Monday, December 05, 2011

I Loved Lucca

I loved Lucca. I was there a few weeks ago as literary guest of honor at the Lucca Comics and Games Festival, the third largest of its kind, so I’m led to believe, in the world.

Lucca itself is an Italian city about an hour’s drive from Florence. The outskirts are urban modern, bustling with traffic. The centre, inside ancient walls, takes you back to Medieval times with (almost) no vehicular traffic, narrow, cobbled streets and high buildings. I made the journey from Ireland by car, ferry and train — I don’t fly anywhere, ever — a trip wonderfully organized by Jacks, who accompanied me to stroke my fevered brow when I got harassed.

The festival was amazing, packed with fans in heroic fantasy costume. The organizers were adorable and many of them have now become friends for life. I had a busy schedule of signings, presentations, interviews, a civic reception, a lunch with a fan club and one workshop.

When I accepted the invite, I assumed the emphasis would be on Faerie Wars, which is a best-seller in Italy. There was certainly a lot of interest and the omnibus edition sold out in days, but the real surprise was that the fans, now grown up, actually remembered my GrailQuest game books from the 1980s.

Remembered? Heck, I‘m being coy. They brought dog-eared copies for signing, talked endlessly about their favourite characters, asked questions about the books at the presentations and interviews. Turned out the owner of the restaurant where we had the club lunch was a GrailQuester as a boy: he arranged to have the original book covers printed on the menus.

All in all, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I’ve only now got my emotions well enough under control to say a heartfelt thank-you to beautiful Italy, to my publishers Mondadori, to those kind, generous, wonderful fans and to everyone who looked after us so well at that amazing festival. I love you all.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ebook Gamebook: EgyptQuest Now on Kindle

Back in the 1980s, I passed a pleasant year or two writing solo adventure gamebooks. (Something of a fad at the time.) I’m pleased to say readers looked kindly on them. So much so, in fact, that they literally sold in their millions right across the globe and are still in print in certain countries — notably France and Japan — to this day.

Now for the first time, there’s a gamebook of mine available in ebook format. It’s called EgyptQuest: Lost Treasure of the Pyramids and it’s sort of educational as well as funny and thrilling and bonkers. You get to learn the basics of hieroglyphic writing, for example, provided you throw your dice right. You still do have to throw dice, same as in the old days, but the ebook format was just made for gamebooks since the computer looks after things when you track from section to section.

If you’re too young to remember gamebooks, you don’t read them like a novel, but create your own adventure story by tracking through the various sections the way you want to. It’s a ton of fun and a bit compulsive after a time. I have my own copy of EgyptQuest on my Kindle now and it’s brilliantly easy to play.

My epublishers, Andrews U.K. Ltd., have so far uploaded to Kindle, Omnilit and Apple’s iBookstore. If you’re interested in buying a copy for iPhone, iPad or iPod (and my bank manager really hopes you will be) you can use this link in the U.K...

And this one in the U.S...

For the Kindle edition, use this...

For Omnilit, it’s...

There will be more gamebooks to follow. (At least if I have anything to do with it.) Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Secret Prophecy

Just finished the first draft of The Secret Prophecy — it ran out at a little more than 95,000 words. As Churchill once remarked, this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning. Since I’m in a quotation mood this morning, let’s note too that Hemingway said ‘The first draft of everything is crap.’ So what happens now is I wait until I can approach the text as a reader might, thus discovering its strengths and weaknesses, and, in the process, produce a second draft which may or may not be good enough to send to the publisher. Meanwhile, I shall celebrate progress so far with some tapas.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


I always hate doing it, but one of my more pleasant New Year chores is the update of my Web site, It’s done now, I’m feeling virtuous and heading back to my new novel, The Secret Prophecy, after abandoning the poor thing completely for a Christmas break. I’m also feeling curiously optimistic, which is unusual for me at New Year: I have some adult projects on the go just now, plus electronic versions scheduled of some of my old gamebooks. All in all, it could be a fun year.