Thursday, December 27, 2012

Alana Abbott's Choice of Kung Fu and the Long Road to Regaining Home

A good friend of mine has some really cool stuff going on right now, and I wanted to take some space here to tell you about it, and about her.

Alana Abbott is an author of two published novels, a writer of short fiction and comics, a game designer, a wife, a mom and a friend. I think it was back in the spring of 2006 that I first crossed paths with Alana. She had been working with a company called White Silver Publishing on a new pen and paper roleplaying game called Chronicles of Ramlar. In addition to writing the material about the world the game was set in, Alana also wrote three novels (called the Redemption trilogy) set in the world she helped create. I interviewed her for the podcast, and we found that we didn’t live that far from one another.

In November of 2006, Secret Identity had a presence at a local sci-fi convention called United Fan Con, and Alana came to Springfield for the show to promote the first book in her Redemption trilogy, Into the Reach. A couple of months later, Alana and her husband came to AnonyCon, the great gaming convention run by Max Saltonstall. A few months later, Max, Alana and I were covering the launch of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition for Secret Identity at Dungeons & Dragons Expo in 2007. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ours is a friendship that has developed around our mutual love of gaming, and even though we don’t get to game together as much anymore, the friendship has remained strong. And don’t tell her this, but Alana was one of the primary inspirations for me to get serious about writing. Both Mo Stache and Courting the King in Yellow would never have seen the light of day had it not been for Alana. She’s always there to answer questions, bounce ideas off of and offer support.

So, now that I’ve blathered on about how great Alana is for 500-plus words, let me tell you about the cool things she has going on right now.

Choice of Kung Fu
Alana just released a text-based, “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style text-based game called Choice of Kung Fu for iOS, Android and the Chrome web browser. The game was created on the Choice of Games platform, which offers a great set of free tools for authors to create their own interactive stories. Here’s the synopsis for the game:

It's multiple-choice martial-arts action!

Become the greatest fighter the world has ever known, harnessing the power of chi to manipulate the energies of the universe. Defeat rivals, find romance, and rise to become the Imperial Champion. Win the right to question the immortal Dragon Sage, who speaks just once every hundred years! Choice of Kung Fu is a fast-paced interactive fantasy novel where your choices determine how the story proceeds. The game is entirely text-based--without graphics or sound effects--but powered by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You can head over to the game’s main page on Choice of Games for more info.

The Redemption Trilogy
Over the past six-plus years, Alana’s Redemption novels have had a very interesting journey. White Silver Publishing was originally supposed to release the trilogy, but the company ran into some problems, and the final book in the Redemption series, Regaining Home, was never published.

Recently, the rights to the trilogy reverted back to Alana, and the first two books, Into the Reach and Departure, are now available on Drive Thru RPG in PDF format. Best of all, they are currently on sale for $0.99!! And after you read Into the Reach, you can download the hour-long interview I did with her about the book over at Drive Thru Comics for free.

I cannot recommend these books highly enough. Sure, I’m biased, but if you’re looking for an adventure featuring deep characters in a rich fantasy world, you will fall in love with Into the Reach and Departure. As a fantasy fan, I grew up reading almost every Dragonlance novel I could get my hands on, and they are the standard I compare most books of that genre to. The way Alana hooked me into the story of her characters with Into the Reach reminded me of how Weis and Hickman drew me into Dragons of Autumn Twilight the first time I read it.

In even more exciting news, Alana recently announced an upcoming Kickstarter project to publish Regaining Home--that project will be kicking off sometime in 2013.

So, go support my pal Alana by checking out her game and her novels. You won’t be disappointed!

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