Well, here’s something I never thought I’d see. SBS has created an interactive documentary about the land of my people, the Butchulla, called K’gari.

What does K’gari mean?

Well, in the Butchulla language it means paradise. It’s the traditional name of the island known as Fraser Island. Before this piece done by SBS, I have to admit, I didn’t know the nitty gritty details of why it was called Fraser Island. I knew it was named because of a white woman, but I didn’t know the depth of the story that went along with it.

I had no idea the story had been so twisted by white panic, but I’m not surprised.

Clear 10 minutes out of your schedule to have a look at the presentation by SBS. Especially if you’ve got teenage kids who are just trying to get their heads around how to tell the difference between truth and untruth in a world where fake news (aka propaganda) is set to change the course of history.

Now for a personal tangent.

I didn’t know I was part of the Butchulla people until my great grandmother, one of the Butchulla elders, came to my primary school to talk about the dreamtime. She asked me “You’re Steven’s boy, aren’t you?” and back then I didn’t know my Dad. But I knew that was his name. She told me she was my grandmother, and the realisation hit me.

“If you’re aboriginal, then so am I!”

She told me that even though her skin was dark, and mine was white, we were still family. That was a bond that nothing could break.

I learned about my culture late, and I’m still learning every day.

Her name was Olga Miller, and along with her brother Wilf Reeves they wrote and illustrated the first Australian Aboriginal children’s book – The Legend of Moonie Jarl, which was originally published in 1964.

In 2014, it was reprinted for the 50th anniversary by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and I was lucky enough to get a copy.

I doubt anyone caught it, but in my Crematoria Online series, there’s an island-based seafaring race called the Kigarians, that hail from the Kigari Isles. I know that’s not how you pronounce K’gari, but it was my way of putting a little bit of my culture into my fictional world.

A small celebration, if you will.

New Release – Fallen Metropolis: Omnibus Edition

Fallen Metropolis: Omnibus Edition brings together three stories in the Galactic Waste universe in one package! It includes the full-length scifi horror novel Fallen Metropolis, its prequel novella The Fall of Metropolis Seven, and the short story The Traveler!

Remastered and ready to take over the galaxy, the Fallen Metropolis Omnibus is a relentless thrill ride that takes hold from the first page and doesn’t let go until the last.

Draco Goldwing and his crew of intrepid space marines detect a distress signal in unfriendly space. The Metropolis Seven, a long-vacationer starship on a ten-year cruise around the galaxy, is floating adrift in the crushing gravity of a binary star system. The 100,000 passengers and crew on board are set to roast unless Draco and the crew intervene.

The massive ship is as silent as a crypt. The ship has been taken over by something not seen before in the entire galaxy’s history. Something hungry.

Captain Goldwing leads a mission aboard the Metropolis Seven while the remaining crew members of the Icarus play babysitter with a psychotic madman who will stop at nothing to reclaim his freedom.

Find out more.

WTF is LitRPG?

Most of the time I can’t shut up about my books as I’m writing them. One of the most common questions I’ve gotten about my new book Rise of the Crimson Order: A Crematoria Online LitRPG Novel is this: “WTF is LitRPG?”

I hope this post will help clarify things.

Imagine for a second that you’re reading Lord of the Rings, and you’ve reached the part where Bilbo Baggins passes on the sword Sting to young Frodo Baggins, along with the Mithril shirt destined to stop Frodo from being skewered by a cave troll. Spoilers, sorry.

When Frodo receives these items, imagine getting to see the stats associated with the equipment, just like you would in a video game.

Bilbo handed Frodo a sword in a scabbard. To the big folk, the weapon was barely bigger than a dagger, but when Frodo held it, it felt like a mighty sword. Frodo drew the sword from its sheath. An ornate Elvish design wound up the side of the blade like a creeping vine.

As Frodo appraised this exotic weapon, an information panel appeared in front of him.

Weapon: Sting
12 damage (+8  DAM when attacking Orcs or Goblins)
Effect: Glows blue when Orcs or Goblins are within a 100 yard radius.
A wondrous weapon crafted by the Elves, well suited for Hobbits. Not so well suited for the big folk, unless they’re opening letters.

“I found that weapon in a troll hoard on my way to Rivendell, and it’s time I passed it on to you,” Bilbo said. Then he held up a glimmering silver shirt made of intricate interconnected rings. “This was gifted to me by Thorin Oakenshield. A mithril shirt of Dwarven make. Here, take it.”

Frodo took the glimmering shirt. The rings were so delicate that it felt like water flowing through his hands.

“Light as a feather,” Bilbo said. “But as hard as dragon scale!”

Mithril shirt
Race restriction: Hobbit
+50 Armor
Resists piercing and slashing attacks made by edged weapons.
This small mithril shirt is perfectly Hobbit sized. Made of the hardest substance in Middle-Earth by the Dwarves.

“Thank you,” Frodo said.

He equipped Sting and placed the Mithril shirt into his inventory as he joined Bilbo on a walk through the verdant streets of Rivendell.

If J.R.R. Tolkien had written Lord of the Rings as a LitRPG, it might have looked a little something like that.

So just what is LitRPG exactly?

First, let me explain the umbrella genre under which LitRPG falls: GameLit.

GameLit encompasses any literature in which the characters engage with a world shaped by game mechanics. The book that spawned the recent Ready Player One movie is one of the most popular examples of GameLit and uses one of the most popular vessels to do so; a virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Otherwise known as an MMORPG.

But GameLit novels don’t need to be set in a video game to be GameLit. Other GameLit novels, and by extension LitRPG novels, can use other types of game worlds controlled by game mechanics. Dungeons & Dragons inspired worlds are popular. If someone wrote a story from the perspective of a chess piece, it would technically be GameLit.

In my opinion, the difference between GameLit and LitRPG is simple, but distinct.

GameLit can get away with having light gamified elements. LitRPG cannot.

LitRPG requires the satisfying crunch of mechanics and character progression. Some readers like their LitRPGs super crunchy. The more stats and game mechanics the better! Others don’t. Just like the difference in crunch between McDonald’s french fries and a KFC chip, everyone has their own taste.

Everyone also has a different definition and tolerance level for what a LitRPG should be, and what separates it from GameLit. Try out a bunch of different LitRPG and GameLit novels and see what works for you! There’s hundreds of worlds worth of adventure to discover.

You can start with giving my novel Rise of the Crimson Order: A Crematoria Online LitRPG novel a try by downloading a sample from Amazon’s Kindle store.

NaNoWriMo Boot Camp

We’re approaching the end of October, and my skin seems to prickle with anticipation as I consider subjecting myself to another 30 days of literary abandon in the madhouse that is NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the aim is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That is roughly 1,667 words per day.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo almost every year since 2006, with various levels of commitment and success. My two published novels, Metro 7 and Carnifex, were both started during previous NaNoWriMos. Hopefully, you’ll find something in these tips and tricks to help you reach your lofty goal.Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Boot Camp”

Author Interview: Lee Murray

Today I’ve got something pretty special for you all – military horror author Lee Murray is here to talk about her new book Into the Sounds!Continue reading “Author Interview: Lee Murray”