Monday, May 27, 2013

Spirit Lake: The Winner


Okay, that was one of the most fun competitions I've run so far. The Exquisite Corpse competition is shaping up brilliantly— the standard on display is just mind-boggling— but the Spirit Lake contest has just been fun from start to finish.

So here's what I did.

I collected all of the names of the people who entered, both here on this Blog and on Twitter, and I divided them into bundles. I made sure that each and every one had a valid reason for why they should be a video game character. Some of these reasons made sense. Some were just odd. Some were VERY odd. There are people, both Minions and Ronda Rousey fans, who are just unsettling. I'm not entirely sure how their brains work— if indeed their brains work at all.    

To give you a hint of what I've been dealing with, here are a few reasons you people gave. "Because of my neurax worms." "Because I like pie." "Because I'm short.""Because I've watched Robot Wars.""Because I have a psychic elephant.""Because I have a need for speed.""Because I'm not very smart (which will make the player feel better about themselves).""Because I am Dr Who.""Because I sometimes think that I'm the only human being in the world. The rest of you are all aliens.""I would make an awesome video game character because I already AM an awesome video game character.""Because I am actually Lakota (the Spirit Lake people are my Dakota relatives)."

So I divided you all up, and those of you who entered multiple times got your names put into as many groups as possible. From each of these groups, a winner was chosen. The winners were then put into a hat.

(Not an ACTUAL hat, since I don't own one, but a METAPHORICAL hat.)

(Okay, fine, I wrote all your names on a sheet of paper and I let my cat walk on it, and the closest one to where her tail touched down was the winner.)

And sooooo... without further ado... the winner is...

Willow Kowalski!

Yayyyyyyy Willow! The only thing I know about Willow is that she's five years old (so, er, she can wait a few years before she starts reading my books) and she's a Ronda fan... It's a lovely prize, and I can't think of anyone it'd make happier.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quick Post...

A few days left of this rewrite, and the book will be done. DONE!

In the meantime, I shall be collecting all the names of those who entered the Spirit Lake competition, and should have a winner in a day or two. In other news?

In other news, this Friday, right here on this Blog, I shall be unveiling the COVER of Last Stand of Dead Men...

Prepare yourselves.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Spirit Lake

Here's a bit of an oddity...

Okay, so you all know what a fan of Ronda Rousey I am. In Women's Mixed Martial Arts, she is the UFC champ. She is an astonishingly admirable lady, brimming with confidence and wit. Some people call her arrogant, but then some people call ME arrogant, and we all know that's not true. Well, it's sort of true. Okay, it's true, but why be humble and boring when you can be arrogant and entertaining? 

I am enough of a fan, in fact, that I sought out her signed gloves and won them at auction. Here they are, beside a pair of boxing gloves owned by THE greatest martial artist, certainly in living memory, one Mister Bruce Lee.

On Twitter, I follow two people. Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano. The fact that both people are very pretty women who can fight is a complete coincidence, I assure you. It's because of Twitter, however, that I heard about a project that Ronda's mum and sister are behind— something called Spirt Lake: The Game. 

Spirit Lake, essentially, combines adventure video gaming with learning maths (or, as you Americans say, math), in an effort to make learning fun. Originally developed with Native American students in mind, they've realised that the Dakota (Sioux) angle— incorporating historically accurate aspects of tribal life and culture—  appeals to people and schools right across America. And you get to fire arrows! At wolves! While you learn to count! What's not to love??

And if this works like they hope it will, this could be the beginning of something huge. This could revolutionise teaching, and learning— not just in America but across the world— and it could be just the thing that's needed to help struggling students make that singular, all-important leap. This could change people's lives. 

So I heard about this, and the Kickstarter campaign they were running to fund the next stage of development, and I figured I may as well send some money over to help them along. After all, the better kids do in school, the longer they stay in school, and the longer they stay in school, the more chance they have of stumbling across my books, right? Right. 

As a reward for helping out, they have given me the chance to actually BECOME a character in this game. But I couldn't possibly accept. The fact is, I am amazing. I am awesome. If I were to make a cameo appearance in ANY game, I would make every other aspect of the game pale in comparison. And I couldn't do that to all their hard work. So I asked Ronda's mum if it'd be okay if I could hold a mini-competition HERE, not only for my Ameriminions but for ALL my Minions, and the winner of THAT would get the chance to become a character. If you win, the animators will create an avatar using your name and likeness and as if by magic— you will be INSIDE a video game. 

It'll be like Tron only... y'know... you probably won't die.


And even though the game is only planned for release in America (right now), the competition is open to anyone of any age and nationality. So here's what you have to do. You have to tell me why YOU would be the most awesome video game character EVER. Once we reach the 5000 comment limit and the Comments Section closes, I shall collect all the entries, stick the names in a hat, and randomly pick the winner. 

And yes, entering more than once, with DIFFERENT reasons, gives you a better chance of winning. 

There. Bet when you opened up this Blog today you had no idea this was coming at you. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Back in Circulation

Ah, time off... how I love you so... At least, I love the IDEA of you. I love the MENTION of you, the PROMISE of you. But I never quite GET you, do I?

Such is the reality of life as a writer— there IS no time off.

Other people leave the office and go off on holidays, but that's not the case with writers. Oh sure, we can easily walk away from the writing desk, but it's not so easy to flick the switch in our heads that makes us stop thinking of the next thing to write. We're stuck in that headspace. A writer's brain will continue to churn, even when we want to think about other things. It's not a BAD problem to have. It's not as bad as, say, being born without a head or waking up one morning to find your house is made of cheese. But it can get annoying. It means that you can never really relax...

I've had a few days off ever since sending in my first draft of LSODM. The last time I spoke with Nick, my editor, he was halfway through and loving it. Apparently. So that's good. I think. I'm not sure what my feelings are towards this new book. At the moment I'm too close to it, I don't know if it's good or great (or, yikes, bad) so I'm at that stage where uncertainty is tainting everything and I'm just waiting for Nick to finish the whole thing and say "Yeaahhhhh it's... fine... BUT..."

So yes, I've had a few days off since then. Two of which were taken up with meetings. But from Thursday on, I haven't even had to answer the phone. So what have I been doing?


I have two short stories to write for various things. I want to do a lot more for the Skulduggery short story collection coming out next year. I need to start thinking of Skulduggery Book Nine. And I have to get a handle of what I'm going to write AFTER. What book is going to coming out in 2015? What will the next series be?

So that's what I've been doing over the weekend.

But now that I have the first draft handed in, hopefully I'll be able to get back to posting here on a weekly basis, and being a bit more present on Twitter, and generally getting things back to normal. You've all been very patient while I've had my head down, and I appreciate it. As a reward, here's a thing.