Sunday, 30 October 2016


Just imagine for a minute, if you will, that there was to be a supplement to YOU ARE THE HERO published next year, to mark the 35th anniversary of the publication of the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

If there was such a title, what would you like to see contained within its pages?

Friday, 30 October 2015

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is on Kickstarter!

Exciting news, Fighting Fantasy fans... It's here at last!

That's right, Tin Man Games' Kickstarter to complete work on The Warlock of Firetop Mountain* is now live, and in under 24 hours has already raised almost half its funding target of $15,000AUD.

I'm sure you'll agree that that's an amazing achievement and if you are a fan of Fighting Fantasy, RPGs, or Tin Man Games' previous gamebook apps, then you will want to be a part of this! 

Rewards on offer include having your name appear in the credits, unique digital miniatures to use in the game (which also unlock additional content and story), and even having your name appear on the wall in Zagor's crypt!

* I might have had my own small part to play in this project.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

YOU ARE THE HERO and the BFS Awards 2015

You may remember that earlier this year YOU ARE THE HERO made the shortlist for the British Fantasy Awards in the Best Non-Fiction category.

So, dutifully, yesterday I strapped on my sword belt, filled my backpack with rations, and set off for Firetop Mountain... I mean the East Midlands Conference Centre, and the British Fantasy Society Awards.

To cut a long story short, YOU ARE THE HERO didn't win. Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing) did. But at least we were nominated* and even got a cheer when we were read out on the shortlist. And no one can take the UK Games Expo Award from us ;-)

I prepared a speech, just in case the book did win**, and even though it didn't, it still seems appropriate to post it here, now.

Fighting Fantasy is why I'm here, and I don't just mean today. I expect some of you are also here, in part, because of Fighting Fantasy.

Fighting Fantasy was what set me on the path to becoming an author, which has ultimately brought me here today.

There are lots of people I have to thank... Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone for creating Fighting Fantasy in the first place, Marc Gascoigne for giving me my big break, Snowbooks for publishing YOU ARE THE HERO, everyone who agreed to be interviewed for the book (some of whom are here today), but most of all, everyone who backed the original Kickstarter. I couldn't have done it without you!

* And I don't think a Fighting Fantasy-related book had been nominated for a BFS Award before.

** Because if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Fighting Fantasy on Only Connect

In case you missed it, last week's edition of the BBC2 quiz Only Connect featured a question about Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

The episode is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer and for this choice morsel you want to watch from about 15 minutes in. Or you can watch it here.

Congratulations to Matt Beatson for getting the answer right after only one clue, but that didn't stop me cringing at his description of the plot of The Citadel of Chaos.

Friday, 5 June 2015

YOU ARE THE HERO, the UK Games Expo Awards 2015, Pod Your Own Adventure, and Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland

In case you haven't heard, I took YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, to the UK Games Expo last weekend... and it only received an Honourable Mention in the UK Games Expo Awards 2015!

On the Saturday evening of the Expo I also recorded an episode of Pod Your Own Adventure, during which I played through Bloodbones with host Robin, and died four times before we gave up having only got about halfway through the adventure.

Now this will doubtless cause many people much amusement, and some may whisper comments like "Karma" and "Hoist by his own petard". But in my defence, Bloodbones was my 6th book and my 53rd book was published yesterday, and I can't even remember details of books I wrote two years ago, never mind twenty years ago.

And before I go, I just wanted to draw your attention to this. If you're a fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Steampunk, horror, or gamebooks (or even all of the above), then please consider joining the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Facebook group, which will be the first step leading to the launch of a new Kickstarter, and getting a brand new gamebook published, in this the 150th year since the publication of Lewis Carroll's seminal children's portal fantasy.

Thank you.

Monday, 1 June 2015

YOU ARE THE HERO at the UK Games Expo 2015

At the weekend I attended the UK Games Expo. It was the first time I had attended since it moved from central Birmingham to the NEC Metropole and a very impressive venue it was too. Graham Bottley of Arion Games kindly let me share his table, so Fighting Fantasy was well represented at the expo, with his Advanced Fighting Fantasy books on sale alongside some of the few remaining hardbacks of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.

Graham Bottley and Simon Strafford on the Arion Games stand.

Despite being stuck behind a table for most of the weekend (and so not getting to see much else that was going on) I had a great time, with people stopping by to pick up YOU ARE THE HERO (some of whom had seen it mentioned in the programme), backers of the original Kickstarter stopping by to get their copies signed or to pass on their very kind comments about the book, and old friends turning up just to say hello (people like Jim Swallow, James Wallis, and Matt Elliott). On Saturday night I recorded a podcast for Pod Your Own Adventure (but more on that another time), and then on Sunday afternoon this happened...

 The now officially 'award-winning'

The 10th UK Games Expo was a fantastic event, excellently organised and brilliantly run, and that's thanks to Tony Hyams, Richard Denning, John Dodd, and a host of others, so a big thank you to all concerned who helped make this run in such a smooth and relaxed way. And here's to the UK Games Expo 2016. (I might have something new to promote games-wise by then.)