Twine for Beginners: Timers and Live Text

If you want to make your Twine games more interesting, there are few easier ways to do that than the (live:) macro. This thing can do as little as shuffle your random text from time to time, or as much as introduce completely new mechanics into your game. This tutorial will borrow a few ideas from others in the series, but honestly – if all you want to do is make your games a little more dynamic – it shouldn’t be too hard to follow on its own. Here are a few different methods of using (live:) to do interesting things:

Method Zero: What (live:) Actually Does

This macro behaves a little differently to (if:), (else:), (either:), etc. so I think it’s worth taking a moment just to introduce it. If you open up Twine 2 and type in (live:)[Here’s some text I want to appear live.], this is what you’ll see when you run the game:

At a glance, it’ll appear that nothing’s going on. However, what’s actually happening is that the (live:) macro is constantly refreshing that text. You just can’t tell because refreshing the text doesn’t actually do anything. It looks the same every time it shows up, so it doesn’t really matter whether it’s being re-displayed a thousand times a second or it’s displayed once and just stays there. However, the fact that this doesn’t draw attention to itself can actually be pretty useful, as you’ll see in the next step. Continue reading

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Lucy Courternay and Damon L. Wakes at Hampshire Writers’ Society January 2019 — Hampshire Writers’ Society

This month I gave a talk about Ten Little Astronauts at the Hampshire Writers’ Society, and here’s their report! It also covers the highlights of Lucy Courtenay’s talk on writing illustrated children’s books, which was well worthwhile. (I’ve since been in touch with some of the people she recommended myself!)

Special Guest: Damon L. Wakes A change in the programme saw a switch-up of January and February special guests. So we welcomed fellow HWS member Damon L. Wakes as our special guest for January, opening the evening with an introduction to his new release, Ten Little Astronauts – An Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery novella set […]

via Lucy Courternay and Damon L. Wakes at Hampshire Writers’ Society January 2019 — Hampshire Writers’ Society

Ten Little Astronauts Has Arrived

Back when Ten Little Astronauts came out, I invited its supporters to send me photos of their books when they came in the post. I’ve been collecting those up as a Twitter Moment (whatever that is), but now that the novella has been around for a month I figure this would be a good time to share those photos here!

That’s a lot of books (and a couple of CDs)! If you’ve had a chance to read yours already, please, please, please do leave a review. It costs nothing, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to persuading other people to give the book a try.

Ten Little Astronauts has had a very positive response on Goodreads (and that’s been the case since quite a while before launch, thanks to The Pigeonhole), but so far doesn’t have a single rating on Amazon UK. I know [comprehensive list of reasons why Amazon sucks], but a lot of people buy books on there, so having a healthy selection of reviews is a real bonus and having none is a bit of a hurdle. Just an honest rating and a few words is all it takes to help get Ten Little Astronauts off to the best possible start!

Red Herring and Bionic Punchline Now Free on Kindle

Red Herring and Bionic Punchline have now joined OCR is Not the Only Font in the free Kindle store, meaning that after six years Amazon is now all caught up with the rest of the internet!

You can download Red Herring for your Kindle here, and you can download Bionic Punchline for your Kindle here. OCR is Not the Only Font is available in exactly the same way. These links all point to Amazon UK, as that’s where the majority of my followers are based, but the ebooks should be available free indefinitely in all territories from now on. If they aren’t where you are, let me know and I’ll do my best to sort it out.

I may write a post on how to organise this at some point. Amazon pushes their (highly inadvisable) KDP Select programme so hard that I didn’t realise there was any other way of offering books for free until I got a tip-off from someone at a Writers’ Guild networking event. Ultimately, however, the process boils down to “ask Amazon nicely, then wait a long time and hope for the best.”

If you’d like to thank me for the free books, the best way of doing that would be to leave a review. Alternatively, the majority of my flash fiction anthologies are not (quite) free, so you might also consider treating yourself to one of those too. Blunderball, the seventh in the series, just came out yesterday. If you fancy something more substantial, there are also Ten Little Astronauts and Face of Glass, both of which have gone down very well with just about everyone who’s read them.

Blunderball Ebook Now Available!

I figured I’d get my 2018 flash fiction anthology out while it was still 2018. Blunderball is now available on Smashwords for $0.99 and should soon appear at other non-Amazon retailers. I’ll aim to get it on Amazon as well before too long, but until then Smashwords also has a Kindle version available so if that’s your device of choice then I recommend getting it there. It isn’t hard to do. A paperback version is in the works as well.

This is actually the fourth book in which my writing has appeared this month, after Unrealpolitik, The Ruminations of a Multiheaded Monster, and of course Ten Little Astronauts!

If you’ve read any of these (or a significant number of the individual stories that make up Blunderball), please do consider leaving a review at your retailer of choice (or Goodreads). It makes such a difference.

Ten Little Astronauts Out Today!

Ten Little Astronauts has now been published and is available for sale – no pledging, no pre-ordering – anywhere you might reasonably expect to buy books! Readers who supported Unbound’s crowdfunding campaign started getting their copies yesterday.

If you’ve got one yourself, please do share a photo – I’m putting together a Twitter moment featuring as many as I can find:

The book is available in a whole bunch of places I’ll be adding to its page on this site as I discover them, but for now your main options are:

Waterstones

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Alternatively you should be able to quite simply walk into a bookshop and ask for it. I’m not sure how many places will stock it right off the bat like this, but any of them should be able to get a copy if you request it. This is actually one of the things that will help persuade booksellers there’s a market for the book in the first place, so seriously do consider it instead of flinging money at Jeff Bezos.

That said, though the book has been collecting reviews on Goodreads ever since it was serialised by The Pigeonhole, it wasn’t possible to leave a review on Amazon until today. If you’re one of those lucky people who got an early look – either through the Pigeonhole serial or me sending you a review copy – please do rate it on either Amazon UK or Amazon US (or whatever Amazon is local to you). I know Amazon sucks and has a terrible habit of feeding what you write directly into a digital shredder for any number of poorly defined reasons, but reviews there are one of the things that really helps an author out.

Finally, because I just can’t say it enough, thanks to everyone who helped get Ten Little Astronauts to where it is today. Whether you supported the crowdfunding campaign directly or just shared it around, this is the moment it was all leading up to. I’m looking ahead to a launch event after Christmas, and I hope to see lots of you there!

Cragne Manor

Not so long ago, I contributed to Cragne Manor, a massive (80+ authors) interactive fiction project created as a tribute to Anchorhead. The game is now finished, and you can play it in your browser!

This is quite a different sort of game to the things I’ve made with Twine. It’s a parser-based text adventure, meaning that instead of simply clicking links you must control it by typing things like “go north,” “take key,” and “hit shoggoth with inflatable novelty hammer.” I’ve got no idea if that last one is ever an option in the game. I’ve got no idea what’s in the game at all beyond the one room I designed, to be honest. It might be terrible! The opening text suggests that it is (and that that’s part of the fun).

It also offers quite a list of objectionable content that appears in the game, so maybe not one for the squeamish. It is cosmic horror after all!

Ten Little Astronauts One Week Away!

Ten Little Astronauts is now in print, just in time for its trade publication date: December 13th. The copies I’ll be taking to book fairs – including the Hampshire Writers’ Society Members’ Book Fair on the 11th – arrived just today!

This seems like as good a time as any to share the cover with everyone, especially because it’s already showing up on Amazon, where (among other places) you can now pre-order copies. Naturally supporters of the book got a look at the cover as soon as it went to print. Continue reading

Use Your Kindle Without Amazon – It’s Easier Than You’d Think

Recently I announced that OCR is Not the Only Font had become available for free in Amazon’s Kindle store. If you own a Kindle and fancy stocking it with some of my flash fiction, that’s likely the easiest way to do it. However, it’s not the only way, despite what Amazon would have you think.

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This guide focuses on books downloaded from Smashwords, but the information is equally relevant no matter where you’re getting them. Project Gutenberg, Unbound and the Humble Book Bundle are also excellent places to get Kindle books outside of Amazon, but these are not your only options. The important thing is that you seek out ebooks in the mobi format, which is what the Kindle uses. Virtually all other e-readers use the much more common epub format (but more on that at the end). Any mobi file can be transferred to your Kindle using one of the following methods: Continue reading

OCR is Not the Only Font – Free in Kindle Store

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you’ll likely be aware that the first of my flash fiction anthologies, OCR is Not the Only Font, has always been available for free as an ebook (as have Red Herring and Bionic Punchline – nearly 100 free stories altogether). However, anyone using a Kindle e-reader (or the Kindle app) would have had to pay 99p on Amazon or download the Kindle book elsewhere and manually load it onto their device.

That’s now changed for OCR is Not the Only Font, which is free on both Amazon UK and Amazon US (and Amazon Japan and probably others, but I expect any one of these pages will probably point you towards your local site). This means you can download the book directly through your device’s built-in storefront without having to pay a penny – essentially bringing Amazon into line with every other retailer out there. Continue reading