Ken’s Book – Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings

… who sent you? And to do what?

Greetings all!

I just wanted to briefly introduce myself. My name is Ken Williams and my wife and I were the founders of an early games company, Sierra On-Line. We were the original publishers for Corey and Lori Cole, who did Hero’s Quest for us (later renamed as Quest for Glory.) We also published games like Ultima, King’s Quest, Half-Life, Leisure Suit Larry (why did it take so long to mention my game? – Larry Laffer), Space Quest, and many more.

The reason I’m here is to briefly mention that I have a book coming out about Sierra. Gamers have been asking me for 25 years to write a book about “what happened?” and how Sierra, which was once dominant in the business, fell apart.

I’ve always refused, but then the virus changed all of our plans (like all of yours) and when I was bored Roberta said, “Write a book” and the book just kind of happened.

Anyway, if you want to know more about the book, check out

if you want to know more about the book, check out

Hero-U Update #127: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

The Yearbook is in Beta! Live Readings from Lori’s By the Book novel inspired by Hero’s Quest!

Fan and helper Steve Coupe has completed his massive effort to whip the Rogue to Redemption Yearbook into shape! I’ve posted it as a “Beta version” to BackerKit for everyone who has their name and text in the Yearbook.

The Disbarred Bard of the Year finalists page in the Yearbook

If you notice any errors – especially in your entry – please notify me at support (at) hero-u (dot) net. Once we correct any mistakes, I’ll make the Yearbook available to all backers. I’ll also start the process of making a print version for backers entitled to that edition. Lori and I have started signing the hundreds of autographs we owe to Yearbook and premium game edition backers.

We made a great deal of progress on the game between first release in July 2018 to this Spring. If you got one of the boxed versions of the game, how do you feel about having an old (I think it’s version 1.4) version of the game on your DVD? Is that a Valuable Historical Artifact, or an annoyance because you actually play from the DVD and would prefer it to be up-to-date?

The reason I ask is that I’m considering pressing around 300 new DVD’s with version 2.2 to send with the Yearbook and autographs to premium backers. But that leaves 700 backers with the “basic boxed game” with the older version. If you’re in either category, I’d like your opinion about whether we should spend a few thousand dollars updating game DVD’s. Is that something you’d be willing to pay $5 for (covering the disk and shipping) if we did it as an “on demand” upgrade? Or are you happy with the pretty, but obsolete, game disk? Comment here or to the support email.

By the Book Live Readings on YouTube

Lori has been reading from her book – with Mishell Baker – during our Twitch streams. Superfan Maus Merryjest has wrapped each chapter with a musical intro and ending.

Here’s what I wrote about the book in the most recent videos:

“How To Be A Hero: By The Book” is a young adult novel inspired by Lori and Corey Cole’s 1989 game, Hero’s Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero. In this retelling, the four character classes from that game are represented by four orphan siblings who find themselves called to adventure.

Hawk is a sixteen year old boy with holes in his boots and a hand-me-down sword he can barely draw without falling over. He lives with his two brothers and younger sister in an isolated Alpine village. Hawk soon realizes that they all have no future in the village, so he leaves to seek a new life or himself and his family.

Armed with an inspirational manual, “How to Be a Hero,” Hawk sets off for the town of Siegburg, where he plans to win fame and fortune as an adventurer. But he soon discovers that Siegburg is a hopeless mess. Meanwhile, he has his hands full keeping the rest of the family out of his hair… and out of trouble. Unfortunately, the path to heroism is much less glamorous than his dog-eared manual led him to expect.

By the Book live reading. Chapter 1: Beyond the Gate

During the campaign, backers “earned” 13 chapters of the novel. I’m happy to say that we’ve completed that commitment plus a bonus chapter 14! Here are the chapters I’ve posted so far:

Full playlist:

Chapter 1 – Beyond the Gate:

Chapter 2 – Path to Adventure:

Chapter 3 – Castle On the Hill:

Chapter 4 – Two Birds in the Bush:

Chapter 5 – Wild Flights:

Chapter 6 – A Daring Rescue:

Chapter 7 – Unexpected Meetings:

Chapter 8 – The Sting of the Blade:

Chapter 9 – Strange Doings:

Chapter 10 – Quests and Questions:

Chapter 11 – Dark Passage:

Chapter 12 – Alarms and Excursions:

Chapter 13 – Into the Fire:

Chapter 14 – Fox, Books, Crocks, and Crooks:

Our next live stream will be next Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 from 3-5 pm PDT (California time). We stream on Twitch at

I’m currently looking into doing some more editing on the novel, and eventually publishing it as a downloadable book. The live readings are from the original “Beta” version of By the Book.

Help Support the Stream on Patreon

As you probably know, the market for indie adventure games is really challenging. As a result, Lori and I don’t take any salary or royalties from Hero-U games. Instead, we are relying on continuing support from our fans on our Patreon.

We think supporting us there is a win-win proposition. Each patron contributes a small monthly amount, and the total adds up to a useful amount of funds for us. What do patrons get? I try to post something new a couple of times a month. Much of the content is open to anyone who visits our Patreon page, while some “premium” posts are only available to patrons

Already-available content includes the entire Birth of a Hobbit comic strip series, posts from our “Quest Log Blog,” recent articles, Lori’s photographic art, images from our games, and more! Patrons who donate at least $10/month get additional content including high-resolution “screen wallpaper” images and premium “heroes” role access to our Discord.

Please consider subscribing at to help keep us free to make games and do live streams. Subscribe only if you can easily afford it, please!

Also join our free Discord server. You can search for Transolar Games or use this link: We have some awesomely cool people and conversations there, and I try to contribute regularly.

  • Coles.