This week is KiwiRPG Week! An excellent collective of Aotearoa based game designers, players and podcasters have teamed up to do some excellent things this week. If you’re interested in Tabletop RPGs and want to learn about my newest game, read on!
The biggest excitement for me is today I launched my new game: Trading Places
Before I get into that, a shout out. My game isn’t the only one launching today, the esteemed Simon Carryer has released a D&D fan edit called Pyramid of the Undying which you should also check out!
Trading Places is a journaling game. It’s an introspective game about ordinary and extraordinary lives, and I’m very proud of it.
It’s about swapping bodies, a la Freaky Friday or the brilliant book The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. What if one day, you woke up in a body and a life that isn’t your own?
It’s run beautifully in playtests, with one game running full Hallmark Christmas movie, and another game going a lot more poetical and introspective about the nature of life. It’s a game which you can do a lot with, and I expect is only the first of many journaling games from me…
The Witchy Fiction project is celebrating the month of May with a 99c sale! A selection of books from four different authors (including me!) is up for cheap on multiple ebook platforms.
Click here to get some cheap urban fantasy from Aotearoa! More about the included books if you read on…
2021 Sir Julius Vogel Award Finalist for Best Novella
Self-taught witch Ashley Robinson considers it her duty to protect her hometown Hamilton. She spends her time doing community work and picking up litter by the Waikato River.
But something is badly wrong with the river, a sickness deeper than mere pollution can explain. Magic must be the cause, but is it a curse or something else entirely? Ash has to get to the bottom of it, armed with nothing more than the support of her best friend Mikaere and a pocketful of crystals.
Then there’s Bryony Manu, the town’s only other witch. A charismatic practitioner of dark magic, Bryony is infuriating … and captivating. Ash needs their help to track down the source of the spell draining life from the river. Can she balance her work with her attraction to Bryony, and master her magic along the way?
Brand of Magic
An empath witch should be able to keep everyone happy, right?
Hazel has put magic and men out of her mind. A break-up meant her own thoughts were bad enough, without sensing everyone else’s emotions too. The ghost in the attic and her sarcastic dog familiar would be way too much to explain to any partner.
Instead, Hazel put all her energy into her job promoting the city she loves – Dunedin, New Zealand. And she is pretty good at it, too. When her neighbour, Joel, needs her expertise to save his woodworking business and stop the sale of his family land, she can’t resist getting involved. But the more time they spend together, the more stubbornly locked away his thoughts are.
Then her powerful aunt is attacked, and Hazel has to find a way to get through to her and discover who or what is behind it. It seems as if her psychic powers are the key to everything.
Can she bear to let magic – and love – back in?
Succulents and Spells
Laurel Windflower is a witch from a family of magic workers – but her own life is going nowhere. Living in the damp, sunless side of Aro Valley, she works in a café, unable to produce anything more powerful than the most basic herbal potions. Until, one winter morning, Marigold Nightfield knocks on her door. Marigold is a scientist, but she knows plenty about magic. There are strange things happening in her house, and her future discoveries require careful negotiation with monsters. Laurel can’t walk away from a mystery – and she can’t walk away from Marigold either. But what lies ahead could reveal all of her shortcomings to the woman she’s trying to impress… or uncover the true nature of her power.
Microscopes and Magic
Some magical problems take spells and potions to solve… but others can only be understood through the lenses of a microscope.
Marigold Nightfield’s life changed when she absorbed the magic stored in a family heirloom. Now, she’s part of a growing network of magic-working scientists who are trying to change the world for the better, and has a girlfriend from a sprawling, powerful, witchy family.
Things should be coming together perfectly for her… but her magic has a time limit. It’s not hers for keeps and one day, she’ll lose it for good.
When her girlfriend’s work is destroyed by possible sabotage, and strange things start appearing in Wellington’s green belt, Marigold’s amazing new life starts to unravel. With unknown motives and dubious players at work, she faces a destructive force spreading through the city and beyond. She’ll have to not only draw on her scientific background and magical abilities, but make new connections and grow in confidence to face this new threat.
Overdues and Occultism
A witch in the broom closet probably shouldn’t be so interested in a ghost hunter, right?
When Sebastian, a paranormal investigator filming a web series starts snooping around Basil’s library, he stirs up more than just Basil’s heart. Between Basil’s own self-doubt, a ghost who steals books and Sebastian, an enthusiastic extrovert bent on uncovering secrets, Basil’s life is about to get a lot more complicated.
That Basil is a librarian comes as no surprise to his Mt Eden community. That he’s a witch? Yeah. That might raise more than a few eyebrows.
Monsters and Manuscripts
One Witch One Paranormal Investigator Something that went bump in the night…
Library witch Basil and YouTuber Sebastian have settled into life together in the sleepy suburb of Mt Eden.
Basil is overjoyed to have a handsome boyfriend to come home to and he is connecting deeper with his magic. But when strange books start to turn up at his library and an uninvited guest makes noises in their attic, it’s up to them to investigate.
As a paranormal YouTuber, Sebastian can’t resist a new mystery. Especially since he’s been in one place for far too long… Is his enthusiasm for the next story going to ruin everything?
Onesies and Ouijaboards
Be careful what you wish for…
Arrow is fifteen, non-binary, and bored.
It’s one thing to read about magic, or watch ghost hunting shows. But Arrow yearns for something more. When they try out a prosperity spell from a magical library book, things start to go very very right.
Until they don’t.
Arrow’s good luck seems to be affecting a lot of the people around them. From A students suddenly failing quizzes to freak accidents, their good luck seems to be double-sided to say the least. Arrow’s best friend Ren knows not to mess with the unknown, but Arrow’s spell might just affect him all the same.
Arrow’s got to learn about how to wield their magic fast when the power they’ve drawn down proves to be beautiful, but dangerous as well.
I updated my reading log journal, and ordered myself some copies. They arrived recently and I’m really stoked with how cute they look and how nice the quality is. These are print-on-demand from Amazon which means you can order them from Amazon yourself!
But let’s take a look inside…
There’s a 60 book reading challenge that you can use or not as you choose – it includes different formats of books as well as options that may put you out of your comfort reading zone. There are checkboxes so you can keep track of the ones you’ve done.
Then lots of review pages, with space for various details including dates started and read and why you chose this particular book.
The review pages are broken up with colouring pages every here and there so you can reward yourself for reading and updating the journal and have a little fun. Here’s one example:
Then the back half of the book is dot gridded pages so you can continue to review books, make lists of books to read, draw or do whatever you like, really.
I ordered a few of the reading log journals to kind of sense check how it looks. I’m not a graphic designer, and there were some weird things about the way I’d put the book together. So with that in mind, I’ve taken it down off Amazon so I can fix it up and make it a little prettier and easier to read.
But I ordered five copies of this, and I only need one to look through, so that’s where the giveaway comes in.
I’m giving away four of the prototype reading log journals, and you can enter the draw here. They look like this on the outside:
Inside there are lots of pages for recording what you’ve read, and also a 60 book reading challenge you can use or not. I put some cute design elements inside, and I’m generally pretty proud of them for a first try, although as I said, there’s some weirdness when you’re actually flicking through them.
My plan is to update the innards, and possibly the cover as well, and let you know when the better version is up for sale. Amazon do print on demand, so you’ll be able to order direct from them. Then I have some other ideas for other journals with fun prompts, so watch this space!
In the mean time if you want a dot grid paperback notebook with a funky cover, grab it here!
My name is Elise Smith, I have over 25 years of experience as a writer, 5 years as a blogger and 3 years as a writing coach. I have written and published two autobiographies in my book series “The New Zealand Dream,” by Sheila my pen name. I wrote these books to inspire and give hope to others. I published my third book in July 2021, called “Johnathan,” I co-authored this book about my father who grew up in Manchester England during the war. My passion is creative writing, I write in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and content. I have published many articles, short stories, and guest posted on various sites. My short story “Stargazing” won a short story award in our local “Writing Sparks” competition.
Writing is a very powerful healing tool, sharing your story can give help others and help yourself on your healing journey. I am a writing coach who can help people write their own stories and with any writing project they are creating. I have mentored students working for Wellington polytechnic. I conduct interviews on my website to help promote my fellow writers and bloggers and host guest writers.
Where in the world do you live, and what do you like most about it?
I live in a little coastal city called Gisborne, in New Zealand.
What I like most about living in NZ is it has the ocean and all its bounty on my doorstep, a hop skip, and a jump and you are in nature surrounded by native bush with breathtaking hikes to experience and camp spots to discover.
Self-care is very important for writers, tell us how you look after yourself?
I too believe self-care is extremely important for writers and everyone.
I write about this topic often, below is what I do to take care of myself; Spending time in nature🦋🌳🌸 Listen to positive music🎼 Watch positive movies/videos Time for you/to treat yourself 💅🛀 Spend time with positive people👩❤️👨, Set boundaries, say no Spirituality and prayer/meditation🧎♀️🧘♀️📖 Feed your body and mind healthy🍇🥦🚶♂️🧠📖 Rid your life of toxic people, it is better to be alone than around negativity. Remember you are responsible for your own happiness, nobody else should be expected to make you happy. Sit just sit quietly Pick/buy a bunch of flowers Take a nap Do something crafty, colouring Go to the library and read
What genres do you like to read in?
I like to read true stories and memoirs.
What’s a book that you have on your shelf which you’re particularly fond of?
“White thorn” By Bryce Courtnay
Creative writing as a teenager, did you do it? Can you remember any stories?
Yes, I did do this, I remember writing about myself and a friend Samanther going on an adventure. She fell into a cave, I tried to save her but a vampire killed her. I got a certificate for this story.
What do you do/where do you go for inspiration?
I do things to trigger memories or feelings such as getting in nature, a smell, listening to music, looking at photos, or art.
Do you prefer quiet, ambient sound or music while you write?
I prefer quiet when I write.
Hogwarts, Narnia, Neverland, or Westeros?
What’s your favourite song to sing at Karaoke?
Guns and Roses, Sweet child of mine
Favourite song to sing in the shower when no one else is home?