Saturday, 22 September 2012

Super Spuds: The App

I thought I’d spend my work hours planning a possible story sequence for a Super Spud app.  All the apps I download and play always seem to have the same format: you earn coins so you can slowly upgrade and you spend hours of your life doing the same thing over and over just to unlock more things.  This is what happened to me with apps like Temple Run - simple but very addictive!  I guess a Super Spud app would work the same way, you’d be in control of a Super Spud and you’d walk around the rubbish tip city earning money. 
This money could come from either finding it, or earning it through competing in sports games or accumulating prestigious medals.  For example, earning a Medal of Bravery for performing a heroic act like saving a Super Spud from an invading seagull would earn you ten gold coins.   You could then trade in your money to buy new houses, weapons, clothes, or even the postage so you can fly away on holiday and visit another city.  The more medals you accumulate would also allow you to enter certain zones within the city, like the army base, adventure playground, or the royal castle.  I’d want the game to be as fun and entertaining as possible, so there would be lots of dialogue and interacting with other Super Spuds, with multiple choice dialogue options so you choose the storyline.  If the Super Spud you were controlling died, by having their package rupture or being spotted by a human, you’d still keep your total money earned but you’d choose another flavour type (or the same one) and come back, probably forfeiting some of your gold coins.  The longer you survived, the more money you’d earn as a bonus.

 Beginning: Choose your flavour type!

The first screen would have a range of flavour types to pick from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  There are a lot of flavour types in the book, so I’d probably only give you access to five types to pick from initially, then you can unlock more with coins and medals earned during the game. 
For example:

1.       Steak and spinach –    (+) very strong, very courageous.
                                      (-) eager to be a hero, quick to die, no sense of humour.

On first glance this flavour would be a good type to choose – they are strong and fearless.  The problem would be they’d have an overwhelming urge to be a hero and it’s likely you’d end up dying and losing some of your money.  It would also be hard to interact with other Super Spuds as all a steak and spinach cares about is working out in the gym and being a hero.

2.       Menthol mint          (+) sociable, sometimes heroic.
                                 (-) crazy, no dress sense, oblivious to danger.

This flavour would be sociable and easy to interact with other Super Spuds around the city.   They are harmless but slightly crazy with no real fashion sense.  They would be vulnerable to danger as they are too crazy to understand any threat and would easily run into a thorn bush without thinking.  However, their added sociability would allow you to interact with Super Spuds who previously wouldn’t talk to you when you were a steak and spinach flavour.

Other flavours would include blueberry (cool, trendy), salt and vinegar (arrogant) and strawberry and cream (smooth talking, safety first).

Once you chose your flavour, you’d enter your character name and then if you died, you’d always come back as that character but you could swap flavour types and personalities.  It would be the different personalities and attributes that allow you to progress in the game i.e. you’d have to play as all five flavour types to complete the first adventure and unlock more adventures and flavour types.

 Playing the Game

After you’ve chosen a flavour type and entered your name, it would be pretty much a free roaming game.  You could walk around the city, chatting with other Super Spuds, entering bars, clubs and houses to search for money and partake in mini-quests.  You could go to the local racetrack and drive for money, or compete in the Olympics.  There would always be a threat from sharp objects, evil Super Spuds, animals and humans.  Hiding from humans and animals would be a key part of the app.  There would be a larger overall quest, such as saving the city from attacking evil Super Spuds or rescuing the royal family.  The more money and medals you earn, the more prestige you earn and your fame as a Super Spud would increase around the world.  I’d also include an evil option on the home screen, where you can choose to play as either good or evil. 

This would be the basic outline of the app.  Let me know your thoughts!

The book blog tour is going well, thanks to Stormi at lightning book promotions for organizing it.  Also, please check out my friend Katherine’s blog hop (link on the top right) to meet some cool bloggers to interact with.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blog tour begins today!

Hello everyone,

Over the next ten days the Super Spuds are going to be cropping up over various blogs.  The tour starts with Marcie and her blog 2readornot2read, featuring an excerpt:

There will be reviews, interviews and more excerpts coming up.  Also, editing will start today for Book 4  - Over Land and Sea.  I'm looking forward to the process and working with my editor again.  I'll be revealing the cover in the next month or so!

There will be a drawing competition coming very soon, so I thought I'd have a go at drawing a Super Spud so people get the general idea.  Below is a steak and spinach flavour with his strong arms and legs, holding a pencil for defence against those pesky seagulls!  Only the steak and spinach flavours have strong arms and legs though, all the other flavours would have thinner arms and legs.  Colour is up to you, but the flavour type must be written on the package.  If you think you can do better than my feeble attempt, stay tuned to enter once the competition is up for a chance to win a $30 Amazon Kindle gift card. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


I’m very grateful to all the bloggers I have contacted for their honest reviews.  Everyone has been very professional and their passion for books and their blog sites is very admirable.  I’d also like to thank the people who have won a copy of my book through a giveaway for reviewing it as well.  Just as a warning, this self-critique contains some spoilers about what happens in The Super Spud Trilogy.

Negatives :(
  • I need to work on character development.  I always planned to have many characters in the book, and due to their vulnerable nature, some of them couldn’t last long.  I couldn’t make them seem invincible when the magic rules are so strict.  However, I should have realized that even with a book like mine, readers like to feel attached to a character so I probably should have kept Colin alive longer and focused a bit more on dialogue.  Colin's adventure probably is too short and I should have taken some chapters from Cougar's adventure.  Book four certainly addresses this issue and sees core characters which feature throughout the book.  Readers have also said they had trouble keeping up with the number of characters.  Paperback readers have commented that the obituary was helpful, but e-readers don’t have this ease of access to quickly flip back and forth.  So I do emphasize with any readers who may have had trouble.
  • Level of violence.  In hindsight, I probably should have toned down the level of violence.  Although a lot of it is comic in nature, the use of thumbtacks, hedgehogs etc… I probably didn’t need to be so gory in my descriptions.  I didn’t want this to be a kid’s book, however, due to the references, cynical humour and my general style of writing.  I also wanted to make the evil Super Spuds as evil as possible, as evil is a strong word, so they had to be super mean.  I don’t think a writer should ever force themselves to write something that is not their natural style, but then again, it might be fun to go back and re-write it – or re-edit, at least – for children.  By this I mean no violence, more fun and a stronger sense of good morality (take out the gambling, killing humans, blowing things up…).
  • The cover.  I actually liked the cover, with its creased appearance and the ‘guideline amount’ reference to Walker’s crisp packets in the bottom left.  Some people have commented it is too simple and looks like a kid’s book, which may deter potential readers.  Ideally, I’d have liked an illustrated Super Spud to be on the front but I was happy with the design and I have no regrets.  I thought my cover designer did a great job and I’ll see what I can do for the next book.
  • Some people have commentated that the book is too predictable in places, which I agree with in parts.  Sometimes it was deliberately predictable, but others parts I could have worked on more.  For example, recruiting and using the generals to save the day most of the time.  But, I also had feedback that a reader never knows what is coming next, like a falling satellite blowing up a postal train.  I’ve tried to create my plots more diverse and unpredictable for book four, so we’ll see.
Right, that’s enough dissing my own book for one day!   My marketing manager will probably give me a slap on the wrist.  The reader is the number one priority though, not me, and I’ll always welcome any feedback to enable me to create a better and more enjoyable story for my audience.   Overall though the feedback has been positive, with many great four and five star reviews and it's very rewarding knowing someone has read and enjoyed your work.

Also, I will have another international giveaway on Goodreads from September 15th to October 3rd, so please feel free to enter for a chance to win.  Coming very soon I will also be hosting two competitions, one for the best drawn Super Spud and one for best new flavour idea.  There will be great prizes for both competitions.