Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Harvington School visit

I spent this morning at Harvington School, speaking to the children there about what it's like to be an author and in particular about my new Doctor Who book Monstrous Missions.

I was made to feel very welcome and the children were very attentive. They also asked some pertinent and well thought out questions. A number of them also left with signed copies of Monstrous Missions!

The younger children ready to hear all about how a book gets made.

My special helper all ready to help.

The older children hear about what's involved in creating a book, from conception to publication.

It just remains for me to say a big thank you to all the children, and their teachers, at Harvington School, for inviting me in as part of their Book Week festivities.

If you would like me to come into your school to talk about my work, then drop me a line at info@JonathanGreenAuthor.com. I shall look forward to hearing from you.

How to write a novel in a year... allegedly

Follow these rules and you'll be able to write a novel in a year. Allegedly.

Just imagine that; having a whole year to write a novel!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Draw a Dinosaur Day!

Did you know that today is Draw a Dinosaur Day? No, neither did I, so here's one I borrowed earlier from Pandemonium Fiction, which somehow seems appropriate because of this.

And of course the timing is also apposite because of this.

Ian Livingstone announces new Fighting Fantasy gamebook

I've known about this one for a while - since September 2009, to be honest - but it's a pleasure to be able to share the news with the rest of the world.

As you may have already heard, Ian Livingstone is writing a brand new gamebook for Fighting Fantasy's 30th anniversary. However, the surprising news is that it isn't set in Allansia, but in the present day, in a remote Romanian castle, and features hordes of Zombies.

When I spoke to Ian about this he had already written the first 200 paragraphs of Blood of the Zombies. But the life of a living gaming legend is not without its responsibilities, which bring their own time demands, and he didn't have a chance to finish the until now. And the finishing touch the book requires is a title.

Yes, I know I said it was called Blood of the Zombies, but Ian is giving you the chance to decide on the title, the alternative suggestion being Escape from Zombie Castle.

If you follow this link, you can vote from your own preference. The name of the book will be announced by 28 February 2012.

Wizard Books will be publishing a special edition of the book in August, and Ian's hoping to have iOS, Android and perhaps even PSN and Kindle versions out too.

So watch this space for future updates...

Thought for the Day

"If you introduce new, intelligent ideas to fools, you will be thought frivolous, not intelligent."
~ Euripides (c.480 – 406 BC)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Monstrous Missions - The Terrible Lizards are unleashed!

This arrived in the post today.

This is my third Doctor Who publication and my first novel, or chapter book if you prefer, featuring the Eleventh Doctor (as portrayed by Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill).

It's been some time in the making (for one reason or another) and it's great to see it in print at long last. It wasn't an easy task, writing the book, but I had a great time putting words into the Doctor's mouth and putting the Ponds through the wringer.

Monstrous Missions, which collects my story Terrible Lizards along with Gary Russell's Horror of the Space Snakes, is officially released on Thursday 2 February but you can buy it from Amazon now. Here's the blurb from the back of the book.

In TERRIBLE LIZARDS, the Doctor and his companions join a group of explorers on a Victorian tramp steamer in the Florida Everglades. The explorers are searching for the Fountain of Youth, but neither they nor the treasure they seek are quite what they seem!

And in HORROR OF THE SPACE SNAKES, people are mysteriously disappearing on Moonbase Laika. They return with strange bite marks and no idea where they have been. Can the Doctor get to the bottom of what's going on?

Monstrous Missions is one of six such 2-in-1 titles, the others are:

Where Ideas Come From - by Dan Abnett

Just like any example of Dan's writing, this piece, which appeared on Kaaron Warren's blog, is well worth reading.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The SFX Weekender - The Schedule!

It's been some time coming but yes, the schedule for the SFX Weekender 3 is finally here!

I'm getting quite excited/nervous about this now, partly because of how much work I still need to finish between now and then but mainly because I'm going to be hosting the 'How do you put the punk into steampunk?' panel on the Friday.

It's the first time the SFX Weekender has had a dedicated steampunk panel (last year the steampunk element was amalgamated into the 'Duel Britannia' panel) and I feel a certain responsibility now rests upon my shoulders not to let the side down, an onus to... basically, to not cock it up!

So although you'll see that the bar opens at midday on Friday, I'm going to be taking it easy before 5.00pm and letting my hair down (which may or may not be coloured green for the occasion) at the Kitschies Awards ceremony later the same evening.

I won't be going too mad there either though, because come 10.00am the next morning I'll be signing in Bartertown alongside Guy Haley (he of SFX/White Dwarf/Angry Robot/Solaris fame). I promised I'd catch up with Guy at some point over the weekend, but at the time didn't realise I would be sharing a table with him, so job done!

I should also give a shout out to the Abaddon/Solaris Fun Hour which is taking place at 2.00pm on the Friday... in the bar! Last year it was the Abaddon Pub Hour, which probably tells you all you really need to know. But to truly experience its wonders you have to be there, so do come along. It'll be a lot of fun and, failing that, it's in the bar.

There's loads going on all weekend, with panels, Q&As, signings, competitions and screening from dawn (well 10.00am) until dusk (actually, well past midnight), so if you are coming along, check out the schedule and maybe I'll see you there.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Close, but no cigar (a.k.a. Runner-up of the Spider God)

The Best Ever App Awards 2011 were announced at 4.00pm today (or 8.00am PST, if you prefer) and Temple of the Spider God was in the running for Best Dice Game...

And it came second!

Not a bad showing by any means and great for an indie games developer like Tin Man Games, but wouldn't it have been great if Spider God could have taken the top spot? Ah well, there's always next year.

Anyway, thanks to all who voted and if you want to know why my first digital gamebook came close to being named the Best Dice Game iOS app ever (well for 2011 at least), follow this link.


My latest Doctor Who adventure Terrible Lizards is out soon*, so I thought it would be a good time to share this with you.

* In less than a week, actually...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

SFX Weekender 3 - one week to go!

There's only one week to go until the SFX Weekender 3 beams in to Pontin's Prestatyn. Are you excited yet, 'cos I sure as hell am!

To help get you fired up about the Weekender, head over to the Geek Syndicate and check out their audio interview with SFX Editor-in-Chief David Bradley.

Among the things you'll learn from David are that there are eight actors attending the premier SF/F event, along with some 50 writers and artists (Yours Truly included). 2000AD will be celebrating its 35th birthday there and the Kitschies Awards Ceremony will also be taking place on the Friday night. And on Saturday night Robert Rankin will be hosting the SFX Awards whilst later on Craig Charles will be DJing like last year.

So are you excited now? If you are, I hope you've already got your ticket because the event sold out weeks ago! And if you have got your ticket, maybe I'll see you there.

Joshua Wright - Artist of the Spider God

Joshua Wright, the talented artist responsible for the full colour internal illustrations that appear in Temple of the Spider God now has his own website.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Happy Burns Night!

On 25 January, Scots all over the world gather together to honour the short, yet prolific, career of their national poet, Robert Burns, because 25 January is his birthday. Also known as the Ploughman Poet (because amongst other jobs he held, he had once worked as a ploughman) Burns was, and still is, Scotland’s favourite poet. This is mainly due to the fact that he wrote in the same way that Scottish people spoke. He came from a humble background, but his natural talent was to make him a national hero.

Burns’ poetry was inspired by the stories his mother’s old maid told him when he was a child. Indeed, the poet is quoted as saying, ‘She had the largest collection in the county of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, warlocks, kelpies, elf-candles, wraiths, giants, enchanted towers, dragons and other nonsense. From this grew the seeds of my poetry.’

Burns’ Suppers, which form the focus of Burns’ Night celebrations, can be either casual affairs or something much more formal. However, whatever they’re nature, the basic format varies very little. On arriving guests should be offered a drink (usually whisky) and once they are all seated at table, the chairman makes his welcome. This is followed by the Selkirk Grace and then the banquet begins.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

Burns’ Supper Menu

Cock-a-Leekie Soup
Cullen Skink

Haggis, Neeps and Champit Tatties

Sherry Trifle

After the first course has been cleared away, the haggis will be piped in – the chef carrying it to the table, accompanied by a piper playing a stirring Scottish tune – and the chairman, or another esteemed guest, will give the Address to the Haggis. Reciting the words of Burns’ poem with gusto, the speaker plunges a knife into the haggis at the words:

‘An’ cut you up wi’ ready slight
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch.’

The address over, the guests toast the haggis, and the health of the poet, with a wee dram of whisky, naturally. When the meal is finished, the chairman (or esteemed guest) makes the first speech – The Immortal Memory – which pays tribute to the life and work of Robert Burns. This is followed by the Toast to the Lasses and is a light-hearted tribute to all the ladies present that should be humorous, but never unkind. An elected female member of the party then gives The Lasses Response. The formalities over, the rest of the night is spent enjoying the songs and poems of Burns, as performed by the guests themselves.

Of course you can find out more about Burns Night and Robert Burns himself in my wee book, Scottish Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Scotland the Brave.

And if you're celebrating Burns' Night tonight, have a good one!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Thought for the Day

"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book."
~ Cicero, 43 BC

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Year of the Dragon

Gung hai fat choy!

Seeing as how it's the Chinese Year of the Dragon I was trying to think of which of my books or stories to recommend to you which have a dragon-related theme... Except there aren't any!

Of all the fantasy staples I've written about over the years I've not really done much about dragons. I suppose there was my White Dwarf article Enter the Dragon, and dragon-like creatures appear in Knights of Doom and Stormslayer, and then there was that wyvern in The Dead and the Damned, but that's about it.

Well, that's not entirely true.

One of the (many) projects I'm working on at the moment features a dragon quite heavily, but more about that another time...

The dragon-like Stormdrake from Stormslayer*

* In my imagination it looked way cooler than this.

Warhammer: Civil War

One for the Warhammer fans today.

I was intrigued to open the latest issue of White Dwarf magazine (#385) and find Part One of a new Warhammer expansion contained within - an expansion called Civil War, and written by Jervis Johnson.

The reason I was so surprised was because back in the year 2000 an article appeared in White Dwarf #244 entitled 'Civil War!' by Yours Truly.

Along with the main article there was published an example Civil War scenario involving the Skaven, called 'Warpstone'. And that original scenario still exists online here.

(Hm... Wonder if I'll be getting a writer's credit on the new expansion.)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Jonathan Green at the SFX Weekender 3

In less than two weeks time 4,000 science-fiction and fantasy fans will descend on Pontin's Prestatyn Sands to meet the likes of Sylvester McCoy, Alex Kingston, Brian Blessed and Eve Myles. And I'll be one of them.

But I'm not only going as a fan, I'm also going as a guest. And if all goes according to plan, I'm going to be hosting the 'How do you put the punk into steampunk?' panel on Friday 3 February at 5.00pm, featuring the likes of Robert Rankin, Stephen Hunt and Lavie Tidhar.

Later the same evening, from 7.00 - 8.00pm to be precise, the Kitschies awards ceremony will be taking place, when the year's most intelligent, progressive and entertaining genre literature - a.k.a. the 2011 Red, Inky, Golden and Black Tentacles - will all be revealed.

Then, on the Saturday morning, at the semi-respectable time of 11.00am, I shall be signing at the Rebellion stand, so if you're coming along, drop by and say "Hi" and thrust copies of your favourite Pax Britannia novels or Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in front of me - or even my newest Doctor Who adventure* - and I'll happily deface them for you with a permanent marker. Now I can't say fairer than that, can I?

Now if I can just shift this cold and sore throat before then...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Hell Train launch

So, on Thursday evening I popped along to Foyles for the launch of Christoper Fowler's Hell Train (published by Solaris Books). The event kicked off with Chris in conversation with Jon Oliver (Editor-in-chief of both Abaddon and Solaris Books), with the audience then being invited to ask questions afterwards, and finally there was a chance for Mr Fowler to sign some books.

Jonathan Oliver and Christopher Fowler in conversation.

My copy of Hell Train, signed by Chris.

Chris is a fascinating man with an amazing past - he was the guy who came up with the tag line 'In space, no one can hear you scream' - and I could have sat an listened to him talk all night. Fortunately I got to go for a drink with him afterwards and got to hear a few more of his, no doubt many, anecdotes. Chris was celebrating, having literally just finished his tenth Bryant and May book that afternoon, and Jon and David were celebrating because Abaddon/Solaris won Publisher of the Year in the This is Horror 2011 awards.

Was it something I said?

At the local alehouse I also got the chance to catch up with champion of geek culture Anne Perry (of Pornokitsch and The Kitschies fame), fellow Abaddon scribe Bex Levene and David Moore of Abaddon/Solaris. I tell you, any fans of the Pax Britannia series out there would have loved to have been able to eavesdrop on the conversation we were having.

I also got to chat to Will Hill properly for the first time (he of Department 19 fame) having only met in passing a couple of times before that - and online, of course. And last, but by no means least, I chatted with Clifford Beal, Solaris Books' latest signing. His Civil War novel Gideon's Angel sounds simply awesome; you can find out more about it here.

Before the evening was through Jon, David, Will and myself made a pact, involving the first night of the SFX Weekender. As to what that is, I'll leave you guessing for now, but if David and I stick to our other pact you may find out during the course of the Weekender itself.

David Moore, Will Hill and Jon Oliver (again).

And talking of the SFX Weekender, check in again tomorrow for some big news (well it's big as far as I'm concerned).

Friday, 20 January 2012

More writers on writing

Some Black Library-related updates today...

Josh Reynolds has published a video in which comics legend Alan Moore gives some... interesting, shall we say?... advice to the unpublished writer.

And Rob Sanders (who does a great line in soundtrack advice) has been interviewed about his work for the Black Library over at Imagined Realms.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Leviathan Rising - a new review

Not read my Pax Britannia mash-up of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and James Cameron's The Abyss, Leviathan Rising yet?

Still need persuading?

Then check out this new review by David Kenyon:

I've always loved those old Jules Verne stories and this story in it's underwater setting provided plenty of references to those undersea escapades, this time accompanied by the dashing Quicksilver and his faithful manservant Nimrod as they piece together a murder mystery at the bottom of the sea. There were enough red herrings not to mention some rather gory murders as one by one they are killed off. Coupled with the threat of being eaten by giant sharks and bio-mechanical giant squids and you have yet more exciting set pieces that Green excelled at in Unnatural History...

The writing is imaginative and witty without being dogged down by too much exposition and detail, but the world is very vivid in my mind and I had no trouble immersing myself in the inky brine of the Kraken's embrace... take the dive into the world of Pax Britannia. You will be 'suckered' into it's embrace.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Artists round-up

I regularly link to updates posted online by various writers I know, or whose blogs I follow, but I've also been fortunate to work with a number of artists over the years and am a fan of comic artwork, so today I present the first in an occasional series of artist round-ups.

Let's start with Leigh 'Defoe' Gallagher, 2000AD artist extraordinaire, who has posted about what's involved in creating a new comic strip character (in this case Aquila, written by Gordon Rennie) and the design process behind the creation of new monsters.

Then there's Karl Richardson (who some of you will remember from Black Library's Lone Wolves graphic novel) on creating a 2000AD cover featuring Dan Abnett's new strip Grey Area.

The creation of another 2000AD cover now, this time by Matt Brooker (a.k.a. D'israeli) after Japanese print-master Katsushika Hokusai.

And lastly for this update, there's Simon 'Pye' Parr, with some rather more design-oriented... stuff!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Public Lending Right loans - 2010/2011

So my Public Lending Right statement for the year July 2010 to June 2011 arrived today, informing me how many people have borrowed my books from libraries in that time. For each loan I earn a few pence - a mount which is steadily decreasing due to government cuts.

For those of you who may be interested, here's the list of my top ten most borrowed books for July 2010 - June 2011 (with last year's placing in brackets):

1. (1) The Horror of Howling Hill (Mar 08)
2. (4) Crisis on Coruscant (Jan 10)
3. (-) Night of the Necromancer (Apr 10)
4. (-) Blood Royal (Jun 10)
5. (6) Stormslayer (Sep 09)
6. (3) Howl of the Werewolf (Sep 07)
7. (2) The Official Doctor Who Annual 2010 (Aug 09)
8. (10) Bloodbones (Sep 06)
9. (6) Curse of the Mummy (Apr 07)
10. (-) Bloodbones (Sep 06)*

my most borrowed book for the third year running!

* In case you're wondering, Bloodbones appears twice on the list because it is registered as two different editions.

Hammer and Bolter: Year One

Available now from Black Library, the Hammer and Bolter: Year One eBook collects the first twelve issues of the digital magazine (inheritor of Inferno! magazine's legacy), including 36 short stories from the worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, the serialised novel Phalanx plus extracts of other books and interviews.

It is the largest eBook Black Library has ever produced, and if you order this compilation now you will save almost 20% over buying each issue individually.

And of course among the 36 short stories is my own Warhammer tale Sir Dagobert's Last Battle.

So what are you waiting for? You can buy Hammer and Bolter: Year One here.

Space Marines

I have recently embarked on a new Space Marines story for Black Library and so decided it was time to dust off my previous Space Marines stories for the reading public.

First off there are my Space Marine novels that are now in print again, thanks to the wonders of Print on Demand technology.

Here's what fans have been saying about The Armageddon Omnibus:


Love this omnibus...

Amazing omnibus, been looking for these books a long time, great writing, my new favorite BL author.

And here's what they've had to say about Iron Hands:

This is a great book and well worth the read I have a copy of when it first came out and I am now rereading it again its just as good if not better the second time around.

[A] fracking awesome, Space Marine novel, I loved it from start to finish.

Don't forget, you can also pick up my Imperial Fists short story But Dust in the Wind for the eReader of your choice here.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Friday the 13th... Unlucky for some

Yes, I know it's not Friday the 13th today, but last Friday (which was the 13th) the shortlists for The Kitschies 2011 were announced*.

Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein was put forward for consideration by my publishers but it wasn't to be this time, although fellow steampunk author** Lavie Tidhar did make the shortlist for Best Novel - the coveted Red Tentacle - for Osama: A Novel.

The winners of the Red Tentacle, the Golden Tentacle (for best newcomer) and Inky Tentacle (for best cover artist) will be announced on Friday 3 February at the SFX Weekender***.

However, all is not lost as far as Anno Frankenstein is concerned! Oh no!

You see the Tor.com 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards are now taking votes, until until 11:59 PM Friday, 20 January.

Notice the word 'Readers' in the title? That's right, it means that you the book buying (and presumably reading) public get to choose. Basically it's a popularity contest but one that Anno Frankenstein, with the right backing, might just have a shot at.

So whaddya say? Simply click this link and in the comments section after the blog post about the awards, type the title of the novel (Anno Frankenstein), the author's name (Jonathan Green), and if you want to the name of the publisher (Abaddon Books) as well.

And it's not just Anno Frankenstein that's eligible. In the Best Short Fiction category, I have a couple of stories published by Black Library that were both published last year, the 40K story But Dust in the Wind and the Warhammer tale Sir Dagobert's Last Battle.

So, what are you waiting for? If you vote for me I'll be eternally grateful. ;-)

* Provoking no end of Internet interest such as here, here and on the Guardian website here.

** He'll hate me for saying that.

*** Good luck, Lavie!