Matt Di Spirito
Well, I'm just an average joe. I don't have a great career or do anything that contributes to society in a meaningful way. I go to work, pay my bills, and raise my family.
Life is an interesting journey. I've spent time in the military; it wasn't my cup of tea, but it was a worthwhile experience. I went to college for a few years, acquiring the credits for an Associates' degree in General Studies. There weren't too many subjects I didn't take. That's my life story: experience. I'm interested in so many things, it can be hard to focus on one thing for too long.
My myriad hobbies include writing stories, reading books and e-books, surfing the web, watching blu-ray movies, drawing, discussing philosophy or religion or politics, playing xbox games, dungeons and dragons, and probably a few more. If only I could figure out how to make money off of hobbies!
Writing is a hobby I've enjoyed since I became literate. Notebooks went hand-in-hand with computers. I used to write down little stories about my action figures, scenarios about school mates, and anything else to cross my mind. I used to make up games for my friends to play, and roll dice to find out who would win. Creativity, imagination, and technology are intertwined--at least to me.
Smashwords, Amazon's createspace, and kindle publishing opened the door for self-publishing, especially for authors--like myself--with little or no start-up capital. For all the woes of technology, there are some wonders to be had.
Where to find Matt Di Spirito online
Where to buy in print
Five Dark Ends
How will the world end?
For these unfortunate souls, the possibilities are limitless: radiation, mutants, and even darkness claim lives in these macabre tales of dying in a dead world.
Jack Mallory has been working the beat for a while now, but his mundane duties of shaking down prostitutes and contending with teenage thugs are no comparison to the horrors he is about to face.
Through the centuries, two species war with each other over the human race. One needs mankind's blood to survive; the other needs human love.
Zombified (Episode 2: Yankee Heights)
Welcome to Yankee Heights.
Matty is on the way to Colonial University when the first harrowing events in a night of terror unfold. He can't even enjoy the carnal pleasures of a frat party without the undead showing up. Zombies swarm into the upscale city, overrunning the dormitories, university campus, and suburban sprawl. Matty is determined to survive.
Last Next Time
It's Gene's retirement day: he is turning sixty-five and it's time for a new body. Nothing is more important to him than the next time.
Shroud & Sword
"Shroud & Sword" is a legend of Myrmidya, a story from an age lost in the upheaval of cataclysms. In a past age, artifacts of godly power determined the fate of kings, heroes, and nations.
"Scattered Shorts" is a collection of eleven short stories; there is something for everyone! A few kids' tales for the younglings, a tale of teenage angst, a touch of suspense, a sports story or two, and a piece of historical fiction for good measure.
Myrmidya: Warding the Magic
Magic is a living force with a will of its own. Nothing is forgotten; everything returns in time.
Ke'argis is summoned to a birth in the village of Sedryn, and he is ill prepared for the event. Born with magic in his blood, the babe becomes the focal point for ancient and terrible forces beyond the knowledge or ability of Ke'argis.
Events are in motion, driven on by the tide of magic.
Zombified, Episode 1: Wooneyville
Classic zombie horror comes to Wooneyville!
Joey isn't about to let his girlfriend become zombie chow, but she is on the other side of a town and flesh-eating monsters are quickly outnumbering the living.
The plan is simple: find Dana and meet Matty at Joey's parents' house. A couple thousand zombies stand in the way.
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Matt Di Spirito's favorite authors on Smashwords
Smashwords book reviews by Matt Di Spirito
- Zombie Betrayal
on April 08, 2011
"Zombie Betrayal" is a short story with a mix of good and bad. Overall, I enjoyed the read and--for a .99 price tag--I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a decent short story. There are some finer points I'd like to discuss, so read on if you want more information.
Hearing the title "Zombie Betrayal, A Tale of Terror", one would expect at least half the story to feature zombies. This is not the case. Now, this fact doesn't make it a bad story, but it's worth noting. With the exception of the final page or two, this story is about a man's imploding life: his wife cheats, his kid doesn't know him, and he loses a job. Drinking and suicidial impulses follow suit. It's a depressing tale that ends on a depressing note. Once more, this doesn't ruin the story but it should be noted. The description needs to be revised to reflect the nature of the tale; the title is a little misleading without a broader description.
The characters are interesting. "Zombie Betrayal" is a short story, but you easily understand and relate to the main character, his wife and his son in a short time. That is no small feat, and I salute the author for that accomplishment. The setting and side characters are given just enough detail to be meaningful. I was impressed with how much was done in such a short space.
WRITING & STYLE...
For the most part, the author's writing and style does the job. It is neither good nor bad, but I think it's important to point out some issues for those of us who are nit-picky with style. There are minor spelling and grammar issues scattered throughout the work. In particular, the use of commas is abused; there are many places where a sentence should have ended or should have been separated with a semi-colon, colon, or emdash. There are a few spacing errors, particularly after quotation marks. In a few spots, the author changed from past tense to present tense with no indication of a dream or flashback.
Despite these issues, the story is readable and easy to digest. Only folks with an English background, or writers that spent years addressing these nagging problems, will find it distracting. These are all things that can be ironed out in a re-release.
The afterword section contains links to the author's pages for additional work, but the links are not entered as hyperlinks. Typing in "http://www.amazon.com/author/ntt=ref..." isn't going to draw any additional readership. This needs to be revised into a single word or phrase with the hyperlink added to allow a user to click and go.
I look forward to Mr. Decoteau's future work and heartily recommend this bargain tale to anyone looking for that quick-fix story. It will keep you interested until the end.
- The Second Ward
on April 11, 2011
"Second Ward" turned out to be an exciting, engrossing little tale! I wasn't sure about it at first, but I had to keep turning the page to find out what was going on. The ending won't surprise anyone, but the story was told in such a way that it was rewarding to finish! Read on for the good, the bad, and the breakdown.
Let's get the glitches out of the way first. None of these problems make "Second Ward" a bad story, or otherwise make you want to stop reading. Unless you're a writer or an English freak, these may not bother you in the least.
There are punctuation issues scattered through the story. A few pieces of dialogue ending with a ? or ! also have a trailing comma; some sentences are split by commas in awkward places and other sentences need to be broken up with commas (run-ons); and there were a few dangling phrases such as "...not that he would have."
In some parts, the characters were jumbled up with no clear idea of who was doing what; in other parts, the tense changed between past and present for no reason (particularly in the ending). A passage that illustrates this point: "Jason smelled onions and garlic as Joe clenches his teeth trying to straddle his legs..." No clear idea of who is straddling who, and the tense changes abruptly.
This is a tense, gripping story that makes you wonder what the heck is going on. At every point, there are little breadcrumbs of mystery; it is well-paced and makes you turn the page. You won't want to pause and bookmark while reading this one.
Some scenes are poignant and pregnant with sorrow. It's tough in a short story to make the reader identify and empathize with a character, but Mr. DeCoteau does just that--and more. If you're sentimental, you might feel a gush of sadness or a scream of horror creep up.
The point-of-view is tight and well-maintained. I've noticed this same quality about Robert's other work, as well. A lot of new or amateur writers have trouble maintaining perspective--Mr. D does it with ease. This keeps the story focused and engrossing. The reader likely doesn't realize how important this simple feat is to good writing.
The ending should have been predictable, but it really wasn't! Clues and pointers pop up in the story, allowing you to guess at the outcome; yet the author manages to keep you locked up with the main character long enough to distract you from that almost cliche conclusion--and that's a compliment! I don't know how he did it, but I am impressed. Despite the minor hiccups in the writing, "Second Ward" is well worth your time and your buck.
- Test Pilot
on April 11, 2011
Great short story! There isn't much in the way of plot or point, but the main character is the focal point and he's slick. I enjoyed every minute of this quick read.
This story is used to preview a novel, so be prepared for the fact that it is very short; the extra pages are for a free excerpt of another work.
- Waif (A fantasy short story)
on April 12, 2011
Amazing! I can't believe this story is free...
"Waif" is an original, entertaining, and atmospheric tale that can rightly be called a thriller. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and pulls you into a dark mystery. The writing is clean, crisp, and flows smoothly from the first word to the last.
It's a highly enjoyable tale; I will keep an eye out for the author's other work.
- Winter Visitor
on April 14, 2011
The idea behind the story was interesting and had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the execution of the story and writing style hampered the experience and left an unsatisfied feeling.
The author has a great vocabulary and knows how to spell, but there are some grammar and formatting issues. There is a lot of repetition; using the same word or phrase repeatedly in the same paragraph is tiring.
Large paragraphs need to be broken up. Whenever the scene shifts, even when the same character is looking at something or hearing something, a new paragraph should start.
The writing style needs to be reworked. This may be a matter of opinion, but I found the story to read like a textbook. There was a lot of dry, mechanical description of the events. There wasn't any narrative flow or passion; it read like an investigative case journal masquerading as a story.
Mr. Gaffield has a great idea with "Winter Visitor" and I applaud the concept--I'd love to see a re-written version. For a free story, it's worth a read, but I can't recommend this tale to a serious fan of supernatural thrillers unless revisions are made.
- All That Remains: A Short Story
on April 14, 2011
"All That Remains" is an interesting short story set in a zombie apocalypse. The zombies and the destruction are only background noise, however, as the tale is an emotional confrontation unravelling in the mind of the main character. The only zombie to make an appearance is known to this character, which triggers the struggle.
For the most part, the writing is good. There are issues with grammar and pronoun confusion--namely using a pronoun that doesn't have an obvious connection to a subject. Some odd turns of phrase and misplaced commas also create some confusing sentences. I wouldn't consider these quirks to be major as they aren't enough to make you stop reading.
Two oddities caught my eye: the main character wields a rifle in the story, but she has to cock back a hammer. Since the type of rifle is never described, it's not a big deal; but most of the modern rifles I've shot don't have a hammer. The other oddity involved the need to disable the brain stem, but the character pointed them towards the top of the head to do so. Again, maybe my biology is off but the brain stem is near the base of the skull. Neither one of these oddities are deal-breakers, however.
"All That Remains" is a great quickie for anyone that enjoys thriller situations with a touch of emotion thrown in.
on April 14, 2011
What an interesting and strange tale! "Blamers" is set forth as a sort of monologue... a diatribe from the mind of someone dealing with humanity's annoying traits amid a post-apocalyptic land. Zombies or other hazards do not make an appearance, save for being mentioned by the character, but they don't need to--the character's ravings are center stage.
The writing style is top-notch with very few, if any, grammatical or spelling errors. A handful of minor punctuation errors appear in the text, but I passed right over and kept reading--nothing big. A few words and phrases were repeated in close proximity to one another, as well. In a larger work, this type of redundancy can get tiring, but in this short piece it's easy to ignore.
The work is sprinkled with a lot of humor, sarcasm, and sharp observations about human nature. If you don't laugh in at least a few spots, you're not human. Here's one of my favorite zingers from the story: "Leave it to the humans to make the dog's a**-sniffing ritual seem normal and urbane.
- Alien Monster
on May 09, 2011
What a strange, strange tale! "Alien Monster" is written in first-person and it follows the short journey of a troubled human (?) as he walks through what I take to be an alien world somehow disrupted by mankind's activities. In truth, it could have been somewhere on earth where modern society has recently encroached on an alien culture.
The writing was good; there were a few mistakes sprinkled through the story, but nothing to bog down the narrative.
There was no revelation and no real understanding of what happened or why it happened, but the author manages to make it powerful and emotional with minimal exposition. With a touch more information (particularly about the other character), this would be a 5-star tale.