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Witches and Bandits and Swords Nominated for Fantasy Award

witchesreaderschoiceExciting news as Big Al’s Books and Pals awarded Witches and Bandits and Swords (Oh My!) with a nomination in the Fantasy category of the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards. Sadly, I didn’t realise it had been nominated at the time so couldn’t go round begging for votes, which is one of the less frequently documented tasks of a writer!

So, for some award, erm, nearly-winning choose-your-own-adventure fantasy oddness, it’s out on Kindle for just £0.77 or $0.99.

Here is the review in full from Big Al’s Books and Pals:

Reviewed by: SingleEyePhotos

Genre: Fantasy

Approximate word count: (varies – this is a create-your-own adventure)


Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: NO

Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Dominic O’Reilly lives in Manchester, England and has many temporary jobs, all including the typing up of very mundane, and totally uninteresting, information.  When he needs to escape from the mundane, he writes.  The genre depends on his mood at the moment. Dominic has a blog you can visit and also a page at Deviant Art.


A sea voyage to trade spices with a distant land promised great fortunes for you and your friends. However, a vessel flying a pirate standard had other ideas.  How well can you deal with the unexpected?  Find out in this create-your-own adventure!


Anyone remember Zork, one of the first interactive computer adventure games?  I do.  I played it while I was in college on one of those ancient Apple computers – back before they were Macs, back before they came in colors.  Way back…  And I loved it.  It was my first experience with just how addictive a computer can be.  Well, I think that this author probably grew up with Zork, and loved it, too.

I spent about 45 minutes gleefully building my own adventure and snickering to myself and thinking “Boy, this is just like Zork!”  OK, I admit it… I wasn’t able to accomplish much except to wander around in a circle picking up herbs and offering a guard some very odd bribes.  But neither was I ever able to do much of anything in Zork, and that didn’t stop me, nor did it dim my enjoyment.

This book has the same snarky, tongue-in-cheek humor – usually at your expense.  The baddies aren’t really bad – just offer them a potion that you were able to have mixed up by one of the witches on the heath using herbs that you picked up while walking in circles, and they’ll be your friends.  The pirates steal your cargo, but they don’t kill you – it’s much more fun to watch as you walk in circles picking up herbs and encountering odd characters.  There are bandits with spiky clubs, but their aim isn’t any better than your prowess with a sword is.  Everything’s all in good fun.

The book has 3 chapters, and if I understand it correctly, you can ‘save’ your adventure, when you inevitably end up getting killed, by jumping to the next chapter (as opposed to starting over).  So, in effect, you get three ‘lives’.   I’ve read a few ‘create your own’ adventure Kindle books, and this is more elaborate, with a greater number of options than the others I’ve read (not to mention having a much more wicked sense of humor).

Highly recommended, if you have a good sense of humor, and even more so if you can remember playing Zork.


This is very family-friendly.  The humor is snide, but not mean. The ‘baddies’ are bad in name only.  Even getting killed is an opportunity for the author to poke fun at the reader.

Format/Typo Issues:

In all the jumping around I did during my game, I saw only one minor typo, so I’d say formatting is excellent.  On the Kindle, the links to select the next scenario work perfectly, and some are worth a laugh in themselves.

Rating: ***** Five stars