Friday 30 March 2018

Gamebook Friday: All Things Oz

Back in February I was contacted by one Marc Baum, asking if I would send him a copy of The Wicked Wizard of Oz so that he could put it on display with the other exhibits at the All Things Oz Museum in Chittenango, New York.

It turns out that Marc is a very distant relative* of L. Frank Baum himself! I duly sent off a copy of the book, with a few bookmarks, and then promptly forgot all about it. Until this Tuesday last, that is, when I was tagged on Twitter in a tweet featuring this picture.

Talking of The Wicked Wizard of Oz, over the Easter weekend you will find me at the Chatham Dockyard Festival of Steam and Transport with copies of the book. I will be one of the guest authors in the Steampunk Village, along with m'colleague Mr Kit Cox.

So if you're looking for something different to do on Easter Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday, why not pop along? You can find out more about the event here.

* 7th cousin twice removed!

Monday 26 March 2018

Thought for the Day

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
~ Joseph Campbell

Friday 23 March 2018

Gamebook Friday: Forthcoming Events

If you missed me at Bath Comic-Con last weekend, you may be interested to learn that I am taking part in a number of other events over the next couple of months.

Festival of Steam and Transport
Sunday 1st - Monday 2nd April 2018

Over the Easter weekend you will find me at the Chatham Dockyard Festival of Steam and Transport. I will be one of the guest authors lurking within the Steampunk Village, along with m'colleague Mr Kit Cox.

So if you're looking for something different to do on Easter Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday, why not pop along? You can find out more about the event here.

The Publishing Innovation Conference
Thursday 26th April 2018

I have been invited to speak at the 14th Annual Publishing Innovation event at the London College of Communication. This is an annual event that gathers together students and industry professionals to explore emerging issues in publishing across all sectors.

This year, the theme of the event is Redefining Storytelling, and I will be taking part in the second panel, entitled “Beyond Print: Redefining Storytelling.”

UK Games Expo 2018
Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd June 2018

The UK Games Expo has become the biggest event in my con calendar of recent years*. Since it moved venues from central Birmingham to the NEC I have attended each year, for just two days to begin with, but now for the whole weekend.

It is a fantastic family event and this year I will be there with copies of my ACE Gamebooks to sell, specifically The Wicked Wizard of Oz**. But I will also have hardback copies of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 and 2 with me, and seeing as Ian Livingstone is also attending the Expo, you'll even be able to get copies purchased at the event signed by the great man himself.

* Not including Fighting Fantasy Fest, which I organise myself and is not an annual event.

** Which was supposed to launch at the UK Games Expo last year.

Monday 19 March 2018

Thought for the Day

"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls."
~ Joseph Campbell

Friday 16 March 2018

Gamebook Friday: Bath Comic-Con

I will be at Bath Comic-Con tomorrow, Saturday 17th March 2018*. The event is being held at the Bath Pavilion, and opens to Early Bird ticket holders at 10:00am, with general entry from 11:00am. Last entries are at 3:00pm and the event will finish at 5:00pm.

I will be bringing along copies of The Wicked Wizard of Oz, and YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 & 2 to sell, and will happily regale anyone who asks about my next ACE Gamebook, NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!

This will be the first time that I have attended an event in Bath, which is strange when you consider that I attended school there for ten years back in the '80s. It will be great to be back in the Georgian city and hopefully I might meet some of my readers from the West Country.

If you are stopping by to have your photograph taken with Hannah Spearritt and the Raptor, do stop by and sell hello. Even better, stop by, say hello, and buy a book!

Maybe I'll see you there. :-)

* Apologies but in a previous post I said I would also be there on the Sunday, but it turns out the event is only running on the Saturday.

Gamebook Friday: Fighting Fantasy Classics

After a number of months in development, Tin Man Games have finally released the much anticipated Fighting Fantasy Classics, which is now available to download from the App Store.

Fighting Fantasy Classics is a brand new library app for iOS that will also be released on Android and PC/Mac very soon. The app will ultimately collect together many of your favourite Fighting Fantasy gamebooks from the 1980s until now!

The app is free to download and the Tin Man has very generously included the app of my pirate-themed adventure Bloodbones for FREE.

Other FF game apps, such as The Warlock of Firetop MountainThe Citadel of ChaosCity of ThievesThe Forest of DoomCaverns of the Snow Witch, and Island of the Lizard King, are available to buy for just $1.99USD for a limited time!

There are plenty more releases to look forward to as well, including Deathtrap DungeonFreeway FighterSword of the SamuraiTrial of ChampionsTemple of Terror, and many more. Tin Man Games will also be re-releasing House of HellStarship TravellerAppointment with F.E.A.R. and Blood of the Zombies in this new/old format!

To find out more, simply follow this link to the Tin Man Games blog.

Talking of pirate-themed gamebooks, I am currently writing a certain Captain James Hook's introductory scenes for my third ACE Gamebook, NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!

Thursday 15 March 2018

Steampunk Thursday: Mad Science in Pax Britannia

Seeing as how this week is British Science Week, it seemed like as good a time as any to plug my Pax Britannia steampunk books.

Early on in writing the series I made the decision not to include anything supernatural or magical in the books. Yes there are vampires and werewolves, but these are a form of genetic mutation.

However, having said there's no magic, there's actually magic aplenty in the books, it just goes under the catch-all term of 'mad science'. The crazy inventions and experiments of various characters have the same affect as magic on the narrative, helping to drive the plot into unexpected places and generally causing Ulysses Quicksilver and his friends no end of grief.

If you've not tried the books out for yourself yet, there are eight in total, plus various short stories, and the first six novels have been collected in two omnibuses.


Talking of mad science, Mary Shelley's original Frankenstein* text is published today, complete with husband Percy’s corrections of her misspellings.

Frankenstein inspired Stan Lee when he was creating the Incredible Hulk, and both of them inspired my own take on the Creature that appears in the Weird War Two adventure Anno Frankenstein.

* And first published 200 years ago this year.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Thought for the Day

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.”

~ Professor Stephen Hawking (1942-2018)

Monday 12 March 2018

Thought for the Day

"There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La."
~ George R R Martin

Friday 9 March 2018

Gamebook Friday: Holding out for a Heroine

In honour of International Women's Day yesterday, today's Gamebook Friday post focuses on my ACE Gamebooks, which all feature strong female protagonists.

In Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, there is, of course, the indefatigable Alice, who you guide through a warped Wonderland.

The Wicked Wizard of Oz tells the story of stormy Dorothy Gale's return to Oz and the incredible transformation that she undergoes while she is there.

And then there is NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!, which I am currently in the process of writing, and which features not one but two heroines, the Lara Croft-esque shipwreck survivor Wendy Darling, and the Sabretooth-riding heroic hunter Tiger Lily.

NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! will be published later this year, while Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland and The Wicked Wizard of Oz are both available now.

Monday 5 March 2018

Thought for the Day

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real... for a moment at least... that long magic moment before we wake."
~ George R R Martin

Sunday 4 March 2018

March Fourth for GM's Day

Sunday 4th March is GM's Day, an annual event to show your GM (or DM, or Storyteller, or Referee) how much you appreciate them. It was founded in 2002, and 4th March also happens to be the anniversary of the death of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax.

If you're a fan of multi-player role-playing games, and you're also a fan of adventure gamebooks, why not try playing my ACE Gamebooks with your gaming group? The Wicked Wizard of Oz would work particularly well; indeed, I have been thinking about turning the book into an RPG. Would you be interested in playing a game like that?

Saturday 3 March 2018

Short Story Saturday: SHARKPUNK on Audible

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 thrillers 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!

And now you can listen to the audio book of SHARKPUNK via Audible.

Friday 2 March 2018

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz at Bath Comic-Con

On Saturday 17th March 2018 I will be attending Bath Comic-Con, at the Bath Pavilion*, and I will be bringing along copies of The Wicked Wizard of Oz, and YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 & 2 to sell.

So if you live in the West Country and you've not yet had a chance to meet me at a convention and buy my books, now's your chance.

Maybe I'll see you there. :-)

* It's probably almost 28 years since I last visited the Pavilion, but on this occasion I won't have my clarinet with me.

Thursday 1 March 2018

World Book Day 2018

As you no doubt are already aware* today is World Book Day. So, in typical form, I would encourage you to purchase one of my books today, especially...

Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghost of Jacob Marley are back, as they become embroiled in an occult murder mystery. The perfect read for a wintry day!

Become Dorothy Gale, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, or Lion and return to the marvellous Land of Oz to take on the Wicked Wizard of Oz himself! A thrilling adventure gamebook in which YOU decide the course of the story.

The second volume in the history of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks series. A worldwide hit, and you can buy your own signed copy direct from the author here!

But more than that, I would ask you to write a review for a book that you've enjoyed (including any of mine you might have read) as the number of reviews a book receives on Amazon (for example) has a direct impact on that book's future sales.

Thank you and have a great day. I, for one, will be starting Dan Abnett's latest Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Warmaster, and hopefully writing a few more sections of NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!

* Especially if you have primary school age children.