“Welcome to Moreytown” is out

IMG_1758The game is out and you can get it here. For a limited time you can get it at a discount, only $2.99.

Claw your way to the top of Moreytown, a furry slum for human-animal hybrids. Will you take down the gangs who rule the town, or take them over instead?

CoG Update

fireworks-1759_960_720The first draft of Welcome to Moreytown is done!


After a few more run-throughs I should be handing it off to Choice Of Games by the end of the week. The bad news, for those of you itching to play this thing, is that we still have rounds of editorial comment to go through. Then, unlike my other fiction, there will be the beta testing and more comments. So don’t expect this to be available on iTunes for another six to eight months, at least.

As I mentioned in my last update, writing this thing resulted in a cascade of complexity at the end, resulting in a distinct 28(!) separate paths into the Epilogue. And that may be understating things because there are a few end states that overlap into the same entry point.

CoG Update

I’m in the home stretch

Here’s an update for those of you interested in my Choice of Games project. The first draft of Welcome to Moreytown is almost complete. I am working on the final chapters now, and I plan to turn it in to them before the end of the year, assuming the Christmas holiday is more forgiving of my time than the Thanksgiving one was.

An interesting, if predictable, wrinkle is that the closer I get to the climax, the more complex the writing becomes. I don’t even know exactly how many parallel paths the PC can be on in the penultimate chapter, but there are a lot of them. Enough that this chapter alone may weigh in at around 20K words.

However, we seem to be on track to see this game available some time in 2017.

Choice of Games update

My effort on the “Welcome to Moreytown” game proceeds apace. I am currently finishing up chapter seven of twelve, and hope to have eight completed by the end of the month.  Entirely coincidentally, a member of my writing workshop had her game critiqued, which prompted a discussion with yet another member  of the group who teaches game design… (As an aside; is it me, or is there much more overlap between the gaming and SF communities nowadays than there was five or ten years ago?)

Anyway, that discussion brought home what a different mode of writing this actually is, and not just because of the amount of coding that is involved.  It’s almost the inverse of script-writing.  With a script, as a writer, you must leave stuff out.  A lot of stuff.  As a novelist, it can feel like most of the stuff.  Most of the visuals, costuming, stage business, all relies on other people.  That’s why scripts are so lean vs. prose, a feature film script can run about 100 pages, and if there’s more than a couple hundred words a page it’s probably too dense.

With this type of gaming script, you end up writing a lot more than you would with comparable prose.  Code aside, it’s possible for a player to go through the entire thing and only read about half of what you’ve written.  Also, given the permutations, it will be a very rare pair of players who end up reading the exact same portions of it.

Also, what a computer can do, opposed to the old choose-your-own-adventure games, is allow choices that change narrative elements other than the story’s plot progression.  An obvious example, if you play one of Choice of Games’ free sample games, is the swapping of gender.  In the “Choice of Broadsides” game, your gender selection affects the entire navy. But there are other interesting things you can do.  An example from the WiP “Welcome to Moreytown,” is the choice of PC species comes with choosing a primary sense (vision, hearing, smell) that doesn’t do a lot to affect the story, but changes the descriptions of various scenes throughout the game.  Another example, the PC meets an NPC and the player chooses how they see that NPC: irritating, ridiculous, creepy or interesting.  the encounter proceeds roughly the same way for each choice, but the descriptions provided to the PC differ according to that first impression, and it colors every time that NPC is refrenced or encountered through the game.

Needless to say, a much different experience.


And this makes me happy.

If you follow me at all, you know I’ve been at this for quite a while now. I’ve written about my first novel, Forests of the Night a couple of times now, but in both cases I talk more about the story than how it was published.  Back in the early nineties I was still in my twenties and still in college.  Instead of a brag shelf, I had a bulletin board covered with rejection slips.  (Do people still do that?)  I had written one execrable fantasy novel that was 120,000 words of learning experience, which, to my credit, I knew was unsalvageable.  Forests was different though.  It was the first writing I’d ever workshopped, and while I received a lot of criticism, I got enough feedback to produce something I thought was publishable.  As one did in days of yore, I sent queries to many, many literary agents. And, upon finding representation, my new agent, Jane Butler (who retired some time ago now) sent Forests off to Sheila Gilbert at DAW.

In 1992, Sheila bought my first novel about an anthropomorphic tiger detective and started my career as a novelist.  I’ve been working with her ever since.  For nearly a quarter century and 23 subsequent novels she has worked with me and supported even some of my more insane story ideas.  Her late husband contributed the map of the planet Bakunin in the front of the Hostile Takeover books.  In addition to giving me editorial notes on my books, she’s asked for input on cover ideas, and some of the suggestions she’s accepted have resulted in some of my favorite cover art. Perhaps most important for my career, and my fans, she’s kept most of those 23 novels in print, including that first one with the anthropomorphic tiger detective. For paperback original genre fiction, that’s not just rare, it’s practically unheard of.

This past weekend, at Worldcon, Sheila got the kind of recognition she deserves. As much as she’s supported me, and all her other authors, it’s gratifying to see the SF community supporting her with a well deserved (and overdue) Hugo.  Congrats, Sheila!

Welcome to Moreytown

You may have heard me mention on Facebook that I’m writing a game for the fine folks at Choice of Games based on my Moreau Novels.  As I said when I broke the news:

If you’re unfamiliar with CoG’s work, think of it as a (much more) sophisticated digital version of the “choose your own adventure” titles from the 1980s.


My current progress on the project: I just crossed the halfway mark on the draft of the game.  If we count by chapters, I’ve finished six of twelve so far.  If we go by “word” count, it’s probably short of halfway because I suspect the code part of the writing will become more complex as I close in on the climax.

That “word” count  is a good way to give you some idea of the difference between this kind of project and straight prose.  In a typical novel, my chapters typically run an average of 2,500 words or so.  The chapters in the game probably cover the same range of plot development as my prose, and display to the reader/player a similar amount of narrative.

Sexy Nohar

However, when we include the code along with the narrative the reader/player doesn’t see (for instance, because they went out the door rather than the window) each game chapter runs from 5,000 to 10,000 “words,” that’s 2x to 4x the amount of writing for a comparable prose chapter.

Some non-spoilery details about the game so far: You will be playing a non-human— fox, tiger, rat, capybara, etc. The setting is a non-human ghetto, the eponymous Moreytown, in a unspecified US metropolitan area.  It will have street gangs, drugs, and explosions.  It will have fights, cults, and, potentially, interspecies romance.

I will keep everyone posted as this works its way through the development pipeline.

Game Update

forests4For those of you that don’t follow my Facebook page, or missed my announcement last month: I have been contracted by Choice of Games to write a “choose-your-own-adventure” style game based in my Moreau Universe. And, yes, one of the first choices you make in the game is choosing your species. And yes, you can play a genetically engineered capybara. You can thank one of the editors for that ;). The game is progressing well ahead of our deadline, about 1/3 written so far, and I’m finding it a nice change of pace from linear novel writing. I will keep everyone posted on my progress, but it seems on track to appear sometime next year.

For my writing friends: It is worth checking out these guys. They pay rates comparable to a genre mass-market paperback sale. Just bear in mind that you need to access a different skill set than straight novel writing. Any experience coding is helpful. Also any experience running a RPG is also helpful.


And Coming This Month!


This month sees the omnibus re-issue of Forests of the Night and Fearful Symmetries in a single snazzy new package: The Moreau Quartet Volume One.  For those of you that are worried about breaking up of the original Moreau trilogy, no worries. A) Fearful Symmetries is a direct sequel to Forests of the Night, and can be read in that order and B) The Moreau Quartet Volume Two will be following in October.

If you want to get your hands on a copy for free, I’m sponsoring a Goodreads book giveaway for the month of August:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Moreau Quartet by S. Andrew Swann

The Moreau Quartet

by S. Andrew Swann

Giveaway ends August 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway