B2CyCon might be over, but the fun doesn’t stop!

I just got done with a huge online event (#b2bcycon2017), which I use for networking with readers and authors every year. I’m a three year veteran at The Brain to Books Cyber Convention, and I’m always trying new things.

Trying New Things

My latest experiment was a Fantasy themed scavenger hunt, where I challenge participants to match the first lines of books to their covers. It uses the Amazon “Look Inside” feature to encourage people to actually look at the books featured, and explore the first few pages.

What Were The Results?

It’s proved to be an interesting experiment, because a lot of the participants have agreed to sign up for author mailing lists, and indicated they would do similar quizzes in future.

The event can be found here, for those interested in having a look, and will be available until Saturday 15th April, when I draw the winners

Midweek Mumbles: Guest Post “Interactive Fiction” by Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks - Author Pic

Now, I don’t do guest posts very often, but when I do, I like to think it’s more than worth it. So today, I’m closing out a short series of posts with yet another entry from the amazing Felicity Banks.

If you read my Book Spotlight on “Heart of Brass”, and the Author Spotlight on Felicity, you’ll know that she mentioned interactive fiction a number of times. As a childhood fan of the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, I was intrigued enough to ask her to write a post about it.

Writing these kinds of stories takes far more planning and work than anything I have ever attempted, so I was interested in what her process was.

I hope you enjoy reading what Felicity had to say about this type of story, and there are a lot of links that you can check out.

What is interactive fiction?

Choice-based interactive fiction (as opposed to Parser interactive fiction, which has puzzles) is exactly like a normal story except the reader gets a say in where the story goes. That can be as minor as choosing how to feel about an event (does the hero panic? Do they worry about their friends? Do they wish they were stronger or smarter?), or as major as traveling to a completely different country for part or all or the story.

A lot of choice-based interactive fiction is similar to Choose Your Own Adventure novels, except modern interactive fiction is usually 100% digital and released as an app rather than an e-book. This has led to a culture in which a lot of IF lets the reader choose their own name, gender, and even sexuality. Suddenly every character is a strong female hero!

When did you realise you wanted to write interactive fiction?

January 2015. My health was declining and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to go back to work in child care. A friend told me about Choice of Games offering a $10,000 advance based on an outline, so I sent them my writing CV. We sent my pitch and outline back and forth a few times before they rejected it—but by that time I’d already written most of the book!

I finished Attack of the Clockwork Army, and Choice of Games put it on their Hosted Games label, meaning that I’d get royalties only. No-one had heard of me and I’d never sold an interactive story before, but it earned me about $2000 anyway. I was stunned that there was such a market for interactive books, and I had an excuse to write more. I now work for Tin Man Games, which is a truly fantastic and internationally-famous Australian game company. They’re also a lot of fun to work with.

Subscribe To Felicity’s Interactive Fiction…

apple (subscription to either story gets you both)

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/choices-and-the-sun-went-out/id1004909104?mt=8

android (you buy or earn Story Passes that you spend on either story)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.tinmangames.choices&hl=en

Do you have a favourite author of interactive fiction?

I like Brendan Patrick Henessy (Birdland), Eric Moser (Community College Hero 1), Kevin Gold, (Choice of Robots), and anything by Emily Short (except for Galatea, which is probably her most famous work).

What advice would you give beginners to interactive fiction?

If you’ve written a few novels and you want to earn money, start by sending your writing credits to Choice of Games. If you’re fascinated by the form, jump into Twine and have a play (Birdland was written in Twine). It’s free and takes about ten minutes to get started. If you’d like to test the waters, try entering a contest: The Windhammer Prize entries have to be both short and printable rather than digital. Introcomp is specifically designed for unfinished games. The Spring Thing welcomes beginners (they even have a “Back Garden” so critics know to mind their manners and be gentle with new people). The IF Comp is so huge a large number of reviewing blogs organize their year around it.

Be warned that the IF Community has an extremely deep (sometimes bruising) tradition of reviewing. It’s normal for even the best games to draw both praise and criticism, and for some games to be roundly condemned (especially in the IF Comp). On the other hand, I placed 7th in the IF Comp in 2015, and was offered three different paid jobs as a result!

If you want to learn about the world of IF, then read blogs and games (most of the competitions above are publicly judged, so go play!)

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten is a serialized story that releases a new section each week (the first week is free, and continuing the story costs a few dollars). Readers can choose to turn the music and sounds on or off. If they have an apple watch, it can play a crucial role in the story (spoilers!) or they can switch off that function.

The main character has the magical ability to carry the souls of the deceased (a form of magical last rites). They have a duty to face dangerous training, which they’ve avoided for some years. The story begins when the main character is on the cusp of adulthood. A powerful woman guesses they have magical talent, and demands their help. At the same time, an immortal white bear is stalking them. One way or another, they have to face their fears. Their life changes forever as a result.

They’re soon swept up in an international war between the living and the dead.

It’s a steampunk story set in the same magical steampunk universe as my novel Heart of Brass, but without any overlapping characters or plot (so no spoilers). Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten is set in a steampunk 1830s Europe, when Queen Victoria was a teenage princess and the power of steam was changing everyday life forever.

Any upcoming book secrets you’d care to reveal?

Hmm… let’s just say that roughly two-thirds of readers will accidentally kill someone important.

For More About Felicity Banks, and her writing…

Check out her blog @

felicitybanks.wordpress.com

Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament – Quarter Finals!

Brain to Books(1)

The Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament Has Entered The Quarter Finals!

Two rounds have gone by, and now we’ve hit the quarter final stage. That means 21 hopefuls have already been voted out of the tournament, and 8 remain.

I regret to say that Richard Parsons was defeated by the reigning tournament champion, Ian Troy… But there’s no shame in going out to such a strong contender on your first time out…

So let’s hear it for the defeated hero!

About Richard Parsons

richard_front

Role: Protagonist

Character’s Breed: Shapeshifter (Lupine Breed, human-to-wolf only)

Character’s Role: Paranormal investigator

Character’s Physical & Psychological Description:

Richard is 5 foot, 10 inches in height with a wiry build. His dark blonde, shoulder-length hair frames his hazel eyes in waves. Richard was abandoned by his father, when he discovered Richard was a shapeshifter. His mother died saving Richard’s life when he was only twelve. He grew up as a member street gangs, hiding his abilities out of fear of rejection by the few who accepted him. His only adult influence was the pack alpha of Seattle. Like his mother, Richard took to drinking to hide from his problems, and it brought him to the attention of the kind of people who watch the supernatural community. Now he’s reluctantly working for those same people.

Character’s Tagline:

“The ability to see the world with the eyes of the wolf is not a curse. The curse is in not using that gift wisely.”

 

Richard Parsons is the unlikely hero of the “Shadows Over Seattle” series

Click Here To Learn More

 

Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament – Round Two (Update #2)!

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A Handful Of Votes Can Determine The Victor – VOTE NOW!

Ian Troy (“Crown of Stones” by C.L. Scheinder) – Reigning Tournament Champion

  • Role: Protagonist
  • Character Breed: Shinree (Magic user)
  • Character’s Role: Ex-soldier turned bounty hunter
  • Character’s tagline: “I’m not a hero. I never was.”

Richard Parsons (“Shadows Over Seattle” by Timothy Bateson) – Newcomer

  • Role: Protagonist
  • Character’s Breed: Shapeshifter (Lupine Breed, human-to-wolf only)
  • Character’s Role: Paranormal investigator
  • Character’s Tagline: “The ability to see the world with the eyes of the wolf is not a curse. The curse is in not using that gift wisely.”

Who Will Walk Out Victorious?

Only your votes can decide the victor…

16 Heroes and Villains will enter the arena

Only 8 will gain enough votes to continue into the Quarter Finals!

The voting for Round Two ends at 2:59am EST on April 9th

Cast Your Votes Now!

 

Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament – Round Two (Update)!

Brain to Books(1)

It’s Magic vs Nature in Round Two

It’s Ian Troy vs Richard Parsons – “The Reigning Champion” vs “The Newcomer”

Ian Troy (“Crown of Stones” by C.L. Scheinder)

  • Role: Protagonist
  • Character Breed: Shinree (Magic user)
  • Character’s Role: Ex-soldier turned bounty hunter
  • Character’s tagline: “I’m not a hero. I never was.”

Richard Parsons (“Shadows Over Seattle” by Timothy Bateson)

 

  • Role: Protagonist
  • Character’s Breed: Shapeshifter (Lupine Breed, human-to-wolf only)
  • Character’s Role: Paranormal investigator
  • Character’s Tagline: “The ability to see the world with the eyes of the wolf is not a curse. The curse is in not using that gift wisely.”

Who Will Walk Out Victorious?

Only your votes can decide the victor…

16 Heroes and Villains will enter the arena

Only 8 will gain enough votes to continue into the Quarter Finals!

The voting for Round Two ends at 2:59am EST on April 9th

Cast Your Votes Now!

 

Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament – Round Two!

Brain to Books(1)

The Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament Has Entered Round Two!

Having taken down Fury, Richard is now up against the reigning champion, Ian Troy. 14 other heroes and villains from across the convention are about to enter the arena, so let’s catch up, before the fighting re-starts…

About Richard Parsons

richard_front

Role: Protagonist

Character’s Breed: Shapeshifter (Lupine Breed, human-to-wolf only)

Character’s Role: Paranormal investigator

Character’s Physical & Psychological Description:

Richard is 5 foot, 10 inches in height with a wiry build. His dark blonde, shoulder-length hair frames his hazel eyes in waves. Richard was abandoned by his father, when he discovered Richard was a shapeshifter. His mother died saving Richard’s life when he was only twelve. He grew up as a member street gangs, hiding his abilities out of fear of rejection by the few who accepted him. His only adult influence was the pack alpha of Seattle. Like his mother, Richard took to drinking to hide from his problems, and it brought him to the attention of the kind of people who watch the supernatural community. Now he’s reluctantly working for those same people.

Character’s Tagline:

“The ability to see the world with the eyes of the wolf is not a curse. The curse is in not using that gift wisely.”

 

16 Heroes and Villains will enter the arena

Only 8 will gain enough votes to continue into the Quarter Finals!

The voting for Round Two ends at 2:59am EST on April 9th

Cast Your Votes Now!

 

Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament – Round One!

Brain to Books(1)

The Brain To Books Cyber Convention Character Tournament Has Started!

This tournament is taking place alongside the Brain to Books Cyber Convention, and should be a lot of fun to watch. Readers and fans will vote for their favorite characters at each stage, and the winners of each battle will move on to the next round.

Richard Parsons is entering the ring, along with 28 other heroes and villains from across the convention, so let’s meet him before the fighting starts…

About Richard Parsons

richard_front

Role: Protagonist

Character’s Breed: Shapeshifter (Lupine Breed, human-to-wolf only)

Character’s Role: Paranormal investigator

Character’s Physical & Psychological Description:

Richard is 5 foot, 10 inches in height with a wiry build. His dark blonde, shoulder-length hair frames his hazel eyes in waves. Richard was abandoned by his father, when he discovered Richard was a shapeshifter. His mother died saving Richard’s life when he was only twelve. He grew up as a member street gangs, hiding his abilities out of fear of rejection by the few who accepted him. His only adult influence was the pack alpha of Seattle. Like his mother, Richard took to drinking to hide from his problems, and it brought him to the attention of the kind of people who watch the supernatural community. Now he’s reluctantly working for those same people.

Character’s Tagline:

“The ability to see the world with the eyes of the wolf is not a curse. The curse is in not using that gift wisely.”

29 Heroes and Villains will enter the ring

Only 16 can continue to Round Two!

The voting for Round One ends at 3pm EST on April 8th

Cast Your Votes Now!