaign.

I Drink Your Water

Well, the good news is that we have water again at our house. The bad news – the pipes are still frozen under the road, so our water is coming from a hose attached to the neighbor’s house. I kid you not.

When I called the neighbors to explain the situation, I couldn’t resist starting with, “I drink your milkshake.” Luckily they had seen the movie.

Water restored. Back to writing.


Writer Without Water

Well, the Kickstarter project is launched and the goal was to get back to writing. Until my 140-year old house lost water yesterday. Apparently state-of-the-art for the early 1900’s is no longer so great when it comes to underground pipes. Two days later and still no idea where it’s frozen – just “somewhere outside under 3 feet of snow.” The search continues.

I think I can officially call myself a “struggling writer” now.