Hi, my name's Matt and a hobby of mine is writing stories. I've written and self-published a few books, and have a handful of short stories lurking around on my hard drive. I am a regular open mic reader at the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series in North Riverside, and I'm currently the coordinator of the Tamale Hut Café Writers Group, which meets the second Saturday of the month at the Tamale Hut Café. Please check our blog at thcwritersgroup.wordpress.com for more information about the writing group.

I've created this web page as a site to give to anyone who might be interested in more information of some of my work. This page is a work-in-progress, and as such may change at any time.

Matt Bieniek

June, 2017 update:

Two big news items this month, along with my writing progress:
  • My third e-book novella, The Lost Ticket, is now available from Amazon for your Kindle. Like all the Sleep Detectives stories, it is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, so even though The Lost Ticket is only $1.49 to purchase, if you are a KU subscriber, you can read it for free! How can you beat that?
  • As mentioned last month, I will again be at a table at the Printers Row Lit Fest, trying to cajole total strangers into reading my work. The Lit Fest this year is June 10 and 11, from 10am to 6pm each day in downtown Chicago. I will again be under the Illinois Woman's Press Association tent, which is located toward the south end of the event, near Polk Street. If you're at the Fest, stop by and say "Hi!"
  • Chapter 2 of the "Barnstormers" story is posted in the Short Stories section below, and I will be posting chapter 3 after I read it at the Tamale Hut on the June 24. But if you can't wait, all you have to do is join my mailing list. I send out a monthly e-mail with my writing news, but I will also be including a new chapter of the story with each e-mail, and that chapter will have all the extra content I won't have time to read at the Reading Series. And did I mention it's free, and I won't share your e-mail address with anyone? Sign up today!
The next THC Reading Series night will be on Saturday, June 24, and I will be there, reading a shortened version of chapter 3 of the Barnstormers story I mentioned above. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and listen to some interesting stories! We start at 7pm.

Thanks for reading!

The Lost Ticket is now available on Amazon!

The Lost Ticket by Matthew Bieniek

Another Sleep Detectives novelette! Danny and Izzy are on the trail of a winning lottery ticket that was stolen from an elderly couple in the neighborhood, a quest that takes them from the seedy side of Riverdale to the heart of Chicago's Division Street.

Available at Amazon.com for your Kindle.

The Sleep Detectives Go to Washington - Family Classics style

We had a great time at the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event on Saturday, August 27, 2016 for my book release party. Since the radio show was so well-received the last time I was featured, I felt I had to something equally memorable. This time, I made an audio play out of chapter three of The Sleep Detectives Go to Washington, and wrote it as an homage to Family Classics, which was a staple in my house while I was growing up. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and judging by the growd response when the theme music started to play, more people remember the show that I had expected. I did record it, and here's the audio of the show:



If you'd rather download it and listen later, right click on this link and save to your computer.

Thanks again to my talented co-stars, and to everyone who came out to the Tamale Hut to watch and listen to us again bring one of my stories to life. Thanks also to A Sound Education for help with the equipment to make us sound so good, and for being patient and answering all my questions.

The theme music was Spy Glass by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ .

The THC Reading Series happens most every month. Subscribe at their blog to receive notifications of upcoming events.
Family Classics Cast

The Sleep Detectives Radio Show

Thanks to everyone who came out to see me at the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the Tamale Hut Café, 8300 W. Cermak Road in North Riverside, IL. The radio show version of chapter two of The Sleep Detectives was a rousing success, but don't take my word for it. You can listen to it right here (assuming I've configured this correctly):



If you'd rather download it and listen later, right click on this link and save to your computer.

Thanks again to my talented co-stars, and to everyone who came out to the Tamale Hut to watch and listen to us bring one of my stories to life. Thanks also to A Sound Education for help with the equipment to make us sound so good, and to my buddy Dan for the necessary cables and invaluable advice.

All music and sound effects used during the performance was used under a Creative Commons license. The music was by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.

The THC Reading Series happens most every month. Subscribe at their blog to receive notifications of upcoming events.
Radio Show Cast

My Novels

Casco Cove by Matthew Bieniek

It's been said that everyone in the world has a double somewhere. Many cultures have ancient legends of doppelgangers, or look-alikes, and the "evil twin" is a popular concept in modern fiction. With almost 7 billion people on the planet, the possibility exists that there is someone else out there who looks just like you and sounds just like you. Identical in every way. What would you do if you met that person face-to-face? Dave and Catherine Wojtowicz are on vacation in the sleepy little town of Casco Cove, an area known for its artist community, fish boils and cherry orchards. They have never been there before, so why does everyone they meet seem to recognize Catherine? And who is the woman who runs the antique store?

Available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

The Hidden Message by Matthew Bieniek

It's 1987, and three high school friends get more than they bargained for when a former classmate involves them in a plan to hijack a local television broadcast and put their own show on the air. Soon they have the TV station, the police, the FBI, the FCC, and a band of Soviet spies trying to find out who they are as they work to decipher a message hidden inside the disrupted TV signal.

Available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

There is a short video of me at the Tamale Hut reading excerpts from The Hidden Message here.

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The Sleep Detectives by Matthew Bieniek

What would you do if you could control your dreams, and you could use them to travel back in time and space to watch real events as they happened? Would you go back to watch history unfold? Relive experiences from your past? Try to solve some of the great mysteries of our time?

Set in 1983, The Sleep Detectives is the story of Tony, a grocery store produce clerk who has this uncanny ability. He's been using it just for fun -- to see his favorite bands play, to find items he lost -- but now he and his friends are figuring out how to use his gift to help people, and maybe solve a crime or two along the way.

Available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

A review of the book by Ron Fortier of Airship 27

Another review of the book by Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Publications

The Opening of the Elysium by Matthew Bieniek

It's March 1926, and the usually sleepy town of Odagamig, Wisconsin is a beehive of activity. The yearlong construction of the Elysium Theater is almost finished, just in time to host the Midwest premiere of The Black Pirate, the new feature film starring Douglas Fairbanks. Politicians, reporters and other dignitaries, including Fairbanks himself, have converged on the town for the opening.

But not everyone is happy that Odagamig now has the premiere movie palace in northeastern Wisconsin. Theater owners in Green Bay and Oshkosh are upset that a rival chain from Chicago is moving into their area and overshadowing their own modest facilities. And the workers who are putting the finishing touches on the new facility have reported strange goings-on in the cavernous auditorium. Some even think the building is haunted.

Available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

The Lost Night by Matthew Bieniek

A Sleep Detectives novelette! When Danny accepted a new assignment at another grocery store, located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, he never expected to have to deal with an uninhibited co-worker, a belligerent trainee, and an evening of celebration that he has no recollection of. With the help of his friend Tony, Danny must piece together the events of his lost night, and in the process, determine if one of his crew is a killer.

Available at Amazon.com for your Kindle.

The Lost Girl by Matthew Bieniek

Another Sleep Detectives novelette! Danny is settling in at his new store when a co-worker asks him to find her missing sister. He enlists the help of his friend Dom from the Acme Detective Agency to track down the lost girl, then must deal with neighborhood gang members who don't like him digging into their affairs.

Available at Amazon.com for your Kindle.

The Sleep Detectives Go to Washington by Matthew Bieniek

Tony Michalik has been helping the Acme Detective Agency solve the coldest of cold cases with his uncanny ability to see real events in his dreams. Now the CIA is asking him to come to the nation's capital for evaluation. How much does the government know about his talents? And who are the shadowy figures following him all the way to Washington? Meanwhile, a mysterious company is taking extraordinary measures to attract Tony's attention, and others are seeking his services. Are Tony and his friends in danger?

Available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

My Short Stories

Barnstormers Chapter 2
Here's the next chapter of my new story, about two women and a plane near the dawn of the aviation industry. I read it at the Tamale Hut on May 20, 2017. You can read it at the link above.

The Adventures of the Adventure Comics Comics Emporium

On Patrol
I had an idea for story loosely based on some of the guys I used to hang around with at the comic book store I used to frequent. This is what came out. I read it at the Tamale Hut in 2013, but you can read it at the link above.
Stalking Stan Dixon
In this novella, the guys from the local comic book store go to a major comic book convention. The owner is reluctant to go because he sees the industry catering to investors rather than readers, but the guys are excited to go because a reclusive comic book artist will be making a rare public appearance. I read it at the Tamale Hut between April 19, 2014 and April 16, 2016. You can read all 18 chapters starting at the link above.
The Day Superman Died
Here's a new story with the guys from the Adventure Comics Comics Emporium. The story is not true, but is based on real events. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. I read it at the Tamale Hut on November 19, 2016, but you can read it at the link above.

Not My Finest Hour
I tried to write a story in the style of my buddy Chris, a first-person account of something using lots of colorful and bombastic language, but I discovered that it's much more difficult to do than he makes it look. What came out was my account of something in my past that I'm not particularly proud of, but with the passage of time makes a pretty funny anecdote. I read it at the Tamale Hut on September 17, 2016. You can read it at the link above.
Out Of Area
I'm not sure where the idea for this story came from, but it was a challenge to read to the Tamale Hut because several lines are in Polish. I read it (thanks to pronunciation help from my Mom) at the Tamale Hut on June 25, 2016. You can read it at the link above.
Bad Drivers
Possibly the funniest thing I've written so far, if you don't mind a little low brow humor. I read it at the Tamale Hut on February 21, 2015. You can read it at the link above.
Into The Fog
This is my first attempt at a creepy story for Halloween. I read it at the Tamale Hut on October 25, 2014. You can read it at the link above.
Mirrors
I've had a theory about mirrors for a long, long time. I finally worked it into a story, and when I read it at the Tamale Hut on July 27, 2013, people seemed to like it. You can read all about it at the link above.
Our Wedding Day
In September of 2012, the monthly Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event fell on our anniversary date. I told Stephie I was going to read the latest episode of The Sleep Detectives, but I surprised her by reading to the group the story of our Wedding Day. You can read that story (and see pictures from our big day) at the link above.
The Cheyenne Story
This is the story of the first dog Stephie and I adopted together. I began writing it the weekend after she passed away, but put it away unfinished because it was too painful at the time. I completed it a year later, in 2003, when I used it as my final project for a web design course I took at Elmhurst College. You can read all about her at the link above. Warning: if you're a dog lover, it may make you cry. It usually does for me.

My Links

stephanieandmatt.com - Since 2003, this is the site for stuff about Stephie and myself. The main page is really more of a blog, where I post stuff that catches my fancy. Feel free to browse.
artbystephie.com - Check out Stephie's art at this site. It's more up to date than her page on our home site.
Tamale Hut Café Reading Series - Check here for information about upcoming Reading Series events. I'm usually one of the open mic readers there, and it's always a great way to spend a Saturday evening.
Tamale Hut Café Writers Group - This is the blog of the writers group that I run at the Tamale Hut Café. We meet the second Saturday of every month at 2pm, and have done so since 2012.
NaNoWriMo - November is National Novel Writing Month. This site gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to get started. The first drafts of four of my five books were written in 30 days each. C'mon, you know you want to try to do it!