Adrienne Valdes’s first illustration for ‘Blood’


Love the touches in the sky and the reflections in the water. Adrienne is not only a great artist but is also lovely to work with and I’m looking forward to commissioning more work from her in the future!

We should shortly have a cover image for ‘Blood’ too, which I’m very excited about. The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about getting this first illustration is that I write thousands of words about the world of Eris, but this picture gave me one of the strongest impressions I’ve had of standing back and appreciating the place : )

Thanks Adrienne!

Adrienne’s website is:


Being a villain – and writing evil

This a tough, tough challenge that I’ll be looking a bit more at today in ‘The Aegis Saga – Blood’ – one piece of feedback I have is that I need to develop the ‘evil’ choices a bit more.

I mean to spend a bit more time today asking the questions: ‘why doesn’t everyone choose the selfless path in life?’ What motivates people to cut others down to succeed? Why do they value their anger or envy or ambition more highly than the prevention of suffering of other people?

Evil choices will be certainly be more prevalent in the sequel to ‘The Aegis Saga – Blood’. For one, the reader’s avatar in ‘Blood’ is still young and I’m not sure an Omen style evil child option (where the avatar can act from a very young age as though they were fundamentally damaged) is really appropriate for the narrative. But I do think there’s plenty of room for evil you can relate to and distinguishing that from evil a reader cannot relate to is sometimes going to be tough!

I don’t claim to be particularly good at seeing all the ways a person can approach a choice, but there are ways to try and understand the driving factors of making a choice one way or the other. So I’ve gathered a little inspiration – images and text about evil and other human choices, and I hope it will be one of the several things I develop in ‘The Aegis Saga – Blood’ today.


So with the help of some really amazing testers, my short story has been submitted to the comp.

I can return to Blood without fear of the chill ticking of that darned competition clock, and get back to the generous feedback I’ve neglected while I panicked about my submission : )

I’d like to thank @Silhuetta, @Snowpanther, @DarthDovahkin, @ProjectEkerTest33, @Terrell_Williams,@MadamVo and @Keira
Without their help I wouldn’t have got it finished in time.

I’d also like to thank @Lordirish and @Fiogan for doing such hard work putting together the 4th Annual Choicescript Competition. And I wish loads of luck to the amazing writers who submitted stories and supported one another throughout:

So, without further adieu, I’d like to say that I’ll be sharing the first illustration for ‘Blood’ with you all on Saturday – there’s a tiny preview in my new profile icon.

I’m also looking forward to getting the cover art from @defenestratin, which I hope I’ll get around the 11th of June (depending on Adrienne’s commitments) :grin:

‘Venom beneath the skin’

It’s now submitted! In a short month the judges will decide on the winners (there are a few categories in there).  The competition title is ‘poisonous intent’.

My story is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, but set within the fantasy world of Eris. It was written over 31 days and I hope to use it as a basis for a full length story.

It’s a comedic romance with a little action, told about two races and two lovers (potentially! The narrative is choice-driven, so that’s up to you!)

Would you like to hear about about new stories when they are released? (I will only ever email you after one of my releases)

I love interactive fiction and indie games and I hope this short story will help a few people get acquainted with me and possibly even get interested in my full length story ‘The Aegis Saga – Blood’.  Now the competition is drawing to a close, I’ll be getting back to preparing ‘Blood’ for release through Choice of Games’ Hosted Games label.

I hope you enjoy ‘Venom beneath the skin’ when its released, and please keep your fingers crossed for me in the competition.





Blood and games

“It’s a short story. Make it faster, with more action, and someone should die soon.”

Writing this short story to get my name out in the Choice of Games community may represent a bite too large to chew. When my last few days have been spent at Chelsea Flower Show, and with the counter to the end of the month remorselessly ticking down, it may be the wrong time to spend a couple of hours watching Spartans and Athenians massacring Persians at sea, and getting massacred in their turn.

But maybe not – when you’re being told to inject some action into your short story to captivate judges interest with blood and games. Let’s face it, the Choicescript Comp is not judged by just any standard reader, but by choicescript buffs, fan-fiction fanatics, and yes, even one or two people prepared to waste an evening watching the sequel to 300. . . People a bit like me.

Well my work is done for a few days at Chelsea. And it’s time to work some action and blood into my short game and get this thing finished. And maybe one day in the very distant future, enough people may have heard of Charles Parkes – amateur gardener and indie author – to buy an interactive story for 1 dollar 99 cents.

Maybe. . .

: )


Why do people write indie games?

Few people can think of something so thankless, financially unrewarding, and likely to end up on the indie scrapheap of broken images we leave behind us, as writing an indie game or interactive work of fiction.


For me indie games promote the one thing I value more than anything – choice – the ability to experience life the way you want to. Some do it through design, others do it through contributing to a much larger pool of experiences that give gamers today the ability to try anything.

“no one knows who you are and no one cares!”

Designer Sarah Woodrow writing in Gamasutra hits the nail on the proverbial – most indie developers are starting out from nothing.

Maybe they’re fans of the medium, or fans of a genre. Before I finally kicked the habit on video-gaming, my absolute favourite indie video game was The Long Dark. Just linking to it makes me salivate and want to dive back in to the heady world of sandbox survivalism.

But in the end, as with so many of my favourites, it just didn’t go far enough. I always want ‘more’ sandbox, and ‘more’ freedom. Enter choicescript. Here was a medium where a single author could seriously be capable of one-man-banding, developing an interactive indie text game or novel, and accessing true narrative freedom.

For their readers perhaps, that freedom was less realised, (all the potential before the words hit the e-paper is hard to translate into actual sandboxiness in an interactive novel). But it does explain why I think the medium of interactive literature has legs, despite the low, low, low financial rewards.

If you try out the amazing things that IF authors are experimenting with. . . if you can enjoy Teo Kuusela‘s Lords of Aswick and its barony mechanic, or Lucid‘s Life of a Wizard  you’ll see. Indie game and interactive story authors drool over their work’s potential. And good ones pass those potentialities on to the reader.



Two houses

I’m having a lot of fun trying to work Romeo & Juliet into a short story for the competition. 1st, it’s just bloody great, and I’m trying to use some of the language and poeticism where I can. 2nd it’s a joy to draw inspiration from a pre-existing text, because writing flows more freely and elements of the story seem so universally understood and identifiable with, that I think they actually could work – set amongst the characters living on the world in The Aegis Saga, Eris!

I’m setting up the Montagues and Capulets as the humans and the Arantians (a race of beings with the ability to  direct and control the pervasive magic on Eris). I’m hoping to write Chapter 2 of the short story today – because that deadline of the end of the month is getting closer by the day ; )

I’m biting my nails a bit over whether I’m going to get ‘Venom beneath the skin’ finished in time!