Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Christmas Explained: H is for Hats

As in party hats, or the paper crowns you find in crackers. But how far back do hats and their association with Christmas go?

Well you're have to read Christmas Explained: Robins, King and Brussel Sprouts to find out, but you might be surprised...

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Explained: G is for Grandfather Frost

Today, 6th December, is the Feast of Saint Nicholas, of whom you can find out all sorts of interesting things in Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts.

However, it is on this day that children in Poland, and other Slavic countries, are visited by Ded Moroz, or 'Grandfather Frost', an ancient Russian deity given a more secular twist by Russia's Communist regime during the 20th Century.

Check out the horns on that get-up!

You can find out more about Ded Moroz here and here.

Ded Moroz in his troika pulled by three steeds, accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka.

Ded Moroz and his granddaughter Snegurochka traditionally wear blue.

Ded Moroz gives Sputnik a run for its money, by the look of things.

Christmas Explained - The perfect stocking filler this Christmas!

The Good Book Guide described my book on the history and origins of Christmas as being, "As welcome as a warm glass of mulled wine on a wintry night, Green's guide to Christmas enhances the pleasures of the festive season, offering a witty cornucopia of Christmas facts and folklore."

It would make the ideal gift for a trivia fan, an elderly relative, or for your works Secret Santa. And what could be better than having is signed and personalised by the author too?

The book is in a hardback format and comes with a gold ribbon bookmark too.

For £15* I will send you a signed and personalised copy of Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts, via Royal Mail second class and signed for, to make sure it reaches you safely.

So don't delay, drop me a line today via!

* This price covers postage and packing within the UK.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Christmas Explained: F is for Figgy Pudding

What exactly is figgy pudding, and how does it differ from the more usual plum pudding? Read Christmas Explained: Robins, King and Brussel Sprouts to find out!

Happy Krampusnacht!

Today, or rather tonight, is Krampusnacht!

Krampus - from the Old High German word krampen, meaning claw - is a Christmas devil, the bad to St. Nicholas' good, whose purpose is to warn children to behave and to punish those children who've been bad.

In the Alpine regions of Austria and Hungary, young men still dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition goes so far as to include the birching of young girls!

Images of Krampus usually show him with a basket on his back used to carry away bad children and dump them into the pits of Hell.

I was inspired by the legend to write my own story about Krampus and you can download a pdf of the story Claws here.

You can find out all about the Krampus, and other darker Christmas traditions, in my festive-themed book Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts.

Thought for the Day

"Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing."

~ E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Dragonmeet 2016

I had a great time yesterday at Dragonmeet. This year, as well as selling my own books - with both Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland and Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu proving popular - I was also manning the Fighting Fantasy stand, at which Steve Jackson did a couple of signings during the day.

Books, beautiful books.

Steve Jackson signing for fans.

It's always good to catch up with friends like James Wallis (who had just delivered the PDF of Alas Vegas to the Kickstarter backers in the early hours of the morning), Tony Hough (who presented me with a print of his artwork for Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu), and Graham Bottley (with whom I discussed plans for Advanced Fighting Fantasy at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2).

Tony Hough, Laylah, and Stuart Lloyd.

And it's always a pleasure to meet my readers, who ranged from ten to three-score years and ten.

This finely-mustachioed gentleman was asking if there were plans for a ninth Ulysses Quicksivler novel.

A talking of FFF2, that was the big news that we broke at the event yesterday. In case you haven't hear the news yourself, Fighting Fantasy Fest - the convention dedicated to all things Fighting Fantasy - will be returning in 2017, to mark the 35th anniversary of the publication of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.