Friday, 23 July 2021

Gamebook Friday: Mechageddon!

RONIN 47 has been live on Kickstarter for a week now and is already 90% funded, with three still to go!

But of course, £10,000 is merely the basic funding goal - what we really want is to be able to hit the art Stretch Goals.

With that in mind, and due to popular demand, a new retailer pledge level has been created. To find out more, click the image below...

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Christmas in July?!?

If you thought 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas was a one-trick pony, you'd be wrong. I did hear one reviewer ask on YouTube how much longevity the game would have, considering its setting and the nature of the adventure in the core rulebook, but you would be surprised how many stories you can tell using the game rules.

As an example of the sort of alternative adventures you could embark upon, I have released Christmas in July, a brand new unseasonal seasonal supplement, that includes new creatures and four new Player Characters, that can also be used with more conventional games of the 'TWAS RPG.

When the north winds blow,
Bringing with them ice and snow,
If Midsummer’s weather’s numbing,
Then know that Fimbulwinter’s coming.

What's that? A reference to the Fimbulwinter of Norse mythology? Yes, you read that right.

A copy of ’TWAS – The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas is required to use the contents of Christmas in July, and both are available from DriveThruRPG. You can also secure a signed softback copy of the 'TWAS RPG here.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Gamebook Friday: K-Day is coming!

It's official! RONIN 47, the seventh ACE Gamebook, is coming to Kickstarter a week today, on Friday 16 July 2021! Put the date in your diary now!

I hope you will check it out and pledge your support to RONIN 47 when it goes live, and it pays to back early. Back within the first week and you'll get a discount on your pledge price. Back within the first day and the discount doubles!

Rewards on offer to backers include signed hardbacks, custom dice and playing cards, and exclusive art prints, as well as a unique slipcase edition that includes both a paperback and a signed hardback copy of the book. And everyone who pledges to receive a physical reward will also receive a collectible ACE Gamebooks pin badge.

As well as paying for the production of the RONIN 47 gamebooks and backer rewards, the money raised by the Kickstarter will also pay for fifteen full-page illustrations and other filler images by Neil Googe.

We also have a whole host of incredible art Stretch Goals, and every piece of pin-up art unlocked will appear in the collector's hardback edition of RONIN 47. Whether you are a gamebook fan or a comics aficionado, you are going to want to back this Kickstarter! And then get all your friends to back it too, so that you can have even more incredible artwork in your copy of the book.

You can check the project page here, but please bear in mind that it is still a work in progress. That said, if you do notice any glaring errors, please do let me know.

Please spread the word far and wide, and I shall look forward to seeing you again next Friday, 16 July 2021.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Gamebook Friday: RONIN 47 is coming to Kickstarter!

I have been sitting on this one for a while, dropping random hints here and there, but I am finally ready to announce that my next ACE Gamebook is going to be RONIN 47, a Mech-vs-Kaiju post-apocalyptic epic, and the Kickstarter to fund its production will be launching later this month.

One hundred years from now, following an attempt to genetically re-engineer coral to make it more resistant to climate change (using something called the K Compound), Earth has been overrun by what are effectively, if accidentally, man-made Kaiju. Society has collapsed and groups of people exist in isolated bubbles around the world.

The apocalypse has been and gone, and amidst the ruins of the old world, what is left of the human race fights for survival against gigantic, hyper-evolved Kaiju. Mankind's most effective weapons against the monsters are the colossal Mechs developed by the Guardian Programme.

One of these pockets of humanity is Ako Base, a heavily-fortified and well-defended island community in the Philippine Sea. Squads of mechs operate out of the facility, tasked with keeping the tide of ever-evolving Kaiju at bay.

In RONIN 47, YOU take on the role of Commander Oishi, a Samurai-class mech pilot and leader of Phoenix Squad. When Deputy Director Kira turns traitor, killing Director Asano and stealing the new prototype Shogun-class mech, only YOU are left to pursue the villain and bring him to justice, battling all manner of mechs and mutated monsters along the way.

My 23rd gamebook will be illustrated throughout by acclaimed British comic book artist Neil Googe. Neil is an extremely talented artist, who also works in commercial illustration and concept development. He is well known for his work for the UK anthology comic 2000AD (and its sister title The Judge Dredd Megazine), which includes Judge Dredd, Survival Geeks, and Hondo-City Justice. He has also worked for DC Comics, drawing the likes of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Harley Quinn, Injustice, and Wildcats. As one of the co-founders of the British independent comic publisher COM.X, he is also the creator of Bazooka Jules.

There goes Tokyo...

There are all the usual kinds of rewards on offer that you would expect to see from an ACE Gamebooks' Kickstarter, but it really pays to pledge your support to the project early on. Back within the first week and you will receive a discount on the listed pledge levels, but back on Day One - K-Day - and you will double your discount!

Also, anyone who pledges to receive a physical reward, at any point during the Kickstarter's run, will also receive this brand new ACE Gamebooks pin badge!

So keep an eye on my social media feeds - and this blog, of course - and make sure you get in early when RONIN 47 launches on Kickstarter within the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 14 June 2021

International Steampunk Day 2021

Happy International Steampunk Day!

Having been a part of the UK Steampunk scene for several years, from the late Noughties to the mid 2010s, I have not produced as much Steampunk fiction in recent years.

That said, both Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland and NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! have some Steampunk trappings, while The Wicked Wizard of Oz features elements of the genre's slightly younger cousin Dieselpunk.

You can still read my Pax Britannia series, courtesy of Abaddon Books, and the first novel, Unnatural History, is only 99p on Kindle at present.

In other news, I can't believe I missed World Dracula Day on 26th May! Bizarrely, I was utterly absorbed finishing a new supplement for 'TWAS the RPG on that day. But have no fear, I will be ready for it next year! After all, Dracula - Curse of the Vampire will be out by then.

Speaking of which, here's a never-before-seen piece of art from the adventure, by the gamebook's illustrator, Hauke Kock.

Dracula - Curse of the Vampire will be published in October 2021, by Snowbooks.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas Review

I can't quite believe it's almost a month since my last blog post. That's not like me at all, but then I have been rather busy. One of the things I've been busy with is prepping my next ACE Gamebook for Kickstarter, and another is a new supplement for 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas.

Yesterday, a review of the 'TWAS RPG appeared on the G*M*S Magazine YouTube channel. It's not a review of the game itself*, but more of an unboxing. And Paco has lots of great things to say about Tony Hough's artwork and Mark Stoneham's layout.

If you would like to buy a signed copy of the paperback of the 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas core rulebook, which comes complete with an entire campaign entitled Krampusnacht, then follow this link to my eBay page.

* Hopefully that will come later.

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.