On Saturday the 2nd of March, I’ll be appearing as part of a panel of self-published authors led by Debbie Young of the Alliance of Independent Authors. This in turn is part of the 2019 Writing and Publishing Weekend, organised as part of Portsmouth BookFest.
The Publishing Weekend sounds like an absolutely fantastic event, and I’ll be sticking around for the whole thing even though I only have to be there for an hour on Saturday afternoon. There seem to be a lot of great people involved, most notably:
- Prominent local author Wendy Metcalfe.
- Fellow Unbound author Suzie Wilde.
- Guardian Masterclass tutor Scott Pack.
Scott Pack is also the Unbound editor who initially took an interest in Ten Little Astronauts and, more recently, provided the structural edit.
If you’d like to attend the Publishing Weekend, tickets are £30 for either day or £50 for both. This compares very favourably with the Winchester Writers’ Festival (which runs to hundreds of pounds but admittedly is a larger three-day event). You can order online here, though do make sure that you’re booking for the Writing and Publishing Weekend specifically – that page offers tickets for everything going as part of BookFest 2019. More details about the Publishing Weekend can be found on this page in particular, including directions to the venue and the full programme for both days.
I hope to see you there! If you are planning to go, please do let me know in the comments below – you can leave one without having an account or even providing an email address. I’m just that chill.
This year, for the first time, I’ve entered IntroComp: an interactive fiction competition for which participants submit an excerpt of a work-in-progress rather than a finished piece. It’s an unconventional idea, but fortunately I had plenty of works-in-progress to choose from so bunging something in was a no-brainer.
The rules specify that entrants can’t canvass for votes, so I’m going to play it safe and not even tell you which entry is mine! You’ll just have to read through all of them (or as many as you like) and guess* which I submitted. And vote! Voting is open until August 31st.
*It’s possible my name is in there. I don’t know. I can’t remember.
Have fun! And if you write interactive fiction yourself, do keep an eye out for next year’s event. It’s a wonderful idea and I’d love to see it get more entries next time around.
Codename Caerus – my portfolio-building game project – has had a phenomenal level of interest since I announced it a couple of weeks ago, and although I’ve yet to look through all the example pieces people have sent in, I’m now pretty much certain we’ll be able to get a great team together. Every role has at least one person going for it, and in most cases more than that. I’ve been hugely impressed by some of the work people have chosen to share.
However, if you’ve been meaning to put your name forward to work on this game and haven’t yet got around to it, don’t worry. You haven’t missed your chance.
In a way, you’ve actually got more of a chance than you did when I first announced this project because I’m extending the deadline to apply. When I decided to stop taking applications at the end of the month, I neglected to consider that I’d be attending Feral Vector from May 31st to June 2nd. Continue reading
So I made a trip to London for EGX Rezzed last month, and up until now I’ve totally neglected to write anything about it for two reasons:
- I’m still just a little freaked out over how many people recognised me as “that Girth Loinhammer guy.”
- The event gave me an idea for something big and it took a while to come up with a plan for it:
I want to get a team together to make a game.
At this point I feel as though I’ve got a pretty good number of games to my name – I’ve even set up a separate website as a portfolio – but it would really help to have a few more team projects out there for people to enjoy. I expect plenty of other people are in the same position. So far I’ve mostly worked alone, and (with the exception of the two commercially released videogames I’ve had a hand in) when I haven’t it’s generally been for Game Jams. Game Jams are great, of course, but the results are never particularly polished and they don’t really demonstrate the ability to work with a team on an extended project. As a writer, I don’t feel as though there are all that many opportunities already out there. Some, certainly, but far from oodles.
That’s why I’m planning to set something up: not having a title for the game itself yet, I’ll refer to this whole endeavour as Codename Caerus for now. This will be an opportunity for anybody who wants to get more of a foothold in games to work on something polished and substantial as part of a team. Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 16
“Okay, so here’s how we’ll do it: there’s this robot apocalypse and the robots go back in time to kill the leader of the human resistance before he’s born.”
“Wouldn’t work,” said Zara. “If they go back in time and kill him, he never starts leading the resistance in the first place.”
“Yeah. I know. That’s the point.”
“But then how do the robots know to go back in time and pre-kill him? I mean, they’ve got no reason to kill him if he’s already been dead for years.”
“Okay.” Callum took a deep breath. “Same situation, but the good guys send a good robot to go back in time and stop the bad one from killing the guy. Only it turns out that the remains of the bad robot are what let humankind build evil robots in the first place.”
“Still wouldn’t work. If the evil robots have to go back in time for evil robots to be invented, who invents evil robots the first time around?” Continue reading
Back at EGX 2016 I got involved with virtual reality game Craft Keep VR. A certain portion of the game was already available in Early Access before I even heard about it but over the past few months I’ve been writing story and dialogue and gradually seeing the whole thing take form. At this point my work is done and, not only that, the finished game has just been released! You’ll need either an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive virtual reality headset to play it, but even if you don’t have one of those knocking about I highly recommend checking out the trailer.
I got a chance to play a very nearly complete version at EGX Rezzed this year, and the experience was…strange. Amazing, but strange. I don’t have the VR equipment necessary to play this sort of thing at home, so beyond a few YouTube videos I hadn’t really seen the work in progress while I was writing. It’s quite a shock to go from “Ha ha! This’ll make for a fun bit of dialogue,” to “Oh wow! There’s the guy saying it!” with absolutely nothing in between. It would be weird if the jump were simply from page to screen, but when it’s from page to 3D people walking around in the room with you, it’s especially striking. Continue reading
You might recall Craft Keep VR from my writeup of EGX 2016, where I was lucky enough to try out the virtual reality fantasy artisan game first hand. Well, there’s some exciting follow-up news. First of all, Craft Keep is coming to Steam Early Access on the 10th of November: that’s less than a week away!
Second, I’m writing this thing! At EGX I got talking to the developer, Arvydas Žemaitis, who said that he was looking to include an interesting story as the player travels about setting up shop in all these weird and wonderful locations around the world. Naturally I sent off an email about it after the event, and here we are! Continue reading
You may have seen Shona Kinsella’s recent review of Face of Glass, but what you might not know is that she’s actually written a work of Prehistoric Fantasy herself. Ashael Rising has not only been launched, but successfully funded through Unbound! I think you’ll find the story behind the book very interesting, and if Ashael Rising itself piques your interest, you’ll be happy to know that although it’s passed 100% funding, there’s still a chance to chip and and get your name in the back of the book as a supporter (among other great rewards)!
Ashael Rising: How it All Began
I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. As a child I wrote stories in notebooks that I carried with me. In my teens, the film Bucket List was a big thing and Write a Book was number one on mine. As an adult, I never thought I would actually get around to it; I mean who has the time? But I still squirreled away ideas, guarding them jealously against the possibility that I would win the lottery and become a lady of leisure.
About nine years ago I had a dream that, immediately upon waking, struck me as one of those ideas and though much of the dream faded, the final image has stayed with me all these years. Continue reading
I’ve had a ticket for gaming trade fair EGX 2016 for a while now – I actually managed to snag the very last early entry one on offer – but only just got around to booking transport and accommodation. If anybody else is planning to go (or just happens to be in the general vicinity of Birmingham regardless), I’d love to hear from you, but more on that later.
It’s been overshadowed somewhat by the fact that I’ve recently had a book launched by Unbound, but I’m still very much hoping to take up a career in the games industry. Interactive fiction has always been an interest of mine, and I already have one commercially released game to my name, but getting a steady job in the area is proving to be extremely difficult just through regular applications. There are very few positions available for writers, which is what I’d like to do in the long run, and intense competition for entry-level QA Tester roles, which is what I’m more likely to get without previous experience. Continue reading
Here it is! The official list of participants for Flash Fiction Day 2016. From midnight to midnight on June 22nd (in their respective time zones) these fine writers will be attempting to produce as many flash fiction pieces as possible (from 1 to 1,000 words in length) in just 24 hours. If you haven’t signed up already, that link above will take you to the blog post where you can do that: I’ll be accepting new participants right up until the end of the event, so it’s still not too late to jump in!
If you’re trying to pick one of these to read, you may also like to look at the version of this list available on deviantART, where previews of each submission are available.
Here are the rules once again:
- The event begins at the very start of June 22nd, your local time. You can start writing any time after that.
- Write your first piece of flash fiction. Maximum 1,000 words, minimum 1 word. (I have read every conceivable 0 word story and am now bored of the genre.)
- Publish a blog post (or equivalent) titled “Flash Fiction Day Submissions” (or something more imaginative) containing that story.
- Leave a link to your post in the comments below (you don’t need an account or even an email address to do this). I’ll approve your comment and add the link to the body of this post as quickly as possible.
- Write more stories! Add those new stories to your FFD post (possibly with a note to say what time you started/finished them). You might consider tweeting each time a new story becomes available to read.
- That’s it! All your stories for the day are available in one place where readers can easily find them.
- When June 22nd ends, so does the event. Of course, you’re free to stop writing earlier if you like.