'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Dracula Day!

In case you didn't know already, today is World Dracula Day.

People have been asking me for a while, "What's your next ACE Gamebook going to be?" I'm sure I'll get asked the question more than a few times next weekend at the UK Games Expo.

And the answer?

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Short Story Saturday: To Cut A Long Story Short

May is Short Story Month, and this year, for the first time, I have compiled a list of all the short stories I have had published over the years. As the month draws to a close, I thought I would share some of the insights I have gleaned from the process.

First of all, I have not included the colour text I have written for Games Workshop - including Codexes, Army Books, and even Epic 40,000 - or the same that I wrote for Hogshead's Realms of Sorcery. Although these could be considered short stories, they were more pieces of flash fiction, and so for the purposes of this record, I am considering The Hounds of Winter (from Inferno! Issue Zero) to be my first published story, even though the first one I actually wrote for the Black Library was the Ultramarines story Salvation.

In the 22 years since The Hounds of Winter was published, I have written 58 short stories, of which three have yet to see print, and am currently writing my 59th. They can be roughly divided into different periods as well.

For the first 10 years I pretty much only wrote stories for the Black Library. Then I started writing short stories set within my steampunk world of Pax Britannia, which continued for the next 10 years. However, it was also during this period that I began to expand my range of stories and where they were published.

Having worked for Abaddon Books, writing the Pax Britannia series, editior Jonathan Oliver commissioned me to write a ghost story for the horror anthology House of Fear. I was also asked to write tie-in fiction for World War Cthulhu and the video games, Nazi Zombie Army.

From 2010 to 2013, during a period of particular turmoil in my life, I wrote some of my more unusual experimental stories, such as telling stories backwards, and one which was written entirely as an exchange on Twitter. Some worked better than others.

In 2014 I wrote the first of four Judge Dredd short stories. By now I was regularly being invited to write short stories for various anthologies, and continue to receive one or two such invitations a year. In this period I have written stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and set within the same universe as H G Wells' The War of the Worlds. These last two stories are both due to be published this September.

However, more recently, I have started writing stories for a setting I have not visited for some years, and the first of these is due to be published in October. So watch this space...

And two years ago I started self-publishing some of my short fiction as eBooks, most notably my sequel to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, entitled Scrooge and Marley (Deceased): The Haunted Man.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Gamebook Friday: 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas and the UK Games Expo

I'll start with the second one first. This time next week I will be at the UK Games Expo, at the NEC in Birmingham. You will find me and my ACE Gamebooks* at Stand 2-640, here:

One of the books that won't be on sale there this year is 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, because (a) I'm currently compiling the play-testers' comments, and (b) it isn't due for release until the autumn anyway.

That said, while I am at the UK Games Expo, I will have a new Kickstarter campaign running, to fund production of a rules-lite traditional roleplaying game inspired by the 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas gamebook, called 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas.

It's something of a first for me. While I have crowded five ACE Gamebooks to date, I haven't tried crowdfunding a traditional RPG before, and I'm going to be using DriveThruRPG to deliver most of the rewards. What this means is that people will back to receive a Print Book Code and when the book is ready, they can choose whether they want a softback or hardback version, and pay print and postage costs accordingly. And if you back within the first week, there is a £5 discount on the basic Print Book Code reward options.
And talking of 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas, I will be taking part in a Q&A session about the RPG, on the Random Worlds chatroom, on Wednesday 29th January, from 7:30-9:30pm BST/1:30-3:30pm Central time.

Maybe I'll see you there, but in the meantime you can find out more about 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas, and read a sample chapter on Character Creation, here.

* And the few remaining hardbacks in my possession of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 and 2.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Today is International Sherlock Holmes Day

Today is International Sherlock Holmes Day, which is celebrated on 22nd May each year, because that was the date of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday.

Despite being a big influence on many things I have written, most notably the Pax Britannia series, I have only actually had one Sherlock Holmes story published*, and that was last year in the anthology Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes, edited by George Mann and published by Titan Books.

If you would like to find out what happens in Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Bodmin, a story that is narrated by Sir Henry Baskerville, you can order your copy of the anthology here.

* Although I do have plans for another Sherlock Holmes-related project, which I hope to start work on in the next couple of years. 

Monday, 20 May 2019

'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas launches one week today!

'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas is launching on Monday 27th May 2019. Inspired by the ACE Gamebook 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, it is a darkly festive, rules-lite, traditional RPG, that is ready to play straight out of the box.

One Christmas Eve, Santa Claus is abducted by Krampus, the Christmas Devil. The only ones who can help him are a group of toys, brought to life by Santa's magic.

'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas is being illustrated by Tony Hough and the majority of the Kickstarter rewards will be fulfilled by DriveThruRPG. And if you back within the first week, you can get a £5 discount on rewards offering print book codes.

So put the day in your diary, and hopefully I'll see you next week, over on Kickstarter!

Thought for the Day

"Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable."
~ L. Frank Baum