Rain Delay

I don’t know if it has anything to do with our new residence in beautiful Dalkey, but it seems like something’s gone sideways, with our dear author-tracker:

Rain Delayed

Rain Delayed

We’ll see if and when the storm passes, but here’s hoping our intrepid author (oh, me) gets back out on the field without serious injury.

Dalkey is a little town maybe twelve miles south of Dublin, on the shore. It is an unlikely town, huddled, quiet, pretending to be asleep. Its streets are narrow, not quite self-evident as streets and with meetings which seem accidental. Small shops look closed but are open. Dalkey looks like an humble settlement which must, a traveller feels, be next door to some place of the first importance and distinction. And it is — vestibule of a heavenly conspection.

-Flann O’Brien, The Dalkey Archive

Welcome to Dalkey

Welcome to Dalkey


Dr. Belly, I Presume

Listen, I think Chad Finn is the business. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked an article or column he’s written. He’s usually thoughtful, measured, and eloquent.

And he nails it again this week, with this article “Rick Porcello and the best out-of-nowhere extraordinary seasons in Red Sox history.” He takes us on a nice road trip down memory lane, celebrating some of the unexpected delights coming out of Fenway.

Further Fenway Fiction

Further Fenway Fiction

It’s almost like the very reverse of my story, “The Curious Case of Doctor Belly and Mister Itcher”, which was part of the excellent Further Fenway Fiction.

In that story, one loosely based on what happened to Matt Clement, a promising pitcher takes a ball off the noggin and proceeds to meltdown for the remainder of the season. He starts the next season on fire again, and like some phantom echo of the hit off the head, he collapses in the home stretch again. It’s been really, really fun watching Porcello turn from Mr. Itcher into Dr. Belly.

The collection’s worth getting, if you’re going to get any of the Fenway Fiction anthologies, as I think it’s got the strongest work, by far; a collection of Red Sox fan writers who were still writing in that afterglow of having seen a Red Sox team win a World Series in their lifetime. So go read Chad’s article, then go buy Further Fenway Fiction to read in between innings.

Ice Guardians to Honor the Place of Tough Guys in Hockey

I almost expected to see William Murphy, the protagonist of Trip to the Quiet Room, make an appearance in the trailer.

Go check out the article at http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/ice-guardians-aims-to-honor-the-place-of-tough-guys-in-hockeys-history/. Obviously I think the enforcer character is an interesting one and it looks like this movie is an excellent exploration of that role.





[No other news to report that I can report right now, Trip to the Quiet Room still as yet unpublished, I’m still as yet unagented, water is still wet, ice is still very cold and only a little speckled with blood.]

Trending Micro-Genres

I feel like I should get some credit for including at least three of the ten trending micro-genres, according to Audible.com.

Hockey Romance?

Hockey Romance?

Trip to the Quiet Room is a story about an ex-hockey pro struggling with his retirement, possible post-concussion symptoms, family life after the daily grind of a professional athlete’s routine, and the explosion of a time machine in his bathtub. It’s a story about escaping to the seaside to tend butterflies. It’s a story about a mysterious orphan showing up on the doorstop of Central Massachusetts’ favorite tourist attraction. It’s about a cotton candy factory that employs child labor for better or worse. It’s a story about the FBI playing catch-up with some of the CIA’s rumored more esoteric investigation techniques.

Surely this would make some sort of Audible.com list, if only someone would publish it…

Drop the puck... on entertainment!

Drop the puck… on entertainment!

My Overnight Success Story

My Overnight Success

I can’t get over how similar Rick Riordan and I are.

I may be actually boring Adam and David to death, here...

I may be *actually* boring Adam and David to death, here…

I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple readings… some of them in editor Adam Pacther’s hometown of Arlington pretty well-attended, Waltham, the awesome Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster… others not so well attended. My favorite moment* was when we arrived at the Arlington Center for the Arts and one poor lady, who I don’t think intended to attend the reading, was seated in our room and bravely stuck it out while Adam and I read. Or the time I had a reading booked at my local, my hometown library, the Charlton Library (the library which banned Mark Twain’s “Eve’s Diary”… probably not for the pictures, as claimed, but probably for him being a bit full of himself) and my old boss from Ronnie’s Seafood showed up with one of his sons and… no one else. So we skipped the reading (sorry, Adam), and just chatted about what we’d all been up to.

Reading in Waltham, MA

Reading in Waltham, MA

My reading series as a young a**hole where I just showed up in parks and read from my dreadful roman à clef-in-progress God Coffee, I Miss You was similarly successful, hitting parks in Brooklyn, Seattle, and Los Angeles, with a grand total of none audience, but maybe that was to be expected.

So if some lucky agent wants to pick up Trip to the Quiet Room, this might be a great time to get in, as I’ve got loads of stories about how long the road to overnight success actually is. The book is an excellent beach read, because some of it takes place down in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where William Murphy is in hiding from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ‘Jimmy’ is in hiding from Old Sturbridge Village and the proprietors of the Magic Funtime Butterfly Ranch are in hiding from the Internal Revenue Service

It could be your next Percy Jackson… ?




* By this, of course, I mean my least favorite moment, the moment when my stomach drops through my toes and leaks out onto the floor in a sad little stomach puddle.

The Making of: Indu in #VOOM2016

There’s a worthy Irish startup out there called Indu, and it’s been trying, for the last week or so, to get people to vote for it in a contest, at the end of which they’d get to pitch to Richard Branson. If they get in the top 80.

Well, I told a series of Twitter stories, starting with a real-life, live-tweet of the time Carol, the founder, got locked in a hospital. I followed it up with another live-tweet of the time VOOM’s website wouldn’t let you vote and we assumed that Indu had broken the internet. And then I had the idea that Indu’s marketing was hard at work on a sequel to the popular Liam Neeson vehicle, Taken, in an effort to appeal to more people.

And, like all ideas that suck up all your time, I thought, “Hey, let’s make a real film for Indu…” I’ve been on a real scriptwriting kick for contests like NYC Midnight’s short screenplay contest, I enjoy the work, I have two children I can employ as cheap labor, and my wife loves directing them, so I figured we should give it a shot.

My Name Is Carol

We started with a rough idea of a script, the kids found some Lego characters we could use to represent Carol, Richard, and a whole slew of them for the other people pitching to Richard. We even had a green screen-ish platform if we flipped over the slats on the Lego table the kids have had for 8 years.

Original Script Notes

Original Script Notes

With the rough notes, we used an app called iStopMotion, from Boinx software, to shoot our scenes. iStopMotion lets you use an iPhone as a remote camera, so we used the iPad to capture the shots and moved the iPhone around on a little stand we got from Target where you can adjust the legs and angle at which the phone is pointed.Setting up the table

We tried a couple shots on the Friday night, but in the cold light of Saturday morning they were a little blurry… and someone didn’t consider the messy closet behind the shot, so we figured we’d have to re-shoot a good deal of it. As we weren’t using a Lego base we were essentially building a set of Lego dominoes… when we repositioned an arm or leg or head to make the characters look more alive we were under constant threat of the whole line of people falling over. After a day of soccer, volleyball, and baseball, we got back around 4:30 to start our principal shooting, working off that rough script.

Spot the Easter Egg

Spot the Easter Egg

With stop motion the part the kids had the most fun with was dropping little Easter eggs in the production (like the moving AT-AT walker in the background that became an integral part of the story or the little kid who gets chased off by an assistant during the glamping person’s pitch). We wrapped up shooting around 6 o’clock and stitched the separate movies for the different scenes together in a rough cut in iMovie on a laptop in a matter of minutes. At this stage, we needed to record some audio, and the kids are far cuter than me, so I wrote up a quick script (you can download an autographed copy! You’re so lucky!) and we recorded their separate parts in Garageband on the laptop. Some people had trouble with their lines.

The audio took a bit longer… titles, transitions, but by 2am, kids long in bed, their contributions done a little earlier, we had our finished film.

We hope you enjoy our little film. And please vote for Indu in the VOOM campaign, this is the last day to do so, and she really deserves a spot in the top 80.

Indu in #VOOM2016 from Matthew Hanlon on Vimeo.

Young Man Discovers New Mayan City… Inspired by “The History of the Mayan Ball League”?

So this young man in Quebec has discovered, without leaving his home, mind, a new Mayan city. He did it using the Mayan constellations, laying them down on the map and figuring out that there seemed to be one corresponding city missing.

The Pyramid of the Magician

The Pyramid of the Magician

But I suspect he may have just been studying his “The History of the Mayan Ball League” texts:

“The All Stars versus locals match ended very badly in Quebec, their first stop on the tour. The traveling referees, misunderstanding the intention of the tour, beheaded the local players, whom had lost, 15−1, and the All Star team was driven out of town by the first of what would become many generations of angry Quebecois, justifiably so.”

Excerpt From: Matthew Hanlon. “The History of the Mayan Ball League.” iBooks

The short book mentions many other expansion cities for the Mayan Ball League, and while this teenager’s approach of using the stars and science to discover hitherto unknown Mayan sites, I do hope that the scientific and archaeological community will spend a bit more time reading up on their fake histories and investigate.

“However, the next year the Board of Governors overruled Chichen Itza and added two new franchises to the League; San Juan and San Diego. San Diego was not particularly ready for a franchise, but a wealthy tribal king in the area promised to have a 20,000 seat arena completed by 270 A.D., and for now the team would play its matches at the downtown market, which could be cleared out on Saturdays and removable hoops would be installed on the side walls. The removable hoops were something of a hazard, to both players and bystanders. Even non-bystanders were at risk, as the hoops had a tendency to break off their moorings and roll down the streets for some distance before coming to a stop in a fruit stall or on a collection of people discussing politics or the weather. The tribal king insisted the new stadium would be ready within five years, and how many people would die in hoop-related deaths in that time, anyway? It turns out the answer was 117.”

Excerpt From: Matthew Hanlon. “The History of the Mayan Ball League.” iBooks.

In the Jungle

Who knows what other ballparks are out there to be discovered?

The book is free from the iBookstore and $0.99 from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So start your research today, and you may just catch up to a fifteen year old from Quebec, in terms of Mayan archaeology.

Hockey Comes Back to Worcester

Miss Worcester

Miss Worcester

As the author of the wildly popular* Trip to the Quiet Room, a story about loss, time travel, the life of a hockey player, a little bit of magic, and Worcester, Massachusetts, I’m really happy to see that Worcester is getting a minor league hockey team back. I’m even happier to see that the owner is investing so much in the hockey culture in and around the downtown area in Worcester.

“I’m kind of smitten with Worcester. It’s an unpolished gem,” he said. “It’s affordable, it’s smack in the middle of commerce. It’s got a lot of potential.”

I remember going to see Worcester Ice Cats in their inaugural season in 1994 with some of the gang at the seafood restaurant I worked at. The AHL was such a different beast than the NHL… that bit sloppier, scrappier, and perfectly suited to a town like Worcester. It made such an impression that even nearly twenty years later, when I started to write what would become Trip to the Quiet Room I thought that the stories of those guys, particularly when their professional hockey life was done, would make for a great character. And the line, the theme I had rattling around my head while I was writing was from fellow Worcester-ite (and Vassar-ite) Liz Bishop‘s opening lines of “In the Waiting Room“:

In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist’s appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist’s waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark

So it’s very nice to see hockey on its way back into Worcester to fill those dark winter nights and encouraging to see such a commitment to one of my favorite cities, that rough gem.


A Worcester three decker

A Worcester three decker, William Murphy’s apartment








* Warning: May not actually be popular. Contains sucralose, which has been shown to give rats and dogs a real headache when taken in quantity. Do not spray on crops.