Diamond Dragons by Matthew Carauddo

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Matthew Carauddo (“Diamond Dragons”) 


Tell me a little bit about yourself! 

My overall background is 30+ years as an actor, director, and performer. I was also a licensed fencing instructor ever since 2000/2001. In addition to instructing, and competing as a saber fencer (12+ medals), I also created a website titled SaberCombat.com (now legacy/archived), which revolved around my live fight choreography work, special events and workshops, L.E.D. saber designs, and sound effects work from 2006 to ~2018. However, from 2018 forward, I have primarily been focused on my screenplay and book series/hexalogy known as “Diamond Dragons”. 

More information about my past, present, and future(?) can be found on the website: Diamond-Dragons.com 

What got you into writing? 

I’ve been writing ever since I was extremely young. Poetry, short scenes, tales of heroes and villains, silly skits–all of it. But instead of referencing grade and middle school (where I truly began), I’ll start with college. I studied literature, athletics, martial arts, archery, theatre, acting, and directing. When senior year rolled in, I had designs on directing a medieval morality play known as “Everyman” (which is where the term hails from). The earliest known version was written by a man named John Skot, circa ~1260. Since the work was so old, there were no rights/legalities for the University to pay for, so I pitched it to my instructors based on that obviously enticing premise. They reluctantly accepted (expecting the performances to fail). I’d decided to adapt it into a modern, one act version of the work. It was an enormous task to undertake, but I auditioned the actors, cast them, directed the project, mastered the sound and music for the show, and we performed the project in a black box theatre over several weekends at the college. I believe at least one performance sold out all available tickets (with some exceptions allowed as ‘SRO’), and overall, all of the student one-acts performed were successful. 

What genres do you write in? 

Strange as a reply that this may be, I consider myself a storyteller. 🙂 From my perspective, in many ways, all ‘genres’ are merely proverbial coats of paint. Roddenberry always noted that “Star Trek” was a so-called Western set in space. Even DeForest Kelley (‘Dr. Leonard McCoy’) was a previous bad boy of western/cowboy shows and films. As an additional example, “Star Wars” was mostly a soap-opera style epic about a dysfunctional family amidst political warfare. There are many other examples/analogies, but the subjects of jealousy, romance, betrayal, tragedy, triumph, sacrifice, hatred, evil, ethics, compassion, cowardice, and plenty more abound in EVERY genre. So, I prefer to identify myself as a storyteller, because overall… hot funk, cool punk, even if it’s old junk, it’s still rock ‘n roll to me. 😉 

Do you write stand-alones or series? 

“Diamond Dragons” is a hexalogy, and my previous line of live performances (titled “Balance of Power”) were always meant to be at least 3-4 unique shows/stories. So, I would say that I prefer writing multiple tales about characters with wide arcs rather than those where the characters have less opportunity to provide long-lasting impacts upon readers. 

How many books do you have out right now? Tell us about them. 

At the moment I typed this reply, both Diamond Dragons I & II were available in digital and print formats. DD1 is ~147,000 words and ~60 color illustrations. DD2 is ~122,000 words and ~100 illustrations. The solstices are the keys to my work: summer = digital releases; winter = prints. The solstices also factor into the storytelling of the “Diamond Dragons” hexalogy. 

However, technically, books III-VI are also essentially ‘written’, but only via throngs of scene/chapter/dialogue notes. These notes aren’t a mess, though: they’re well-organized. I’m currently ~48,000 words (and ~32 images / illustrations) into the manuscript of DD3. I estimate that this third book will probably be similar to its predecessors: 120,000+ words and ~60-120 illustrations. Books IV-VI will appear over 2024-2026’s solstices. Go figure. 😉

Which book did you have the hardest time trying to write? The best time? 

I absolutely love nearly every aspect of the entire creative process; I write, edit, illustrate, format, and even design the covers, videos, website, etc. If pressed to decide which was a rougher job, I’d wager that writing DD2 was more difficult than the first book in many ways. Most of the reasons for this revolve around the fact that “Diamond Dragons” began as a SCREENPLAY, not a book. I developed that initial screenplay over 2018-2019, and even brought aboard a composer to help craft original music (which I love), several V.O. artists to help lend “voices” to many of the primary characters (available to sample via my Youtube channel). While crafting the screenplay, I also hired several concept artists to draw a few images/illustrations–including the demesnes of both the heroes & villains. More to the point though, DD2 contains two simultaneous sieges/battles, both of which occur at entirely different locations. I knew that these multi-threaded events were going to be difficult to weave together efficiently, and so, this section of book two was probably the most difficult to scribe thus far. 

So far, the notes and scenes which I’ve written for DD3-6 have gone swimmingly. 🙂 

Why do you keep writing? 

It would be massive folly to deprive the world of both the glorious entertainment and shockingly powerful lessons which “Diamond Dragons” has to offer. I’m not being cheeky: there’s a lot going on deep between the folds of the work which no one could be expected to fully comprehend until at least EoY, 2026 (if even then). Beyond that, since my entire background has been as a storyteller for over three decades, there’s no reason to let my laborious studies, skills, and creativity go to waste! Besides… the unique characters in DD are freakin’ awesome! 🙂 I doubt that most any reader could forget almost any of them–not even the minor/supportive cast of characters. Speaking of which… 

Which character of yours is your favorite? 

As a storyteller, I don’t really have a favorite, because I designed them all to be equally powerful via their words and actions. Obviously, I assume that some readers will favor character X over Y (similar to famous stories such as “Lord of the Rings”, “Star Wars”, “The Matrix”, “Harry Potter”, etc.). This is fine, and to be expected. For example, they may hate the villains, and love the heroes. However, each of the characters in the “Diamond Dragons” hexalogy push typical character archetypes further than most may imagine. Unfortunately, some of this meticulous work won’t be recognized until the last chapter of the 6th book strikes readers square on their noses. Those who make it that far will be hard-pressed to forget, though. I can nearly guarantee it. 

What are your favorite tropes? Hated tropes? 

Tropes and clichés are interesting to discuss. Usually noted as “bad” and “wrong”, the sheer irony remains that they are present in every single story, film, book, or poem you’ve ever experienced. “John Nada” (from Carpenter’s “They Live”) begins as a powerless, blank slate, nobody/“every man”. So does Luke… Frodo… Harry (to some extent)… Neo… and plenty more. Wise old ‘trope-ish’ wizards also enter the scene in almost every one of these kinds of Joseph Campbell-esque mythological journeys. “Haemitch” (sp?) from “The Hunger Games” is supposedly the voice of wisdom for Katniss. Obi-Wan was Luke’s. Gandalf was Frodo’s (and Bilbo’s). You probably get the idea. And so, that brings me to my point… 

Tropes–when executed PROPERLY–are some of the most powerful tools of an exemplary storyteller. Sadly, 90% of writers don’t know how to use them. This is similar to how 90% of fight directors and film editors don’t know how to create epic action sequences (such as the legendary Jackie Chan once did). Why? Is it because “they suck”? Are these people imbeciles? No, not exactly. It’s because Diamonds in the rough are precisely what we’d expect them to be: rare. Exemplary work is neither common nor easily replicated.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of writing? 

Although I used to be quite physically active (saber fencing, martial arts flips/twists/kicks, live fight performances), I have to quote Obi-Wan from SW4: “I’m getting too old for this sort of thing”. Now, my incredible daughter takes up my free hours–which I am extremely glad to spend with her! When she was even younger, I gave her a few saber 

fencing lessons, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do such things. 🙂 Additionally, I often introduce her to old video games (NES, SMS, SNES, 80’s PC/Apple II emulation, etc.). She loves it when I ‘do the voices’ for the storytelling aspects of the games–all the character voices, LOL. 🙂 

Also, I try to integrate 80’s and 90’s films, certain Youtubers of yesteryear, famous actors, science videos, etc. into her life. And sometimes–when it’s relevant–I even show her old performances of dear old Daddy flipping, twisting, and “fighting” (not unlike a ‘jedi’) with L.E.D. saber prop swords (all of which I created myself, by hand). There is at least some interesting catharsis in that, too. When my Time on Earth has expired, all of my actions, influences, and body of work shall all remain behind. Whether one person, many, or more have been inspired by all of it over the decades, I suppose I only truly care if my DAUGHTER becomes a better person because of anything I’ve said, typed, created, performed, uploaded, drawn, or accomplished. I also hope she reads this one day, too. For, surely, there is almost no reason to believe that she ever will. 

Caitlyn’s artwork is at the back of every “Diamond Dragons” book. 🙂 

What is your writing process like? 

Discipline. Consistency. Deadlines. Creativity. Reflection. Repeat. 🙂 And music! A whole lot of it. Mostly from my composer, but also from other wonderfully majestic artists as well (some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with, by paying for licenses to utilize their gorgeous work). I write, edit, illustrate, format, and create while I’m listening to the semblance of the ‘score’ to Diamond Dragons. How epic is THAT?! 🙂 

Have you ever traveled as research for your writing? 

I’ve done my fair share of traveling over the decades. Not all of it was directly related to writing, but most of my journeys somehow circled back into aspects of my work. I was a guest on “Anderson Cooper Live” (NY), and also “The Today Show” (NY) in 2014. I traveled to France in 2001 regarding my fencing instructor’s examination / license (by the FFE–which I won’t bother explaining). I competed in many fencing tournaments (12+ medals) all over California, but also in a few other states. I instructed at dozens of workshops and classes all over the SJ/SF bay area, and attended multiple conventions–often, in full costumes with technical electronics which I’d wire into these costumes (such as Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, unique ‘bounty hunters’, Luke Skywalker, etc.). At one particular convention (“BayCon”, SJ, CA) where I was performing one of my live saber fight shows and teaching workshops, I was lucky enough to sit on a panel with author Alan Dean Foster–in 2007. He is/was a great guy, and I’ll never forget our conversation; it was bloody fantastic. 

I’ve traveled to Iowa to perform and teach as “Darth Vader” and “Kylo Ren” at a children’s library. I used to teach saber fight work/fitness classes at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA (yes, I’m 100% serious, and there’s video evidence of this). And finally, I used to drive back and forth between the Los Angeles and SJ/SF areas very, very often. Traveling gets exhausting though, and I don’t know how much more I want to (or CAN) do any of that 

unless it’s virtual, and/or via video conferencing! 🙂 Fortunately, I suppose technology makes that far simpler in today’s digital world. 

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Oh dear. This is a tough one. Not many are going to like my reply. So, I’ll try to prepare people as they read. I’m instructing you to quit now if you’re squeamish. Things are about to get a bit heavy, so, here goes, and don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Also, if you do quit reading early, don’t try to purport that my thoughts weren’t both sound and yet simultaneously humbling. All set? Copy that? Then, let’s get started, shall we? … …

Reflecting over the decades, I can’t think of even one person who offered me truly, viscerally powerful, useful advice. If anything, even the ‘best’ words of proverbial wisdom were tainted by something bizarre, personally jaded, or the so-called advice required some unattainable factor or aspect. For example, most ‘wisdom’ revolved around requirements of MONEY, influence, communities, or connections–although the people offering their advice ignored those crucially important factors. They’d often begin their thoughts with: “Well, why don’t you just ____________”, as if whatever filled in that blank was ever ‘just’ that easy. Make of that what you will. 

Now, I DO understand that other people’s experiences with possible mentors may vary from my own, but I never personally had a truly incredible ‘Gandalf’ (or, should I say ‘Artemis’?). Instead, I had to be my own mentor. 

But instead of leaving you with such a foul-sounding paragraph (how dare I, right? How pretentious!), I’ll offer the wisdom which I found myself often doling out to others over the past few years. But, it gets a little dark, so you’ll need to prepare yourself. And although I’m not going to claim that anyone I told this bothered to listen, I’m not kidding: I told hundreds of people this. Ready? Here it is: 

“You only have so many years on planet Earth to do whatever it is you want to do, hope to do, or feel that you were ‘meant’ to do. I emphatically suggest that you get going. Now

‘Tomorrow’ is an interesting concept, yes? Tomorrow, you’ll do X, and Y, and then Z. Sure. Perhaps. But how often do you ALSO say: ‘Let’s save ________ for another day, shall we?’ For tomorrow. And so, ‘tomorrow’ often morphs into ‘some day’… 

Some day, I’ll throw out all that old junk. 

Some day, I’ll quit drinking/smoking/______/(whatever). 

Some day, I’ll stop calling the people who don’t call back. 

Some day, I’ll stop throwing away my money and efforts into things that don’t help my causes and beliefs. Some day. 

Sure you will. Certainly. Some day. And yes, I’ll write that book ‘some day’… when I have more TIME. Well, guess what? Time is the only resource for which no creature may bargain. That is the tagline to “Diamond Dragons”, book one. You cannot escape it and neither can I. Nor can anyone else. And so, 

again, I emphatically implore you to Reflect upon this somber truth, because although wisdom is earned by listening, it is not found solely in what we wish to hear.” 




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