Gate of Twilight: My original Light Novel

Remember how I said I couldn't really tell you much about the Light Novel I'm writing? Turns out I'm wrong. I can tell you quite a bit. First of all, it's called Gate of Twilight, and this is the title page:

Instead of some plot overview, why don't I just give you the foreword I wrote for it?

There's nothing new under the sun.

You've all heard that old adage, and you all know how true it is, especially in regard to fictional narrative. Since Harry Potter redefined the 'Young Adult' genre, each year has seen countless novels on teenagers with extraordinary powers living in secret worlds just next door to ours, or finding their place in a world with extraordinary dangers, or standing strong as the only defense against an overwhelming evil. Fantasy literature in general, it seems, has not changed since the days of Conan the barbarian and Bilbo the hobbit and only seen a few nuances in the definition of heroism, and whether it's even possible, as Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone reminds us. And as I write these lines, it looks as though the biggest hit in cinemas this year is going to be Star Wars. Part seven.

There's nothing new under the sun, really.

Except that's not true.

 While heroic fantasy in itself is a genre that thrives on cliche and stereotype, it still offers the opportunity for a writer to go beyond its boundaries, simply for the fact that it does thrive on cliche and stereotype, and that nothing in the world is easier than to surprise readers by playing with their expectations, and then breaking them. This is how Game of Thrones revolutionized the genre: by setting up a fantasy world, and then allowing real-world medieval politics to kick its butt. What makes it so enthralling is the simple fact we all know the things happening in the war between Wolf, Stag, Lion and Dragon could be real, because that's how people are, that's how war is, that's what politics often mean.

The Gate of Twilight series, the very beginning of which lies before your eyes at this very moment, is going to surprise you. It's going to be something new standing on the shoulders of something very old. It's classic heroic fantasy, the kind of plot you've grown to like if you're a fan of the genre, but at the same time, it's something very different. It's set around a central conflict that, unlike Sauron's search for the One Ring, only a handful of people all throughout the world know it even exists. It's about young people with extraordinary abilities destined to be heroes – with most others around them aware that they are – yet the journeys they undertake may not have the outcome they, or anybody else, expected.

If the Gate of Twilight series has a theme, it's Don't Be Afraid Of The Danger You Can See, Be Afraid Of What You Cannot See.

You'll see what I mean with that once you're done reading.

Have fun!


Play Romance is Dead online!

Yup, it's true! You can now play Romance is Dead online for free - on Sandbox Adventure, a site that converts Ren'Py games into browser-based games.

And that's all for today.


The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Proof to follow.


It looks as though I'm really not the most diligent person when it comes to keeping a blog updated, especially when there's so little news to actually spread. Some people (storycade.com, I'm looking at you) even said that I have gone "mysteriously silent" in 2014. Truth is, I have been a little silent here, but there's not much mysterious about it.

The reason for my silence is mostly that the projects I've been working on since early 2015 have either been delayed, or they were not exceptionally noteworthy. The most noteworthy thing to report is the Bad Blood DLC for Seasons of the Wolf, a continuation of the story of Althea and Shea in Winter Wolves' Loren fantasy RPG setting. Any and all of the following elements may appear in said DLC:

Aside from that, I've been working at a classic Japanese-teen-themed VN with strong supernatural elements - that's the project that's unfortunately been delayed until 2017. I would love to tell you more, but I'd rather keep this to myself for now until production continues.

I've also started writing a Light Novel for a young publisher who approached me with a neat story idea. It's very much classic high fantasy with a twist. Book 1 is complete, and as soon as it's published, I'll be sure to mention it here too. But until that happens, again, I'll keep the silence.

So here's the one thing I'm not keeping quiet about:
This is The Photographer, my contribution to NaNoRenO 2016. It's a collaboration with mikey of ATP Projects fame - you may remember me recommending his still fantastic Ori, Ochi, Onoe to you in this blog. He had a ton of pictures taken in Venice and wanted to make something of it, and I had the idea of using them as a story about a relationship on the brink of collapse. So I wrote it, mikey put it into VN form, and the end result is what you see here.

Well, and that's already all there is to tell at the moment.

Oh, and one more thing.

I'm currently working for Unwonted Studios, writing the script for their latest cyberpunk-themed VN. More as soon as I'm allowed to say more.

Taleweaver out.



Gotcha! Thought I had abandoned this blog a year ago, didn't ya? Well, turns out I haven't. I just had very little time (okay, and motivation) to update, especially since there wasn't much new to report.

Well, now there is, and before I get into all the things that didn't work out this year, here's one thing that did work out:

This, my friends, is Seasons of the Wolf, produced and published by Winter Wolves,written by yours truly. It's an RPG/VN hybrid and essentially my take on the monomyth, or Hero's Journey, if you know that name better.

So what is it about?

Let's hear it from Winter Wolves themselves:
"In this role-playing game, set in the same fantasy world as the award-winning Loren the Amazon princess, you'll play as Shea or Althea, twins from the far-away village Ninim. In just the course of one year, you will experience many storylines and sidequests; situations and events where your own choices influence the very end of the game."

Ah yes. Well, what that text doesn't mention is that it's also about a whole lot of hot baths.

Well, taking hot baths and going on adventures inbetween, at least.

In any case, it's a really expansive game, easily 15-20 hours of playtime for a playthrough with all the side quests - oh, and you won't be able to see everything in a single session. The thing is, you choose which of the twins' roles you play, and each of them has their own sidestory in the form of romantic interests you may or may not pursue. As usual in Winter Wolves games, it's up to you which gender you play as and which sexual orientation you wish to follow - none of the twins is superior to the other and everything's possible.

Eventually, you'll have a party of eight people to romance and go on adventure with, and you go on an epic journey that leads you...

Oh, heck, why not let Jariel tell you all that?

Tales of Aravorn: Seasons of the Wolf. Now available.


What time is it? AdventureX Time!

No, not a typo, just a note that AdventureX 2014 is coming up!

AdventureX is the point-and-click-adventure expo, hosted in the University of East Anglia, London, UK, usually in early December. This year, it's December 7th / 8th - and I'm going to be there! Together with the guys who were Skybound Studios and are now Everture Studios, Ltd. And we're going to bring a whole lotta monkeys with us. No, seriously!

So if you're in or near London on the upcoming weekend, why not visit us?


My readers aren't dead, either

If you're following this blog, you already know that I'm terrible at updating regularly. That's mostly because I think anything that's not really news doesn't deserve a blog entry. However, something unusual has happened: Someone has written a review for Romance is Dead, my most recent title. And I'd like to share the thoughts of the one who calls him/herself "Pir8Heart". Avast, matey!

Not necessarily in any sort of format, but here I go~!

Maddie - Nnn, I didn't really feel that there was too much going on with her, and I also feel the bit about her damaged sense of smell plays into Adam's path a bit too cleanly, but I felt her personality was in the right place. Leaning a bit towards being a static heroine who simply reacts, but her overall demeanor and love for science earns her points in my book. ^3^

Ordering the guys from most favourite to not-so-most favourite; Maurice, Adam, Don. Does not mean I hated any of them. Also MaddiexAdam was my favourite couple, despite the thing about Maddie owning Adam's physical heart.

Maurice - My second path choice. I got two of his ends, the one with the text error (I still haven't downloaded the update.) and Voodoo Queen. I was already curious about him during my initial run, but the latter end's path definitely sealed him as my favourite character. His entire backstory was colourful enough to keep me hooked, and I felt I could really relate to his distinct pursuit of something he was passionate about (Well, minus the vampire immortality). Plus I found his entire personality and get-up really fun. x3
Adam - My third path choice. I've only gotten his Wanderer end. I found his out-of-place style and rhyming tendency real endearing throughout my entire readthrough thus far. I suppose my main problem is that I felt his final scene was too short. Mind you, it got across a great message, and adding needless drama would ruin the feel of the Maddie/Adam dynamic, but it still feels subjectively short to me, and there's not really much I can do about that. Despite this, deep down I feel that I enjoyed Wanderer more than Voodoo Queen since it was less of a stretch. But I did enjoy their overall relationship, especially the church scene. The thing about him being LSU's anatomical dummy was pretty depressing, but but it also feels a bit outlandish that LSU would use a corpse as an anatomical dummy. Do none of the students know about that? ^_^ Oh, and I totally picked up on the 1950's foreshadowing for Adam's path about 10 minutes in. x3
Don - My first readthrough was mainly me going by my gut feelings. When that landed me Maurice's bad end, I immediately undid the appropriate choice and found that I could only achieve Don's [best?] end. Overall, he came off as quite adorkable for some reason, and his way of helping out Maddie others struck a chord in me. Overall, his good end felt somewhat... anti-climactic. Like, at first I didn't really believe the resolution would be that simple. And although I wanted more of dem sappy feelz I really wouldn't have expected that sorta' thing from you. :< But either way, it made the brief afterstory feel like a bit of a stretch. 
Bernard - lolwut

As for the story itself, the subject matter and the setting at hand made for an interesting and unusual take on paranormal-type stories, and the use of rich history really earns some points with me. Now, the last (and 3rd) work I've read from you is ADRIFT, and in contrast the actual variety between the routes. Apart from not being too elaborate, I don't really have any major problems.

Aesthetics. The sprites themselves really fit the atmosphere; if I had to name one in particular, Maddie's sprite when she's really startled is hilarious, probably because of its lack of major shading. xD The font clashed very nicely with the textbox, though I'm a bit iffy about the name-header. The menu is also pretty stylish, and it sorta' reminds me of a film strip for some odd reason. x3

Err, rating this... ... maybe... 7.5/10 for a Ren'Py project. I can't say there's anything that particularly reached out to me. Reading back on what I've typed, perhaps Maurice and Don's good ends could be considered a bit of a stretch; Don's relationship with Maddie and the entire premise of Voodoo Queen's afterstory (though it was so hilarious I just had to let it slide XD). Despite this, all of the elements above sync really well for Romance is Dead, making it a stylish and memorable read.


I'm not dead. But Romance is.

Has it really been over half a year since I last updated this blog? Holy procrastination, Batman! People must have been thinking I was dead - which I fortunately am not. However, my latest project is... well, very much alive, but its name is

Romance is Dead is a short, slightly macabre and very cute story about... well, life, death and everything in between these two. It takes place in the city of New Orleans, one late October, disturbingly close to Halloween, when, as everybody knows, things tend to happen that somehow breach the boundary between this world and the next. Thus, the title screen displays a graveyard.

Protagonist of the tale is Madelaine "Maddie" Washington, student of biology at UNO (that's University of New Orleans, not United Nations). Biology is the science of all living things, and Maddie's life currently strongly focuses on studying that subject. Unfortunately, her love life isn't exactly up to snuff, so to speak, and Maddie has been going through quite a few unsatisfying relationships in the past, with her most recent breaking up only a few weeks ago. Because of that, her opinion of such relationships can be summed up quite handily:

Of course, there wouldn't be much of a story if Maddie's views on that didn't get shaken over the course of it, and responsible for these tremors are a few very unusual people. The first of them is Adam:

Adam looks a little like James Dean in his prime, and his behavior and speech only add to that picture. He claims to feel inexplicably attracted to Maddie, which is one of the stranger pickup lines she has heard - especially since Adam doesn't seem to really want to pick her up. Or... does he want to, and it's just a very clever act?

Then there's Maurice:

Maurice has all the glamour and poise of a French aristocrat, including the natural charm. He seems to believe that Maddie has a secret she doesn't wish to share but that he is very interested in unraveling. And aside from that, he may also have another interest in Maddie...

Finally, there's Don:

Don is one of Maddie's fellow students, a genuinely nice young gentleman who treats her with the utmost respect. He studies engineering and would be the most normal, unassuming of the three people Maddie meets if he didn't have... well, a lack of physical presence in general and a lack of lower body in particular. And an interesting history to go with that.

All characters were designed and drawn by the incredibly talented and fast Card-Queen of the Lemmasoft Forums.

I usually don't make a lot of fuss about the user interface, but this time, my UI artist Luce Jumble really outdid herself. I mean, even our settings screen looks amazing! Have you ever seen a so tastefully macabre settings screen such as this?

With such beauty for the eyes and a wonderfully morbid dark jazz soundtrack, Romance is Dead may not be my longest or my best work yet but certainly my most stylish. Download it here - as with most of my works, it's free!