Saturday, 15 May 2021

The Wicked Wizard of Oz

On this day in 1856, Lyman Frank Baum - who would one day write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - was born in Chittenango, New York.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a hit right from the start, the story of Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion capturing the public’s imagination.

The book also captured my imagination when I read it for the first time in 2015, which is why I turned it into the second ACE Gamebook, but reimagined as The Wicked Wizard of Oz, and illustrated by Kev Crossley.

Hunted by the Wicked Witch of the West's winged monkeys and joined by her friends - the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion - Dorothy Gale sets off for the Emerald City.

Surrounded by enemies on all sides, will you uncover the secrets of The Wicked Wizard of Oz?

YOU decide which route to take, which perils to risk, and which of Oz's strange denizens to fight. But be warned - whether you succeed in your quest or meet a dire end, somewhere over the rainbow, will be down to the choices YOU make.

Are you ready to return to Oz?


Friday, 14 May 2021

Gamebook Friday: Last Chance to Late Pledge

Today is your last chance to place a Late Pledge for DRACULA - Curse of the Vampire, and have your name appear at the end of the book.

I am currently working my way through the feedback the play-testers sent me and will be sending the manuscript to the pro proof-reader next week. And from there it will be on to the publisher to be laid out. DRACULA - Curse of the Vampire will be released this autumn.

I other ACE Gamebook-related news, I am hoping to launch my next Kickstarter next month. Why not sign up to my Newsletter to be among the first to discover when it is and what it is?

I am trying out selling my ACE Gamebooks via eBay. So if you would like a signed copy of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, or 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas, visit my eBay page.





Monday, 10 May 2021

NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!

J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan and Wendy, was born 161 years ago yesterday. And it was that particular book that I decided to give an ACE Gamebooks' makeover for the third title in the ever-growing series*. 

I find it hard to believe that NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! was published two years ago (on 1st June) but it remains one of the ACE Gamebooks of which I am most proud.


If you've never sampled its delights before, don't be put off my the fact that it's inspired by Peter Pan. It's also inspired by Sir Conan Doyle's The Lost World and movies like King Kong and Jurassic Park. Let's put it this way - it certainly isn't twee in any way.

On the 15th April, 1912, during her maiden voyage, the RMS Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg. 1,503 people died, including passengers and crew. But 706 people survived, among them Wendy Darling and her dog Nana...

Separated from the rest of her family, Wendy's lifeboat is washed up on the shore of a mysterious island – a place lost in time – home to creatures long thought extinct, a forgotten tribe, and a boy who can never grow up. But the notorious pirate Captain James Hook and his crew have also found their way to Neverland, and the island is angry...

*     *     *     *     *

In NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters!, YOU decide which route to take, which perils to risk, and which of the island’s strange, prehistoric denizens to fight. Play as shipwreck survivor Wendy Darling, automaton avenger Peter Pan, heroic hunter Tiger Lily, or plundering pirate Captain James Hook. But be warned – whether you succeed in your quest or meet a dire end will be down to the choices YOU make.

Will you manage to escape from Neverland?


You can watch Dennis Chang's in-depth critique of the adventure below, and you can even pick up the PDF version from DriveThruRPG.



* ACE Gamebooks #7 is coming to Kickstarter soon, so watch this space!

Saturday, 8 May 2021

SHARKPUNK - Stories with Bite!

Had he still been alive, today would have been Peter Benchley's 81st birthday. (And just in case you're wondering why this is of significance, check out the quote below.) So it seems like the perfect occasion to remind you that a few years ago I edited an anthology of short stories called Sharkpunk.

Sharks - the ultimate predators, masters of their watery domain, a world that is entirely alien and inhospitable to man. So many aspects of the shark are associated with humankind's most primal fears. The tell-tale dorsal fin slicing through the water, the dead eyed-stare, the gaping jaws full to unforgiving teeth, the remorseless drive to kill and feed...Inspired by such classic pulp movies as Jaws and Deep Blue Sea - as well as such ludicrous delights as Sharknado and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus - the stories contained within are rip-roaring page-turners and slow-build chillers that celebrate all things savage, pulp and selachian. Covering the whole range of speculative fiction genres, from horror and Steampunk, through to SF and WTF, these are stories with bite! Come on in. The water's fine...

You can pick up your copy of Sharkpunk here, and it's also available as an audiobook from Circle of Spears Productions, that you will find on Audible.

"I read very widely, both non-fiction and fiction, so I don't think there's a single writer who influences me." 
~ Peter Benchley, author of Jaws


Friday, 23 April 2021

Something Wicked This Way Comes... Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu

Today is possibly* William Shakespeare's birthday but it is most definitely his deathday.

As is traditional at this time of year, I like to remind people that you can read an alternative take on Shakespeare's life, work, and even death, in Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu, an anthology of stories inspired by the Bard and the literary endeavours of H. P. Lovecraft.


Featuring stories by the likes of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Graham McNeill, James Lovegrove, Jan Siegel, Andrew Lane, Jonathan Oliver, and John Reppion, if you've not already picked up a copy, do so today and treat yourself to what one reviewer called "a fun concept, that delivered on its premise."

And if you have read the book, a review on Amazon is always much appreciated.


* I say 'possibly' because we know when he was baptised, 26th April 1554, but not actually when he was born.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Happy Death Day, Mr Stoker!

Abraham 'Bram' Stoker, the author of Dracula, died at No. 26 St George's Square, London, on this day in 1912, after suffering a number of strokes. He was 64 years old.

Some biographers actually put his cause of death down to overwork, but on Stoker's death certificate it is recorded as 'Locomotor Ataxia 6 months', which may be a reference to syphilis. He was cremated, and his ashes placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium in north London.


It is still not too late to place a late pledge to DRACULA - Curse of the Vampire, the sixth ACE Gamebook, and have your name appear in the Acknowledgements at the back of the book. In fact, there's still time to have your likeness included in one of the illustrations that will appear in the adventure.

If you would like to place a late pledge, follow this link. But do not tarry, for the dead travel fast!


Saturday, 3 April 2021

Short Story Saturday: An Array of Audiobooks

I must apologise for the lack of blog posts recently, other than ones relating to my latest Kickstarter, HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer. I hope to start making more diverse blog posts again, but if you like the crowdfunding ones, there's another Kickstarter coming this summer. (And there's a clue as to what it might be about later in this post.)

Anyway, today I wanted to alert you to the fact that Judge Fear's Big Day Out and Other Stories is now available as an audiobook, from Penguin Audio.

The anthology contains all four of my Judge Dredd short stories in audio format, including One-Way Ticket that originally appeared in two parts in the Judge Dredd Megazine.

But of course, it's not the only audiobooks featuring my short stories available. In case you haven't come across them, here's the up to date list of all those currently available.

Features my short story The Hunting of the Jabberwock.

Features my short story Who Walks With Death.

Edited by Yours Truly.



In other short story-related news, I was delighted to receive this in the post today...





Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters was published by Outland Entertainment in 2018, and I am very grateful to the team for sending me a slipcase edition of the anthology, which includes my Kaiju vs Mech short story The Ghost in the Machine*.



* It is particularly good timing, considering what I am working on at the moment.