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.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

It's the final 48 hours for the HEOROT RPG on Kickstarter!

HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer has 48 hours left to run on Kickstarter, so if you haven't pledged yet and you would like to you had better hurry!

However, before committing yourself, you might like to review the Quickstart Rules that appear before the first adventure in the book.

To enlarge, click on the image above.

To enlarge, click on the image above.


Monday, 22 March 2021

HEOROT has one week to go on Kickstarter!

HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer has just one week left to run on Kickstarter and is already 150% funded! Not only that, but we have hit the first Stretch Goal.

I would really love to be able to release the Reading the Runes supplement as well, which brings magic and magic-users into the game, so please keep spreading the word and we could reach the second Stretch Goal by next Monday!



Tuesday, 16 March 2021

HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer has 2 weeks to go on Kickstarter!

HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer has just two weeks left to run on Kickstarter, and the good news is we are now less than £500 away from hitting Stretch Goal One - the one that adds colour artwork to the book and gives everyone who backs at the BEASTSLAYER reward level and above a free print code for the HEOROT GM Screens.

What's even better is that Stretch Goal Two adds a completely new supplement to the reward-hoard of everyone who backs at the BEASTSLAYER reward level and above. Reading the Runes will bring magic into the game, including magic-users, and a complete, self-contained adventure called The Riddle.

And remember, as long as you back at the BEASTSLAYER reward level or above, Reading the Runes will be added to your reward-hoard without you having to add anymore money to your pledge!


So please keep spreading the word and tell all your friends why they need to support HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer on Kickstarter today.

And thank you, once again, for all your support.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Gamebook Friday: ACE Gamebooks are now available from DriveThruRPG!

If you are one of those people who is put off from buying books because of a lack of shelf space, you may be interested to hear that PDFs of the ACE Gamebooks adventures are now available to buy via DriveThruRPG here.




What's more, the GM's Day Sale over on DriveThruRPG still has three days left to run, and all ACE Gamebooks and ACE Gamebooks Roleplay products are currently discounted.

In other ACE Gamebooks Roleplay-related news, HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer is currently 130% funded* on Kickstarter, with more than two weeks left to run.



* We would have hit the first Stretch Goal by now, if all those people who have cancelled their pledges hadn't.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

World Book Day 2021

It's World Book Day, so why not buy a signed book direct from the author today? Simply click on the image of the book you would like to buy below.

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland (Paperback)

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland (Hardback)

Beowulf Beastslayer (Paperback)

Beowulf Beastslayer (Hardback)

Sunday, 28 February 2021

HEOROT is halfway through its run on Kickstarter

We are now halfway through HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer's run on Kickstarter and, as of writing, it has so far raised 107% of its initial funding goal.

I have received some useful feedback from people about the Kickstarter project page itself. One person felt that the Kickstarter video didn't really make it clear what HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer is all about, so I have put together a much shorter video that tries to address this issue. Please check it out and let me know what you think.


I'm loathe to replace the existing Kickstarter video, as it goes into a lot more detail, but the new one might be a good way to hook people in from other social media channels.

Don't forget to keep sharing HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer with all and sundry, and let's see if we can't hit a couple of Stretch Goals by a month from now.



Friday, 26 February 2021

Gamebook Friday: HEOROT on the UK Games Expo Twitch Channel

This week I was interviewed by Richard Denning - one of the masterminds behind the UK Games Expo - about HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer on Twitch.

To watch the interview, click on the image below and fast forward to the 45 minute mark.

If you've ever thought I was a big head, here's your proof.


Friday, 19 February 2021

Gamebook Friday: Knights of Doom Redux

Knights of Doom was my second published book and my second published Fighting Fantasy gamebook. It came out 27 years ago in 1994, the summer after I left university, and was illustrated inside and out by m'colleague Tony Hough.

The trouble is, play-testing wasn't as easy or as rigorously as it is now and the adventure was effectively unbeatable because of too many over-powered enemies and it being necessary to fail a dice roll to ultimately succeed.

But now FF superfan Victor Cheng has revised the adventure, to make it fairer, and has made the PDF available to anyone who might like to give it a read.

Considering the book has been out of print for decades, having never been republished, and was flawed to begin with, if you fancy giving the revised adventure a go, simply follow this link to download the PDF for free.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Gamebook Friday: Vikings, Valentine's and a Moral Paradox

Happy Chinese New Year! If you head over to DriveThruRPG now, you can pick up 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas and The Lion, the Snitch, and the Wardrobe at 30% off. The sale runs until the end of this weekend.

If you're a gamebook fan, you might want to check out A Moral Paradox, an interactive fantasy gamebook that will be written and illustrated by young people, supported by expert tutors, one of whom is Keith P Phillips, author of the 49th Fighting Fantasy adventure Siege of Sardath.

It's only a short blog post this week, as I have a lot on, but I would just like to ask you to show HEOROT - Role-Playing in the World of Beowulf Beastslayer some love this Valentine's weekend. If you've not pledged your support yet, please check out the rewards on offer today, and whether you have pledged or not, please share the project with the rest of the world.

Thank you.