New series, mailing list, and covers!

Good afternoon everyone! It’s been quite some time since I had any news about my writing, but today I’ve got a boatload.

Chrysalis Blooms

So, my new series, Chrysalis Blooms, is launching on October 30th and the pre order is live now, US link, UK link. This is the first episode in a 10 part season of my supernatural adventure and episodes will be launching every 2-4 weeks! It’s been great fun plotting and writing so I hope you all enjoy it when it lands at the end of the month. Check out the blurb for the first episode below:

When Lisa Joyce sneaks out, it isn’t a boy or her friends she goes to meet, but nightmares brought to life… 


In a world where monsters and demons roam the night, preying on the innocent, it is Lisa’s duty to fight the darkness. The responsibility was inherited, but even so, she can’t begin to comprehend the magnitude of the life that lies before her. 

As an outsider who never quite fits in, Lisa is different. She is stronger and faster than everyone else, and her heightened senses grant her unusual abilities. They are the perfect gifts for a monster hunter, but nothing but a curse for a girl trying to find her place in high school. 

When a fiend strikes Fisher Creek High, Lisa can’t help but take it personally. Things are changing, her battles evolving at an alarming rate. Something is coming, but in order to understand, Lisa needs to learn more about who and what she is… 

Mailing List

Also, my mailing list is now live, so if you want to stay up to date with my writing and latest news then feel free to subscribe: Subscribe

Cover Collection

Finally, I’ve been working on the covers for the first 10 episodes of Chrysalis Blooms, and you can find them all in the gallery. Let me know what you think!

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Second Chance Available Today

Morning all! Well today is the launch day for my short story Second Chance. It was originally a nanowrimo project that I’ve worked on and takes a different path to my normal writing, focusing on a supernatural romance genre. The blurb is below and if you like the sound of it then give it a read.

After her near death experience, Hannah’s life will never be the same. She is the only one who can see James, the man who saved her from certain death with his own life. 

Unsure if she is losing her mind, Hannah sets out with James to discover the truth, seeking to understand why he hasn’t moved on. However, something is coming for him, or so they think. 

In what soon becomes a race against time, Hannah finds herself desperately searching for a way to help James, reluctantly falling for him with each passing day, even though she knows it can never be… 

Grab it at:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MX7O3L0

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MX7O3L0

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The Remaining: Aftermath Review

Book Title: The Remaining: Aftermath

Author: D. J. Molles

Introduction

After reading the first book in the series I was pretty much hooked, desperately needing to crack on with the next book. As soon as I finished with the first, I downloaded Aftermath onto my Kindle and got reading, enjoying the changes that have been made in the second book.

Style

The style is very similar to the first book, descriptive and following the point of view of our main character, Captain Lee Harden. What I really enjoyed about the second book is that it covers a wider group of characters and really begins to flesh out the world while keeping the suspense and fantastic story telling alive from the first.

Characters

I briefly touched on this above, but there are a lot more characters in the second book, rather than having a singular focus on just one and a few extras. I felt that this really helped to develop the story with the addition of some interesting secondary characters. In the second book we now have a villain, a whole new group of survivors and a fantastic post apocalyptic world for them to explore.

The one thing that I did find disappointing about some of the characters was that there were some clear ‘going to die’ ones, the same as you get in a horror movie, their only purpose is being hollow and getting eaten by the monsters. They are few and far between, but when they show up they remain true to their genre.

Plot

So the last book ends with Captain Lee Harden discovering Camp Ryder and the next has him setting off on a journey with a small group to prove he can be trusted. Th plot is simple but effective, developing as the characters set off on their journey. What I really enjoyed is that Captain Lee Harden is now exploring an established area of survivors, figuring things out as he goes. The introduction of our villain, Milo, also really helps to mix things up a bit.

Conclusion

All in all this is a good book. I enjoyed it, not as much as the first, but still more than most novels of this genre. If you’ve read the first, then you wont be disappointed by what Aftermath has to offer, so check it out and see for yourself!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Well I’ve just joined up to participate in this years Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll be working on a separate project, Second Chance, leaving A Thousand Hearts to its usual schedule. This is the first time I’ve done anything related to NaNoWriMo and I’m looking forward to it.

So a little bit about Second Chance. It’s a slightly different type of book to what I’ve been writing previously, focusing on the romance storyline more than the adventure. The basics are that a guy saves a girl, the guy dies in the process, but his spirit is left behind. I’m looking forward to writing it, and hopefully the end result will be as interesting as what’s in my head right now.

Goodreads giveaway

Thought I would experiment on Goodreads so I’ve put an autographed copy of A Thousand Hearts up for grabs! Not sure what sort of demand to expect but thought it could be a fun idea. If you have a Goodreads account then check it out, who knows, you could be the winner!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Rebirth by Shaun Dowdall

Rebirth

by Shaun Dowdall

Giveaway ends May 26, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

A Thousand Hearts Competition

With a recent little push from Amazon, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, has begun climbing in sales once again. So I decided to support Amazon’s efforts by running a promotion/competition myself. The more shares, and visibility we can get the better!

For anyone who shares or helps spread the word your name will be entered into a prize draw. The winner in the UK will receive a signed copy of my book, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, and the winner outside of the UK will win a free copy in eBook format.

I’ll be running this campaign over the weekend, drawing it to a close and announcing the winners on Monday 19th. So to be in with a chance to win, just share, reblog or repost this message and let’s get as much interaction as possible.

Thank you so far to everyone who has supported my first book launch, this weekend I’m really driving to get the book into the top sellers league!

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JOPR68G
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JOPR68G
Paperback – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebirth-1-A-Thousand-Hearts/dp/1497411483/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400138623&sr=8-1&keywords=shaun+dowdall

Progress so far

Well it’s almost been a month of being published and so far so good! Feedback from the book is great, glad everyone who has read it has been enjoying my story so far.

A Thousand Hearts broke into the top 10k selling books, not sure if that’s a great achievement in terms of sales but I’m pretty happy considering the huge number of books selling out there.

Onto the second book in the series, Fallen. I’m 10% of the way through the first draft so I’m on schedule so it shouldn’t be too long until the book is ready for my beta readers. Everything is on track to have the second book ready to be published this year so fingers crossed nothing huge comes up and interrupts the writing process, it has been known to happen to me in the past 😛

As always, if you haven’t checked out my first book yet, take a peek at the following links!

Thanks for reading.

Second Book

The plan for the second book in the ‘A Thousand Hearts’ series is complete. Writing will begin today and my schedule is jam packed with time planned for writing this book so expect a faster turn around! The title for the second book is ‘Fallen’, focusing on a new era for the Guild and it’s members.

As always I’ll keep updating you on the progress of the book but for now here is a little teaser image!

Rebirth – Where to buy

So my first novel has been out for a little while and it is beginning to hit new store shelves, both virtual and physical so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of where you can pick up my book!

eBook Format

Amazon USUK
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
Apple iBooks
Google Play

Paperback

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

South Park The Stick Of Truth Review

Introduction

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve followed news of this game for some time, wondering if it would turn out to be a disaster like so many game adaptations of popular franchises before. I saw the previews, they all said great things and my hopes were high, but I was still concerned. Launch day came and I took the plunge, loading up the game, my nerves getting the better of me as I worried about my disappointment that I knew would surely hit.

So the question is, did the game meet my expectations? The answer is no, it blew them away. I quite honestly never expected a game of this quality. It’s just a must play for anyone, regardless if you’re a fan of South Park or not. It’s clever, hilarious and above all it plays well.

Gameplay

I don’t really know how to describe it, a side scroller, RPG with combat the resembles something from old school Final Fantasy titles. You create your character, the new kid, and embark on your journey into South Park. Your aim throughout the game is to make as many friends as possible, unlocking new abilities and levelling up as you do. You’ll find yourself in all sorts of crazy situations, exactly what you’d expect from South Park.

The combat works amazingly well. It’s simple, like I said above, working like an old Final Fantasy title but with a little more interaction. You take turns in deciding what attacks or special moves you want to use, and have to try to deflect your enemies attacks. There are a whole host of special abilities available for you to unlock and you get to select your partner to battle along side of you, all of whom have different abilities that will help to mix your battles up.

Selecting your equipment and choosing your skills is actually pretty good in South Park The Stick of Truth. I was expecting extremely weak levelling, but to be honest your skill set and load out can make all the difference in your battles. My favourite weapon was a broken bottle, you get to throw them at your enemy, grossing them out and causing them to bleed every turn. It’s random, fun and adds to the combat.

Graphics

I can’t really say much about the graphics, the game looks and plays just like an episode of South Park. There are no fancy attempts to make it anything other than a long, interactive episode of the series fans have come to know and love. The fact that it feels and looks exactly like the show only adds to the hilarity.

What I liked

The attention to detail really makes this game stand out. There are so many little things that hold the entire experience together. Sound effects are obviously based on Skyrim and fit into the game so well, creating an absolutely amazing satire of the popular game franchise. Skill sets, weapons, abilities, it’s all a twisted version of games we’ve played before, and that just makes it all so much more amusing.

South Park is absolutely hilarious, but all of these little extra touches add to the entire experience. They are clever and very well thought out, turning this into a pretty good gaming experience that will keep you laughing all the way through.

What I disliked

To be honest there is nothing that I disliked about this game. The total experience was fantastic and I can’t really fault it at all!

Conclusion

For anyone who likes South Park, or is just up for a laugh, this is the game for you. From start to finish I was in stitches. It’s such a clever game, with absolutely absurd stories and quests, exactly what you’d expect from the creators of South Park. Above all the game plays well and is enjoyable. It’s not just a load of gimmicks thrown into a poor excuse for a game, it’s well thought out and designed exceptionally well.

I cannot fault the game. It really is a must have.



Elder Scrolls Online Review Part One

Introduction

So The Elder Scrolls Online is finally live and kicking. I played through the beta and enjoyed what I saw so decided to dive in and see what the finished product looked like. To be honest it’s a mixed bag, and despite thoroughly enjoying myself so far I still can’t decide if it’s good or not.

It is by no means a bad game, in fact I’m loving it, but what makes it difficult to call is the fact that this is an Elder Scrolls game. How well does it really blend in its new genre?

Gameplay

So the game plays just like you’d expect, an Elder Scrolls like experience in an MMO setting. My preferred play style was first person, it’s how I like to play anything from the Elder Scrolls franchise. Combined with the gorgeous visuals and combat that works pretty well considering this is an MMO, the first person play style works extremely nicely.

Where it falls short however is when the MMO of the game creeps in, special moves that appear as if from nowhere and awful knock-back and cool down effects. My character gets stunned by a special move and from my perspective just looks like he’s stood there doing absolutely nothing, leading me to wonder if the game has crashed. It hasn’t it’s just a typical MMO feature that just doesn’t seem to fit with first person. I use one of my abilities, a magical spear jab, and randomly a golden spear appears in my view, stabbing at the enemy. I’m not holding it, or wielding it, it’s just there. Again another MMO style that just doesn’t seem to fit and ruins the experience.

These aren’t game breaking, in fact they are easily over looked considering how enjoyable the combat can be. The issue is they are stark reminders that we are playing an MMO and that these two game styles have somehow been forced together.

Now back to what’s good about combat. It feels pretty satisfying, your attacks actually making an impact on your enemy. You can dodge attacks, block and counter. Anyone who has played Skyrim will feel immediately at home with the combat.

Crafting

One thing that I’ve really enjoyed in the game is it’s crafting system. There is no need to decide on a profession or craft, you can literally collect and harvest any resources from the world and craft what you like, levelling your crafting abilities as you go. In your character progression tree you can select crafting abilities to assign your skills to, so it does make sense to go with a single craft that you will be using more than the others. However you can continue working in other areas.

I’ve gone with blacksmithing as my main crafting skill. As I wonder the world I discover resource nodes, and can mine these without having to carry any mining equipment with me. When I return to town I can visit the different crafting areas or shops, and put my resources to good use. The majority of my equipment I have equipped has been crafted by myself, and I also carry an assortment of potions I’ve created. It’s pretty good fun putting together a self sufficient character.

The crafting also gives another reason to go exploring. Crafting potions requires the player to collect different ingredients from plants and animals from around the world. You can consume the raw ingredients to find out some of their effects or you can just try random chance when throwing together a potion. It’s pretty interesting discovering what the different ingredients are capable of creating, giving the player an incentive to go off seeking out these ingredients.

Exploration

One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about the Elder Scrolls Online is the exploration. The world is extremely detailed, with loads to see and do. Just taking a long walk, looking for new things to do is great fun. I’ve discovered all sorts of random quests while I’ve been out looking for new ingredients and exploring the world.

The landscapes are varied which really helps to keep things interesting. I’ve seen sprawling deserts, fiery mountains, ancient ruins, forests, all sorts! Just going off to see what new stuff I can find is great, and I have the freedom to do that right from the start. I’m not limited to following a defined path, I can choose my destination and set out to it.

Quests

Now it would be foolish of me not to talk about the quests. The developers have done a fantastic job of keeping things interesting in the Elder Scrolls Online, offering players intriguing and fun adventures to embark upon. Now I’m not going to lie, you will encounter fetch quests, or kill so many of these quests, but the majority of the quests I’ve completed so far have been long and interesting, following the usual Elder Scrolls style rather than an MMO style.

My only major issue with the quests are the other players. It becomes extremely jarring when you are tasked with a quest to save the city from invaders, the only hope the city has, and you see so many others completing the exact same quest as you. Delving into an ancient tomb, long abandoned… filled with other players, once again ruining the immersion. Sometimes it works great, seeing others involved in a battle that you’re fighting, but so many times it just breaks the experience.

For the most part questing in the Elder Scrolls Online is just fantastic, unlike any MMO I’ve played in a long time. The ability just to run off in any chosen direction and discover new quests to complete is a welcome one. You’re not pushed in a single direction, you have your own freedom to do things how you like.

Graphics

The art style and the graphics of this game are simply gorgeous. The detail that the developers have put into this game is just brilliant, combined with the huge number of environments it just makes this game a joy to explore and be a part of.

My only disappointment with the graphics is that the weapons seem to be relatively low resolution in comparison with the rest of the game. Now considering that I have to spend a lot of time with my weapon drawn, right in front of my eyes, I’d have liked to have seen some more focus on making the weapons look great.

Stand Out Feature

It’s too soon to call this. From what I’ve played of the game there are a lot of stand out features, stuff that I’ve really loved. In my next review I’ll focus on the later stages of the game play, PVP and PVE, shedding more light on how battles work. I’ve heard and seen some great things about this but had little input so far. So look out for my second part to the Elder Scrolls Online review. All I can say about this game so far is that for an MMO it is just simply amazing. I’ve not had this much fun in a very long time on an MMO. Fingers crossed it can keep up that momentum into the later stages.

 

 

Today is launch day!

Well it’s been a long time coming but it is finally here! My first book, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth is available to purchase today! You can find it available on Amazon Kindle and in physical copy to order. The book will soon be available on most other eBook platforms too.

Here are the Amazon links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JOPR68G?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JOPR68G

Thank you to everyone for your patience and putting up with my constant ranting about my book. It’s been a while and I really hope you all enjoy the start of this journey and stick with me to see it through to the end.

Some special mentions, in true cheesy style:

Cynthia Shepp, thanks for being such a fantastic editor with the patience of a saint.

Rene Folsom, thank you for the cover art, it looks amazing!

Rosie Munroe, thanks for sticking around and bringing my characters to life, they are looking better than ever.

Katie Amzid, thanks for tackling my book in its rawest form and giving me the feedback I needed to evolve it.

Maureen Cutajar, thanks for the formatting, the final thing looks amazing.

Sarah Dowdall, last, and by no means least, thanks for putting up with my late night writing, my random silent periods of staring at my laptop screen. Thanks for being there through this process.

Now everyone, stop reading this and go out there and read A Thousand Hearts! Thanks everyone! Enjoy!

ATH Poster

Hey all!

With the launch of my first book quickly approaching I’ve created a little bit of marketing to hype it up a bit. This is the first bit before the wave that should be hitting within the next week.

Exciting times!

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WWDC Confirmed by Apple

Apple has confirmed that this years WWDC will take place from the 2nd to the 6h of June. I’m sure we will see all the latest from iOS and OS X. It will be interesting to see how closely Apple joins the two operating systems, which have gotten progressively similar year after year.

What are you most excited to see from Apple?



Amazon TV Fire

The new Amazon TV Fire is an intriguing bit of kit. It’s a set top box, but a pretty powerful one, one that represents Amazons first step into gaming.

Alongside the TV Fire, Amazon also announced a controller to go along side their device, and also a new in house games development studio. They’ve had some top talent from within the gaming industry joining their team and this could spell the start of something very interesting.

For me it’s not the media capabilities that interest me, but the fact that a large brand such as Amazon has put their money behind a product that will act as a mini Android gaming console. The media stuff has been done before, and in fairness so has the gaming, but with the resources Amazon have available this could be the beginning of something very interesting.

Release Due

Well, I must admit, that in all the mayhem leading up to the book launch I forgot to actually announce it! My first novel, A Thousand Hearts – Rebirth, will be landing on virtual shelves within the next two weeks. I’m very excited and can’t wait to get this book out there.

Hopefully I’ve learnt a few things, following a number of different processes and gaining new experiences. I may have even learnt a few things about how to actually write thanks to a very, very, patient editor.

So thanks for everyone’s patience so far. Not long now.


4K VS AR

So with 4K becoming more readily available and some of the major players announcing their augmented reality projects, which one is going to be the next big thing in gaming? It reminds me of the choice I had to make when I built my gaming rig a couple of years ago, do I go with an ultra high resolution monitor or to I go with a 3D ready monitor? In the end I went with high resolution, brushing 3D aside, feeling it was a bit of a gimmick.

So is augmented reality just another gimmick? I guess it depends how well it is pulled off. From reports and reviews of devices currently being tested things are looking fantastic. What we really need however is for developers to support it in a big way. I don’t want to strap a device to my face only to have it used as an extension of what’s going on in the game, I want to feel as though that’s really what I’m seeing, that I’m really immersed in this world.

The easy option is 4K, boosting graphics and giving us some fantastic looking games. It’s easy just to sit in front of a 4K device and start gaming, no need to strap anything to your face or indulge in new control systems. It makes sense, it’s easy, but it’s boring.

Augmented reality is the first bit of technology in quite some time that has me genuinely excited. I can’t wait to see the results, and with major players entering the market competition is going to hot up in a big way and hopefully with that additional accessories will flood the market, making controls more realistic and immersive.

So what’s everyones thoughts? Which will end up taking off and which will flop? Or maybe both will flop, maybe both will succeed? Who will win in this 4K VS AR war?



A Thousand Hearts – Michael and Katerine

Another little doodle I did of Michael Nolan and Katerine Lesigne from A Thousand Hearts. Had some great fun playing with this on my Galaxy Note. Not long now until the book is out! Just a couple of weeks.

The book is now being formatted to fit ebooks and also print. Once I’ve got the completed files back it won’t take me long to get the book out. The wait is almost over.



Android Wear

Well with the revelation of Android Wear things in the wearable department just got a whole lot meatier! It’s great to see that wearables will soon sport properly developed OS’s to work with our small devices rather than what we have at the moment.

What really caught my eye was Motorola’s new watch, the Moto 360. It looks smart, sleek, and above all like a watch. I can’t wait to see the flood of new wearables that will soon be hitting the market. There have been a fair few manufactures jumping onboard this announcement, proclaiming their intent to bring wearable tech to the market.

For a long time now we’ve been forced to wear clunky devices, that feel more like test products than anything else, if we have wanted to dive into the world of wearable tech. With Google’s latest announcement, a sort of Nexus platform for wearables, things look like they will soon be changing.