"The modern master of the gamebook format" (Rob Sanders)... "Can do dark very well" (Jonathan Oliver)... "My evil Steampunk nemesis" (Robert Rankin)... "BBC Wiltshire's very own Mr Christmas" (Simeon Courtie)
So why not treat yourself to a late Christmas/early New Year present to make up for all those socks grandma gave you this year?
With Abaddon the Despoiler’s Thirteenth Black Crusade engulfing the galaxy, Iron-Father Gdolkin and his company are pulled away from the defence of Medusa to honour an ancient oath to the Adeptus Mechanicus. A trail of clues leads Gdolkin to a long-lost world, home to an ancient weapon that might turn the tide of war in the Imperium’s favour. But for Gdolkin, the quest is personal, as this mysterious planet might also contain the answer to the oldest mystery of the Iron Hands Chapter... the resting place of the Primarch Ferrus Manus.
Okay, so as you'll see when you read the full review yourself, Mr Edwin McRae isn't anybody's rabid fan boy, but it made for such a great post title I just couldn't resist.
However, quotes like, "If Temple of the Spider God doesn’t get your book allergic teen reading, then I’m struggling to see what will" and "On the narrative structure front (the ‘make or break’ ingredient of interactive game books) I was really impressed to see three almost completely independent pathways for our hero" have made me one happy chappy this morning.
Part 1 Red-Handed has been out for a couple of months now and fans have been reading of the British Agent of the Crown's latest exploits, then going online and voting for how they would like the story to continue in Part 2 Black Swan.
So if you've not yet voted, don't delay! Ulysses Quicksilver's fate lies in your hands!
Why are book signings like London buses? Because you wait ages for one and then two come along at once.
So, having been to the Kitschies Steampunk Evening at Blackwell's on Charing Cross Road the night before, on Friday I found myself at Forbidden Planet (again) for the official launch of Dean M Drinkel's new horror anthology Phobophobia.
I arrived to find a pile of pre-orders needed signing and we then walked out to meet and greet horror fans at the event itself. The only thing that could have improved this was if we had walked out to Battle Without Honor or Humanity (from the Kill Bill soundtrack).
I was thrilled with how well-attended the signing was. We authors were kept busy well past 6.00pm (which is when the signing was supposed to end) but I was very jealous of Wayne Goodchild. It was his first book signing, so he now has an accurate record of how many books he's ever signed. How cool will that be when he gets to 1,000?
The signing gets underway.
The highlight for me was when Greg James (a.k.a. G R Yeates) passed me a book to sign 'To Doug'. I looked up and found Doug Bradley who played Pinhead in the Hellraiser movies staring back at me. Suddenly I was lost for words, and had to gather my thoughts again before writing a dedication in his copy of the anthology.
Doug and Barbie in their more familiar guises in Hellraiser II.
(Please note, I do not appear in this photograph!)
After finishing up at Forbidden Planet, we headed over to the British Fantasy Society Open Night at the Mug House, Tooley Street, to join in the festivities there, whilst selling and signing more books. I always enjoy events like the BFS Open Night because there are just so many people there now that I know.
Anyway, to finish here's how things could have gone. This one's for Dean! Congratulations, sir!
On Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to be one of the guest authors at The Kitschies Steampunk Evening, held at Blackwell's bookshop on Charing Cross Road.
The Kitschies - promoting intelligent, progressive and entertaining genre literature.
The event was organised by Den Patrick, Jared Shurin and Anne Perry, and was sponsored by Kraken Rum - which, I have to say, is delicious!
Tom Pollock and China Mieville bump knuckles over a large pile of books.
The evening began with Den Patrick (in full steampunk gear) welcoming everyone to the event. Jared Shurin then took over, welcoming the guest authors, artists and other steampunk creators. Next up was Adam Roberts, author and professor of 19th century literature, waxing lyrical about the origins of the modern steampunk movement.
One of the many nice touches that the organisers had arranged were name badges, with sub-titles inspired by the different authors' works. So, you could be a member of the Anti-Traction League from Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series, a Brobdinagian from Adam Roberts' Swiftly, or even an Agent of the Crown, inspired by my own Ulysses Quicksilver Pax Britannia books.
The evening had many highlights for me - meeting Philip Reeve, chatting with China Mieville, catching up with my steampunk friends, catching up with the guys from Abaddon/Solaris - but one of the best was catching up with Alex Milway, who I had only actually met in person once before, four years ago, and yet who I've got to know much better online since.
Black Library have announced their last shipping dates before Christmas.
They're also offering free shipping on orders over £10. So if you're looking to buy a Loved One one of my Warhammer or Warhammer 40K novels or short stories for a bit of festive cheer, now is the perfect time to order. (You only need to order one of my Print on Demand titles to receive free shipping.) And of course there are eBooks too - which don't cost anything to post. Marvellous!
Here's the entirety of the JG catalogue currently available from Black Library.
The story is just fantastic, the writing is very appropriate, without being pedantic nor sloppy, provides with plenty of descriptions clear enough to help create a good visual reference in your mind of where you are and what’s happening. And it is a lot deeper than you expect too. It was only after the first time I rushed to the end, and the book begun to ask me if I had items I should have collected in the way, that I realised how much more to it there was. And I had to start again. With pleasure.
And in case you're still wavering as to whether you should buy it for your Kindle (or other eReader of your choice), then here's another tasty snippet from early on in the adventure...
The thunderous hammering came again, the impatience and ire in the voice rising from below growing in intensity. “This is your last chance! This is the police! Open the door or I’ll have it broken down!” There was a tremendous crash from somewhere at street level. The owner of the voice was making good on his promise. Staggering to his feet Ulysses scoured the room for anything that might enable him to escape. There were only two ways out of the garret room – through the door or through the window. For the briefest moment Ulysses wondered whether he should simply open the door and wait for the gendarmes to find him, and then worry about trying to explain to them how he came to be there, alongside a dead body. But then what was he thinking? Who was going to believe that he had travelled through space and time to end up here? And what would they make of the scorch-marks on the floorboards, let alone the corpse lying in a pool of its own congealing blood. He took a step backwards and caught his reflection in the cracked glass above the wash bowl. He was in a worse state than the room. He was still wearing the scruffy suit he had purloined from Castle Frankenstein. His right hand was wet with blood, as were the knees of his trousers. The eye-patch and a few days growth of stubble didn’t help either. He no longer looked like the bachelor once voted ‘Best Dressed Man of the Decade’ by The Strand magazine. If he had been a French policeman and had walked into the attic and found a stranger looking like that – with a dead man’s blood on his hands and the victim lying next to him – he would have pronounced him guilty as soon as the next man. Worst case? The gendarmes would shoot first and ask questions later. He looked at the door, noticing the key in the lock for the first time. Stumbling over, he tried the handle. The door was locked.
Or rather star number. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
The things is, I've just noticed that this blog now has 73 followers. This is a good thing. For a long time it has had to make do with thirty or so, but recently the number of followers has shot up. (If this is because you* have linked to this blog or promoted it online elsewhere, then thank you. But back to the matter in hand.)
It's interesting that I've noticed this today is because 73 is a special number or, to give it its technical, mathematical name, a star number.
73 is also the 21st prime number. And of course the mirror of 73, is 37 - the 12th prime number. The number 21 has among its factors the number 7 and the number 3.
73 in binary, 1001001, is palindrome. In addition, of the 7 binary digits representing 73, there are 3 ones. Also, 37+12=49 (seven squared) and 73+21=94=47*2, 47+2 also being equal to seven squared.
Whilst we were there, we were both interviewed for the G*M*S Magazine Podcast which is now live over here. You can hear Neil and I talking between around 33 and 39 minutes (me for rather longer than I recalled doing so).
It's a great podcast all round and I'll definitely be checking out future editions.
There's only ten days to go now (or possibly less by the time you read this) before the polls close and I start writing Part 2 of Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow - a.k.a. Black Swan - based on how the public voted they would like the story to continue.
So, if you're yet to download Part 1, Red-Handed, he's a little taster to help you take that final step to making a purchase.
Gasping for breath, Ulysses took a moment to wipe away the moisture that had collected in the hollow behind his eye-patch. And that was when he saw it. It was emerging from the fourth floor window of a building at the end of the shadowed cul-de-sac. Eight feet tall, with arms like great sides of beef covered in thick black hair, it swung from the open window with startling grace and agility, launching itself towards the rungs of a fire escape another floor up, and reaching it with ease. From there the beast swung itself up onto the roof. The massive ape landed not ten feet from him, its sledgehammer fists sending clouds of dust rising. Ulysses froze. The beast snorted and then its beady black stare fell on the exhausted, injured man, the atmosphere thickening between them. Ulysses’ heart thumped against the cage of his ribs, the bullet wound pulsing in unkind sympathy. So palpable was the tension, he could feel it crackling from the beast and setting his hairs on end, like static electricity.