July 2009

Matthew Peterson
Author of the Parallel Worlds Series

Matthew Peterson
Matthew Peterson

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I had a catastrophe at my house recently. I normally start out my newsletters with book-related stuff, but I think Iíll go right into the personal stuff thatís been happening... like how my house caught on fire last week and we lost almost everything....

My Lovely Burning Home

My house caught on fire

Thatís right! Our house caught on fire and we lost almost everything to the smoke, heat, and water damage. Ever seen Backdraft, the movie? Our neighbors said they smelled the smoke for an hour before we got home but didnít know where it was coming from. Evidently, the fire got so hot it consumed all of the oxygen in the two-story house and put itself out! Then it got hotter and hotter (destroying everything) until the firemen opened the back door. After they did that, it started raging again in the kitchen.

We had been gone for three hours, so when I opened the front door, I got a big surprise. It was so surreal to see a wall of smoke from the ceiling to the floor. Days later, I had to keep reminding myself that this really did happen. So far, our insurance company has been fairly helpful, and weíre optimistic that everything will eventually be restored. But weíll be houseless for six months or more. Bummer! At least we're all safe. I'm relieved to say that I was able to recover the files from my computer. Read the full details of the fire at my blog:


Tip for When your House is on Fire: I learned an important lesson for when you foolishly decide to run into a burning inferno: plug your nose. Yep, that's the lesson of the day. I raced into my house a few steps (or rather crawls) and backtracked it out of there because the smoke went up my nose and I couldn't see a thing. For legal reasons, let me rephrase this tip: DON'T go into a burning house in the first place!

Jared got Glasses!

Jared got glasses

I'm not sure if there's much more that could happen to this boy of ours! But he just got glasses last month. Our friends say he looks "distinguished." He's had surgery on both eyes in the past, but we always thought his vision was fine. I guess not. Now I joke that when he puts his glasses on, half of his family disappears. When he used to have two sets of twin brothers, now he only has one set. His whole life has been turned upside down!

Tip for Backing up your Files BEFORE a Fire Happens: Okay, so another quirky fire-related tip. Getting a multi-gigabyte card for your camera sounds like a great idea. You can take thousands of snap shots of your kids, your flea collection, or whatever... Yeah, that all sounds great until your expensive camera melts in a blazing fire! Arrrg! Anyway, it's probably a good idea to get those files off your camera frequently, instead of letting them pile up. I had a picture on my HD camcorder that I was planning on using for this newsletter, but it got vaporized, so this picture will have to do.

Westercon 62: FiestaCon

Matt Peterson and Eric Flint
Matt Peterson and Eric Flint

Diana Gabaldon, Aprilynne Pike and Matthew Peterson
Diana Gabaldon, Aprilynne Pike, Matt Peterson

Janni Lee Simner and Matthew Peterson
Janni Lee Simner and Matthew Peterson

Just look at the happy smile on my face in those pictures! Little did I know that the next day my house would catch on fire. I'm glad the FiestaCon programming director didn't schedule me for anything on the last day (which I missed) or my wife would have had to deal with the fire by herself.

This convention was a big deal for me, since it was my last scheduled event for Paraworld Zero. After visiting eight states and two countries, I'm finally finished promoting my book. Yahoo! Really, I haven't done much this year, but it feels good not to be obligated to travel anywhere else. It was exciting the first month, but as things started to go downhill with my publisher and I'd show up at bookstores/libraries/schools and be told that they tried to order books for the event but couldn't because it was on backorder, the fun started to die out pretty quickly. I met a lot of wonderful people, though.

At the FiestaCon, I met several bestselling authors like Eric Flint (Ring of Fire series), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series), James A. Owen (Here, There be Dragons), and Aprilynne Pike (Wings). After a very enjoyable writers workshop with Janni Lee Simner (Bones of Faerie), I stayed up until four in the morning re-editing the first chapter of my second book, Magical Learning. Oh, boy! I need to just leave that thing alone and start looking for a new publisher/agent. But first I suppose I should find a rental home for my family....

More Senseless Rambling: Conventions can be very enjoyable. Just remember that when you come home from that great environment you might find that you've lost your job or that your house has caught on fire, both of which have happened to me. Maybe I shouldnít go to conventions anymore. I'm cursed!

Last remarks...

In all seriousness, my family is safe and well. We've had an outpouring of love from friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Thank you! Thank you! My family is tough. We've had worse (or at least I have), and we'll get through this just like we got through all the other garbage that happened to us a couple years ago. I told my wife a few months ago that I wanted to write a book about how we've faced and overcome so many trials. I guess this whole fire experience will just be another chapter for my book. Until next time....


Matthew Peterson - 20403 N. Lake Pleasant Road, Ste. 117-125, Peoria, AZ 85382