Published Gamebooks I've worked on:

Some writing communities I'm involved with:

Coffin Hop 2014 Day Seven - Hush My Little One

Coffin Hop 2014

(Image design by atrtink.com)

 

There's just over twenty four hours left of the annual COFFIN HOP where horror authors and artists from around the globe come together to share their dark works and giveaway great prizes for just a few mouse clicks... So there's still time to win some really cool stuff if you're quick!

Right here, you can win free copies of my horror novel The Dark Horde - 3 copies in ebook (pdf) format, and if you win the grand prize, I’ll mail you a signed copy of the paperback version completely free! Or if you'd prefer, you can get a ebook (pdf) copy of Evermore: An Introduction instead (or a signed copy of the paperback version mailed free if you win the grand prize). 

Want more? Well I'll also throw in a free copy of my gamebook Infinite Universe (published by Tin Man Games) that you can read and play on PC, Mac, Linux or Android platforms for every winner!

(The free copy of Infinite Universe will come via a link that you copy and paste into your browser - I'm fairly sure this link will still work for you, but in the event it doesn't, let me know and I'll give you another free PDF copy of your choice of one of my books instead).

You can enter any time, as often as you like up until midnight on the 31st of Oct (US EST time). In the event a winner doesn't claim their prize within 72 hours of being notified, another winner will be drawn in their place.

 

*** Click here to enter Brewin’s 2014 Coffin Hop Giveaway ***

 

And continuing the "Terrible Myths & Legends" theme for the Kintsugi Poets Society where myself and fellow poets are sharing their dark, delicious delights as part of COFFIN HOP, here's another Arabian legend (that also appeared, albeit quite differently, in the gamebook Sultans of Rema I worked on, that was written by Gaetano Abbondanza and published by Tin Man Games)... Enjoy!

 

HUSH MY LITTLE ONE

 

photo credit: 尽在不言中 via photopin cc

 

Hush my little one, dry your tears

Sleep my child, forget your fears

 

Mummy’s here now, you’re safe and sound

The ghūls are far away, underground

 

The graveyard’s their home, and there they stay

So you’re safe from them, if you keep away

 

They need to feed, do beware

So let another, find their lair

 

Let their sacrifice, feed their lust

And give their life, for someone must

 

Else the ghūls will stray, into town

Choose a target, and strike them down

 

When they come, they’ll cause no fuss

Because they’ll change form, to one of us

 

They lure their victims, with such disguise

So remember this trick and don’t trust your eyes

 

The one way to tell, if it’s a ghūl

Is by their hooves, that’s the rule

 

What’s that you say? You see my feet

Yes they are hooved, but there’s no retreat

 

Your mummy’s already dead, I drank her blood

It tasted delicious, a warm dark flood

 

And as her life, began to fade

I thought of you and my mind was made

 

I’ll eat you first, and then the rest

Because I like… Children best

 

So be still my dear and don’t you cry

Your tears won’t save you, it’s time to die

 

Continue reading
2646 Hits
2 Comments

Coffin Hop 2014 Day Three - Beware the Sandwalker

Coffin Hop 2014

(Image design by atrtink.com)

 

It's day three of the annual COFFIN HOP where horror authors and artists from around the globe come together to share their dark works and invite you to join in the fun and win some great horror prizes, all for just for a few mouse clicks!

And right here, you can win free copies of my horror novel The Dark Horde - 3 copies in ebook (pdf) format are up for grabs, and if you win the grand prize, I’ll mail you a signed copy of the paperback version completely free! Or if you'd prefer, you can get a ebook (pdf) copy of Evermore: An Introduction instead (or a signed copy of the paperback version mailed free if you win the grand prize). 

Want more? Of course you do haha... Well how about I throw in a free copy of my gamebook Infinite Universe (published by Tin Man Games) that you can read and play on PC, Mac, Linux or Android platforms for every winner? Done!

(The free copy of Infinite Universe will come via a link that you copy and paste into your browser - I'm fairly sure this link will still work for you, but in the event it doesn't, let me know and I'll give you another free PDF copy of your choice of one of my books instead).

You can enter any time, as often as you like up until midnight on the 31st of Oct (US EST time). In the event a winner doesn't claim their prize within 72 hours of being notified, another winner will be drawn in their place.

 

*** Click here to enter Brewin’s 2014 Coffin Hop Giveaway ***

 

And continuing the "Terrible Myths & Legends" theme for the Kintsugi Poets Society where myself and fellow poets are sharing their dark, delicious delights as part of COFFIN HOP, here's another Arabian legend (with a little inspiration from the gamebook Sultans of Rema written by Gaetano Abbondanza and published by Tin Man Games)... Enjoy!

 

BEWARE THE SANDWALKER

 

 

Beware the great hunter of the desert, the Sandwalker

Huge and terrifying its visage, a tireless stalker

By day it sleeps, concealed beneath the sands

By night it awakes, hungry, to patrol its lands

 

Deadly its venomous sting, crushing its mighty claws

Prowling the sands for victims, hunting without pause

A blackened, scorpioid beast the size of a horse

Wielding a beak so sharp it can slice steel with its force

 

And if this terror you should ever meet

Know that it will never relent nor retreat

Unerringly, methodically, it will follow your trail

Cover your tracks as you might, to no avail

 

Can this nightmare be slain? No one knows

Where it is said to dwell, no one goes

Of those that crossed its path, none have returned

Beware and avoid, only this has been learned

 

 

Continue reading
4165 Hits
3 Comments

Coffin Hop back for 2014!

Coffin Hop 2014

(Image design by atrtink.com)

 

Been a bit quiet around here hey? Never mind COFFIN HOP is back once again, showcasing the dark wares of hundreds of horror authors and artists from around the globe. So come and join the horrific blog hop where each participating blogger is giving away prizes! Win heaps of awesome free horror stuff and all just for a few mouse clicks!

This year I'm combining forces with the Kintsugi Poets Society where myself and fellow poets are sharing their dark, delicious delights for your enjoyment on the theme of "Terrible Myths & Legends". And here too you can win some more great prizes, including dark poetic works and an Amazon gift card :)

And right here, you can win free copies of my horror novel The Dark Horde - 3 copies in ebook (pdf) format are up for grabs, and if you win the grand prize, I’ll mail you a signed copy of the paperback version completely free! Or if you'd prefer, you can get a ebook (pdf) copy of Evermore: An Introduction instead (or a signed copy of the paperback version mailed free if you win the grand prize). 

You can enter any time, as often as you like up until midnight on the 31st of Oct (US EST time). In the event a winner doesn't claim their prize within 72 hours of being notified, another winner will be drawn in their place.

 

*** Click here to enter Brewin’s 2014 Coffin Hop Giveaway ***

 

I'll leave you now with my first poem for the Kintsugi Poets Coffin Hop... With a little inspiration from the gamebook Sultans of Rema that I worked on (written by Gaetano Abbondanza and published by Tin Man Games), I've decided to share some terrible myths & legends with an Arabian theme... Enjoy!

 

TWICE THE FEAR

 

It was I thought an abandoned tomb

An ancient relic, in eternal gloom

But within this eldritch, slumbering womb

Lay an imprisoned terror… And my doom

 

I found it as I crossed this lonely desert land

It was but a stone wheel, buried in the sand

Perplexed by this discovery, I knelt to uncover it by hand

Revealing an archaic portal, whose purpose I could not understand

 

Gripping the wheel, I struggled to wrench it free

Eventually succeeding, and opened this portal of mystery

Before me stretched steps untouched since antiquity

Obscured by a foul darkness, through which I could not see

 

Curiosity ruled my thoughts, and so I began to descend

Holding a flashlight anxiously, wondering where they’d end

Down a hundred steps I went, before reaching a bend

And came to a cavernous expanse I could not comprehend…

 

Strewn across the floor were artefacts of stone and clay

Smashed and left to lie for the ages to this day

Yet over the remains hung the heavy stench of decay

More recent, undiminished, filling me with dismay

 

As I stood in silence, puzzling over what I’d found

There came from the hidden depths, a tortured sound

An inhuman groan, so intense it shook the ground…

Then I realised, something fearful towards me was bound

 

My trembling torch cut a swathe through the dusty air

But where I’d heard the noise, there was nothing there

Overcome with horror, I mouthed a silent prayer

But my fate was already sealed – I would die in this lair

 

Then from the dancing shadows, it began to appear

Half a torso, one arm and leg, hopping near

Its head half a mouth and nose, a single eye and ear

It was only half a man, but twice the fear

 

Faced with such nightmare, I strove to disbelieve

But it was the dreaded Nasnas, I failed to conceive

Spawn of a demon, my flesh it began to cleave

Ignoring my cries, my slayer, its domain I would never leave…

 

Continue reading
2751 Hits
6 Comments

Return to Rema!

Gamebook Adventures 9: Sultans of Rema

Been a bit quiet over here the last couple of months huh?

Well I'm going to endeavour to change that with more regular posts (currently I'm fantasizing that they'll be every week or so but let's see how we go on that haha)

Anyway, today's post is to share my latest released work, Sultans of Rema, the ninth digital gamebook in the Gamebook Adventures series produced by Tin Man Games, which also happens to be their twenty-second digital gamebook release, and the sixth one I've worked on. <- See I've even updated my side banner with these releases, so check them out if you're interested, and while you're there, www.gamebookadventures.com also lists the others too (I think with the exception of those only released in non-English languages).

Sultans of Rema is the sequel to Slaves of Rema, the third title in the acclaimed Gamebook Adventures series, both of which were written by the talented Gaetano Abbondanza, and subsequently edited / embellished by yours truly… Both works are designed by Gaetano, with modification by me (and a fair amount of input by others I might add), with the aim of balancing combats (so as to be neither too hard nor easy and consistent across differing paths), reducing player frustration (see here for how I seek to re-engineer gamebooks to address such things) and generally being a fun and engaging experience… Based on the reviews so far, like this one for instance, it looks like we got it right J (not that you can ever please everyone of course haha)

Joshua Wright once again lends his excellent artistic skills to bring this work to life (I’ve lost count of how many Tin Man Games releases he’s worked on now, but they include at least the last four Gamebook Adventures titles including this one) and the Tin Man Games team has done a sterling job (as they do!) in pulling it all together…

My summary of what Sultans of Rema is about goes something like “Arabian nights” meets sword-swinging, spell-slinging fantasy in an epic tale of political intrigue, magic and monsters. Which I guess is an abridged version of the app description:

“Your return to Rema takes you further to the east, to the City-State of Callae, renowned throughout the world as a city of great learning. Your final destination is the Emirates of Akbir, ruled by a sick Emir who has remained neutral to Orlandes’ political leanings over the years. His successor threatens to send that relationship into turmoil. You must secretly enter a harsh desert world of political power struggles and strange magics to ensure a stable future for both Rema and Orlandes!”

It’s available now (along with the rest of the series of course) on Android and iOS devices.

Enjoy!

 

P.s. You may also be interested to know that there’s quite a few references in there to things from a forthcoming Gamebook Adventures title (also set in the Reman continent). So it’s with good reason that some things are hinted at but not fully explained… But hey that’s all I’ll say on that for now ;)

Continue reading
2979 Hits
0 Comments

My Next Big Thing(s)...

The Dark Horde - The Calling
Grail Quest by J.H.Brennan
My Grail Quest collection!
(Some of) my Fighting Fantasy collection!
Sagas of the Demonspawn by J.H.Brennan
Illustration by Joshua Wright





“The Next Big Thing” is a chain-blogging event where authors and artists write about their “next big thing” before tagging another five people to do the same thing the following week or so.

My exceptionally talented writer friend Anita Bell (author of numerous best-selling and award-winning books) tagged me (and four others) and wrote up her blog HERE, so now it’s my turn!

There’s been a few things happening in “the land of Brewin” lately, and although I’m not in the habit of talking about things I’m doing (or even have done!) yet, I’ll try to give you a taste of what’s to come… Oh and whilst this is meant to be done in question and answer format (five questions I think it is), I’ve kinda just done this my own way…

         

 Photography by Jake Lowe, Dodgy MS Paint mock-up cover by Brewin’ …And yes, these are actually Manna Gums.

 

To know the future, is to know the horror to come

To know what stalks us, calling from the darkness inside…

 

“The Calling”, otherwise known as “The Dark Horde album”, is an album-length musical that tells of the events leading up to the beginning of my associated horror novel The Dark Horde. The story is told through both narration and sung lyrics, and is set to atmospheric music. The idea is that you can sit back and listen to the whole album and absorb the story: regardless of whether you have read the book or not. Making the album possible are a number of expert vocalists and musicians, including Liam “Wagener” who did the music and video for The Dark Horde book trailer, and Hanny Mohamed who did the music for the Infinite Universe gamebook. “The Calling” is a project that’s been around at least 13 years, and like the The Dark Horde novel, has already gone through many iterations, but has yet to be released. I’ll refrain from showing you old versions for now, but you’ll get to hear some of the new stuff (i.e. the stuff we are aiming to release) soon enough… In the meantime just imagine it’s something like Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds musical, but more horror-based and with an atmospheric “metal” soundtrack.

“The Calling” is just one of the many things I’ll be doing in 2013 though… In fact I’m involved in a lot bigger goings at Tin Man Games, and some of this work I can say a little about, starting with the biggest ever news to rock the land of the Brewin:

                                                    

 Grail Quest is without a doubt, my favourite gamebook series of all time…

 As you probably know by now, gamebooks were a HUGE part of my childhood and along with role-playing games (particularly Dungeons and Dragons and Call of Cthulhu) have influenced my life ever since… Fighting Fantasy may have been the most well-known of “dice-based gamebooks”, but as soon as I discovered Grail Quest in what year was it? 1985 perhaps? they quickly became my all-time favourites… I proudly own the whole series to this day, and from the looks of the Imprint details, I have the original UK printings too:

                                       

Neil tells me that these are worth quite a bit now… Not that that matters since I’ll never be selling them ;)

I remember I used to spend quite a lot of time reading these in grade six (1986 was the year), including in class. My grade six teacher became quite intrigued by these gamebooks that I was reading, so much so that he began to use them to set class exercises. He’d take pictures from them (mostly the first two as I recall) and have a whole class write stories using one of the pictures as a prompt.

Anyway so where I’m going with this, is that Tin Man Games (that I’ve worked with since just after their first gamebook by S.P. Osbourne, An Assassin in Orlandes, was released) is now bringing the series to a digital platform, and Neil Rennison, director of Tin Man Games, knowing my love for the Grail Quest series, and my background in statistics, editing and game design, has put me in charge of figuring out the conversion: i.e. suggesting how it can be implemented (it remains to be seen how much of the actual implementation I do owing to my own time constraints). To be in such a position now, working on the conversion of a series and author I idolised, along with the works of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy series from the same era, is surreal to say the least! You can read all about the announcement, including some special words from the author, J.H. “Herbie” Brennan, himself HERE.

                                                      

A few of my friends take pride in their rare vinyls from the eighties… But I have gamebooks which are way cooler!

Yes I still have the first versions of the Fighting Fantasy books too, with their original covers before the green spines came in (which I must admit, I’ve never really been a fan of though they did certainly reinforce “the brand” which I guess was the point). –By 1987 I’d collected over a hundred gamebooks, before stupidly selling off most of my collection save for the Fighting Fantasies, Grail Quests and Lone Wolfs, plus a handful of others like Duel Master and Falcon. (Choose-your-own Adventure, Endless Quest and Tunnels and Trolls were just some of those that got sold off: but the ones I miss the most are my Interplanetary Spy gamebooks – I had the whole series dammit!)

But back to Tin Man Games again, they certainly seem to have established themselves as the “go to place for gamebooks” in the current era, and have been announcing an incredible line-up of gamebook releases HERE, concluding with the “grand daddy” of them all: Fighting Fantasy. It was a strange twist of circumstance (you could even say “fate”) that I became involved with Tin Man Games in the first place, and having now edited, rebalanced (and to a significant degree rewritten) the first four titles, plus written one of my own, Infinite Universe, I take some credit in the success that Gamebook Adventures have had, and for what they’ve done to “bring gamebooks back” J

But that’s not all I’m working on… In fact far from it:

                                                 

I was lazy and just grabbed this from Tin Man Games blog post on the same topic…

Among other things, Tin Man Games have also announced that they’ll be bringing Herbie Brennan's other classic gamebook series, Sagas of the Demonspawn, to digital format. Like the Grail Quest series, these were exceptionally well-written epic fantasy stories that were targeted towards the “older reader” owing to their adult content at times (which was quite unusual for the era). One thing that (IMHO) they didn’t succeed with so much was the combat system used. I notice I’m not alone in the opinion that not only was the system unnecessarily convoluted but the combats are nigh impossible at times. And having compiled my own gamebook simulator which you can download HERE, I have the stats to back these perceptions up (note that the simulator I’ve made available for download only includes the Fighting Fantasy and Gamebook Adventures systems at this point).

So like Grail Quest, I’ll be working on the conversion of Sagas of the Demonspawn to a digital format, and I’m almost as excited about this as I am about Grail Quest. In many ways I imagine that this conversion will make Sagas of the Demonspawn better than it ever was: You keep the fantastic world and story, but streamline the system and ensure it is properly balanced, to end up with one of the greatest gamebook experiences you can have! Everyone wins! J (And to be honest, it doesn’t actually take many tweaks to achieve this: but you’ll see that for yourself soon enough!) Anyway, Neil of Tin Man Games talks more about this release HERE.

                                                                                     

Amin al Joddah, “the jewel of the desert”, capital of the United Emirates of Akbir

Those Tin Men have certainly been keeping me busy lately, as I’ve also been working on the editing/implementation of another two Gamebook Adventures titles: Sultans of Rema (an illustration from which can be seen above by Joshua Wright) and Shadow over Rema.

Sultans of Rema (which Neil announced HERE) is written by Gaetano Abbondanza, and is the sequel to his first Gamebook Adventures title Slaves of Rema. This title, together with Ashton Saylor’s Shadow over Rema, will form the “Rema trilogy” if you will. Sultans of Rema is an "Arabian Nights" style of adventure, whereas Shadow over Rema has more of a dark fantasy flavour... I guess I was best placed to take on the implementation of these since I not only created (most of) the map and history for the Reman continent (with Neil’s direction of course: being the world he created for his Dungeons and Dragons campaign from childhood), but I wrote much of the content in Slaves of Rema too, in order to fill it out with world details etc. Anyway Sultans of Rema isn’t far from release, with Shadow over Rema to follow sometime later… Sultans also contains a handful of references to things in Shadow over Rema, but you’ll probably only be able to spot those once both are out ;)

I also get asked about sequels to my other works: Infinite Universe, The Dark Hordeand Evermore: An Introduction. The short answer is yes there will be sequels at some point, but no I cannot say when. I work a “day job” as an analyst/programmer for the market research company Nielsen as well (my hours varying from one to five days a week depending on demand) and somewhere around that try to maintain a semblance of a social life too… Time is ever the enemy! Hmm I’d like to do a movie-adaption of The Dark Horde too, but such things are well beyond my current focus.

Then there’s the other things I’d like to do (given time, I’m not making any promises yet): An expanded version of Trial of the Battle God, something for the Adventurer solo roleplaying system, and other collaborative works such as Operation: Time Bomb. But the biggest (and greatest I think) of all these by a long way is a game system known to many of my friends as Creator. Creator fills over four drawers in my room, comprises many thousands of pages, close to thirty years of work and the collected input of about a hundred playtesters over the years… I haven’t come back to this for a while (Trial of the Battle God includes some elements though), but is certainly something I aim to get to sooner or later: It’s my “life work” if you will, and still to this day, there’s nothing out there like it (at least to my knowledge). Time will tell when I can start to talk about that more as it becomes a more concrete release reality.

Okay so enough about me, it’s time to pass the baton to those up next. (And apologies if I’ve made it seem like a hard act to follow: I had a lot to cover haha).

I’ve tagged the following eclectic bunch of individuals from around the globe, whose exceptional talents range across vastly different creative disciplines:

 

                                        David Walters - Book/Gamebook Author and Eastern expert, hailing from Scotland.

                                        Kevin Powe - Villainous voice over artist and gamer, hailing from Australia.

                                        Kimberly Kinrade - Novelist and Publicity/Marketing guru, hailing from the US.

                                        Joshua Wright - Illustrator and Designer, hailing from Australia.

                                        Stuart Lloyd - Gamebook guru and Designer, hailing from England.

 

 

And finally, given the day it is now (I meant to have posted this earlier but oh well):

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Continue reading
Recent Comments
Brewin
Here's some of the follow-ups to the above post, by those I tagged: Kevin Powe - http://kevinpowe.voiceoverartist.com.au/2013/my-n... Read More
Sunday, 13 January 2013 05:56
9058 Hits
2 Comments