Adventure

Book Review | The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able by Natalie Grigson

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It’s tough being a fictional character. Peter, a now adult Boy Wizard, has been abandoned by his writer and left to fend for himself in the land of fiction.

The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able by Natalie Grigson showed up during my Kindle Scout campaign as a previous winner. I enjoy tales of characters left behind so was keen to check this one out. Peter and his pals in this one, the cast of NPCs by Drew Hayes and so on.

First, let’s check out the blurb:

The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able is a fantasy novel – with a twist. You see, Peter is a Boy Wizard. Or rather, Peter is an adult Boy Wizard who lives in the land of Fiction. His Real World author has abruptly concluded his series, and Peter is suddenly free to explore his world, liberated from the almighty Plotline. Of course the transition into free will isn’t exactly an easy one, and there are plenty of Twists and Turns to keep our Protagonist guessing along the way. After all, this is Fiction.

In the vein of authors like Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, this book will delight fans, not just of fantasy, but of literature in general. There are plenty of familiar faces from Fiction appearing throughout, as well as many new ones, like Peter, the charming Randy, and a ficus tree named Bob – who, let’s be honest, doesn’t really have a face.

I know what you’re thinking: yet another story about a boy wizard. Well, don’t despair; yes Peter is a boy wizard but Harry Potter this is not.

This is an incredibly fun tale of what happens to fictional characters once their writers have abandoned them, or once their series have come to an end. It starts just as Peter realizes he is now free of his writer’s whims and can do what he likes… if he can work out how to open the door. Read the rest of this entry »

Free eBooks Bonanza!

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For the next few days I’m running a free book promotion with Amazon, which means you can read a selection of six of my ebooks for nothing!

Why? Well, mainly because I’d like to get more people reading what I’ve written, and what better way to do it than to give out a heap of freebies.

From now until about Tuesday next week you’ll be able to grab these six books from Amazon for nothing.

So what are the books? They’re a selection of five of my short stories as well as Boneyards – book 1 of the FTW series. Follow the links below to Amazon.com, and happy reading!

Read the rest of this entry »

Maze Quest – A Text-Adventure Short Story

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A short story this time (just shy of 5,000 words) from a Reddit Writing Prompt. Written as 2nd person (a perspective I rarely read and up to now haven’t written in)… but it suited the “game” theme as many old point-and-click and text-adventure type games would employ this style. It’s written as if they’re scenes in a game.


The Prompt:

[WP] You are the protagonist of a point-and-click game.


The Story: Maze Quest

Standing South of the Mansion

You are standing in the once manicured grounds to the south of a white stately mansion, but what have now overgrown from neglect. The mansion has stood abandoned since the former owner died many years ago and now, as the sole heir to the Stackson family fortune, the mansion and the acres she stands on are now all yours.

As you survey the lands to the west, the legendary hedge maze that has formed part of the scenery for over four-hundred years fills your view. To the east stand the burial grounds with mausoleums and monuments to the long dead.

Knowing that every window and door were padlocked and boarded over to deter thieves, you brought along with a rucksack which contains: Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

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This one snuck onto my list when I was about to begin reading something entirely different. It popped up in my GoodReads list as an “also read”, and the cover and title intrigued me enough I had to check it out. It looked fun, and I enjoyed the sample so grabbed myself a copy and got stuck into reading it.

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix is a fun tale full of re-imagined versions of your typical fairy-tale happenings such as princesses stuck with evil step-parents (or in this case, step-step-parents), princes turned to frogs, talking dogs, and even an appearance by Snow White and the Seven Dwarves… though not in the way you might expect.

As always, the blurb before we get too much further:

Talking dogs. Mischievous wizards. An evil step-stepfather. Loads and loads of toads. Such is the life of a Frogkisser.

Princess Anya needs to see a wizard about a frog. It’s not her frog, it’s her sister’s. And it’s not a frog, it’s actually a prince. A prince who was once in love with Anya’s sister, but has now been turned into a frog by their evil step-stepfather. And Anya has made a ‘sister promise’ that she will find a way to return Prince Denholm to human form…

So begins an exciting, hilarious, irreverent quest through the Kingdom of Trallonia and out the other side, in a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Progress Updates

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My focus this week has been split between first-round editing of my work in progress, the comedic Viking fantasy “The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior”, and reading the superb superhero coming-of-age story “Dreadnought”. More on Dreadnought further down because first up it’s all about me! lol 🙂

So my first round edits basically involve me printing out the entire Word document as well as converting it to spoken word with a text-to-speech program. Then I sit and listen to the mechanical voice reading my story back to me. Any errors or awkwardness I find I correct on the print out. When I’m done with that, I’ll update the Word doc and convert to Kindle for a read through before I send it off to my beta reader.

I’ve also been tweaking my cover art for my work in progress. I had a brainwave late one night earlier this week that the cover I’d settled on was a little too flat and it might look good if it was stacked-paper. So I got to work editing the artwork which resulted (after a few horrendous attempts) in the new cover design shown here.

I had to adjust a few of the colours because once I shrunk it down to thumbnail size I couldn’t read any of the title text. To make the colours more complimentary, I changed the water and the background to green, and I think overall it works. So it’s the one I’ll be publishing with (unless hit by some major inspiration and redesign the whole thing, unlikely).

Below is a quick progression of how the cover art matured over time. The first (lame) attempt was mainly to get the bones of the idea in place (such as the Viking long boat at sea) and then go from there. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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Sometimes poking around random GoodReads lists pays off big time. That’s certainly the case with this one – The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. I grabbed the sample chapters from Amazon and knew right off it was one I’d lose myself in, and after I bought the full story, I found I was right.

A time-travelling pirate ship? Count me in right there. But there was so much more to love about this novel. Lost love, adventures through time, romance, action, myths brought to life, redemption. Plenty to keep you busy. But first, as always, let’s check out the blurb.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveler. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question . . .

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

Nix and her crew mates can travel anywhere in history (including to fictional worlds), so long as they have a hand-drawn map of where they want to go. The kicker though is once they’ve used a map they can never return because maps are only good for one trip. The “how” is fairly wishy-washy, in that you have to believe in the map and it’ll take you there. No less implausible than other time-travelling devices though, so I don’t fault it on that. Read the rest of this entry »

Work In Progress Update

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update on my comedic fantasy work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior (TTTAOGGLVW for short, lol).

Well, it’s going really well, about 95% complete or thereabouts, and is now officially the longest single work I’ve written to date. Currently weighing in at a little over 47,100 words, I’m aiming to get it above 50,000 by the time I wrap it up.

Why? A couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a nice beefy number for a novel, and make it a good 10,000 words longer than my second longest. A decent sized read and makes for a nice thick book on the bookshelf. 🙂

Secondly, I’d like to try Kindle Scout and they have a hard 50,000 word minimum limit for submitted works. Never heard of Kindle Scout? This is what they do: Read the rest of this entry »

Gustav Gustavson

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gustav_gustavsonLast week I gave you a peek into what I’m currently working on – a comedy / fantasy with the working title of The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior. I was fortunate to have last week off from work so got a lot more words into the draft so it’s now sitting at a little over 18,600 words.

Based on my outline that should put me maybe 30-40% of the way through the draft unless something changes.

I’ve also been working on a cover idea. Sometimes when I get stuck for words, I take a break from writing the story to work on cover ideas. I wanted this one to convey to potential readers it’s a humorous book so have designed a cartoonish look for the cover (along with the comically long title). There’s a bigger version of the cover concept at the bottom of this blog. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | NPCs by Drew Hayes

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npcs

Between the books in this series (Spells, Swords, & Stealth), the Caverns and Creatures series by Robert Bevan, and the Authors and Dragons podcast, I’ve learned everything I know about the D&D universe (and the similar but legally distinct worlds portrayed in these novels). 🙂

I mostly became aware of the works of Drew Hayes after listening to the Authors and Dragons podcast. At the time I was only familiar with works by Robert Bevan and Rob Kroese, but since then I’ve expanded my reading list to include most of the other authors involved in the podcast.

As it happens I’ve read both NPCs and book 2 – Split the Party – shortly after book 2 came out (about 12 months ago). I’m re-reading them now because Mister Hayes has recently released book 3 – Going Rouge – and I wanted to re-familiarize myself with the universe. It also gives me a good opportunity to expand the book review section of my site. Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review | Far Into The Dark by Steve Wetherell

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into_darkRegular visitors may notice I’ve reviewed a lot of books by Steve Wetherell, and the reason I guess should be obvious. I’m a huge fan of the books he puts out!

A few days ago I bought this one, Far Into The Dark, after being reminded of it through a Facebook post.

Mister Wetherell was sharing the new cover art for Far Into The Dark (previously titled “Into The Black”, but renamed to separate it from a bunch of others of the same name), which prompted me to go check it out.

What’s it all about then? First, let’s check out the blurb: Read the rest of this entry »