Saturday, 30 June 2012

Short Story Saturday: Small Press Expo at Forbidden Planet

Today I shall be a guest of the Small Press Expo taking place at the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue in central London.

Authors and editors from Newcon Press, Pandemonium Fiction (a.k.a. Jurassic London), Myrmidon Books and Snowbooks, will be present, including Nina Allan, Christopher Priest, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Pat Cadigan, Sophia McDougall, Lavie Tidhar, Rod Rees, Gareth L Powell, Kim Lakin-Smith, Una McCormack, Ian Whates, Paul Kane, Marie O'Regan, Andy West, Mark West, Rebecca J Payne, Theresa Derwin, Ben Baldwin, Adele Wearing, Esther Saxey, David Thomas Moore, Russell Whitfield, Glen Mehn, Thomas Emson, Alan Baker, Danny Acacio, Sarah Anne Langton and Yours Truly.

You will be able to pick up the last of the hardback limited edition copies of Pandemonium Fiction's Stories of the Smoke on the day - which features my short story Necropolis. Also launching on the day are Newcon Press’s fabulous Hauntings anthology.

The event runs from 1.00 - 2.30 so if you're in London today, why not stop by and say hello?

Also taking place today are the Love Charing Cross Road (in which Foyles and Blackwells on Charing Cross Road are joining together with other local businesses to hold a day-long festival, at the start of Independent Booksellers Week and National Reading Group Day) and the COMICS BIG-TOP OF AWESOME at King's Cross.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Gamebook Friday - Part 2: The Greatest Evil Genius Within the World of Fantasy Gamebooks

The Tin Man* directed me to this exhaustive playthrough/review of my Gamebook Adventure Temple of the Spider God the other day.

The best part of it, as far as I'm concerned, is this quote in reference to myself (which will probably end up at the top of the page on this very blog):

"Quite possibly the greatest evil genius within the world of Fantasy gamebooks - I like to think that's a wonderful compliment."

I've never been called an evil genius before!

And in case you're wondering what Temple of the Spider God is like (it's coming out for Android platforms later this year) check out these reviews, facts and figures.

"An adventure that will keep fans of the genre spellbound... A splendidly written interactive fantasy story that will keep you hooked until the very end... If a Gamebook Adventure is what you're after, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than this." - POCKETGAMER (8 out of 10 review)

"A series of lovingly crafted and extremely well-written interactive fantasy novels." - THE GUARDIAN

• Pocket Gamer 2012 Awards Best Adventure/RPG Game nominee!
• Best App Ever Awards 2011 2nd place!
• #1 ranked iPad Dice Game in 10 countries and top #10 ranked iPad RPG Game in 15 countries.
• Top #5 ranked iPhone Dice Game in 16 countries and top #10 RPG Game in 7 countries including US, UK, Canada and Australia!

You can currently purchase Temple of the Spider God for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad here.

* That's Neil Rennison of Tin Man Games for those of you not in the know.

Gamebook Friday: An Interview with Ian Livingstone

Ian Livingstone was recently interview by MCV Pacific about everything from Fighting Fantasy and Tin Man Games to Lara Croft and Tomb Raider.

You can read Part 1 of the interview here, and Part 2 here.

Ian Livingstone has also been interviewed by EDGE magazine in which Tin Man Games also get a mention. You can read this particular interview here.

“Social media has really fired me up. I find connecting directly with readers inspiring. I’m really excited.
“It was not a commercial decision to release Blood of the Zombies. I’ve met so many people who enjoyed the book as kids and are now in their thirties, and it’s staggering - and quite humbling - how they hark back to their childhood memories of Fighting Fantasy.”

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Small Press Expo

In case you don't already follow the Pornokitsch blog* you won't know that I'll be one of the guests attending the Small Press Expo taking place at the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue in central London.

To find out more details, click this link.

The event runs from 1.00 - 2.30 so if you're in London on Saturday, why not stop by and say hello?

* And if not, why not?

Steampunk Thursday: Literary Junk Food

The quote below comes from this review of my Ulysses Quicksilver festive short Christmas Past:

"Green's writing is the literary equivalent of your favorite junk-food - it's bad for you, but you enjoy it anyhow."


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Warhammer Wednesday: Treacheries of the Space Marines

Apparently this now exists!

The Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes are the defenders of mankind, the ultimate superhuman brotherhood standing against the evils of the galaxy. But even among their hallowed ranks, there are those who would turn their backs on their brothers and follow the path of the traitor. Gathered within these pages, you will find tales from the dark side of the Imperium – remember, that which can defend, can also betray...

New York Times bestselling editor Christian Dunn presents a selection of short stories from some of Black Library’s finest authors: Anthony Reynolds, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Matthew Farrer, Sarah Cawkwell and many more.

I'm included among the 'many more'.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Tie-in Tuesday: The Yellow Peril

Today's blog post should really be titled Tenuous Tie-in Tuesday, since it's actually a post about Warhammer 40K (but the work I do for Black Library is still a form of franchise fiction).

I received my subscription issue of White Dwarf on Saturday (#391 for those keeping count) which is all about* the new edition of Warhammer 40,000. And what did I find on the Black Library page?

That's right - Herald of Oblivion is so close I can almost smell the yellow paint of the Imperial Fists' armour. Keep checking the Direct Exclusives page of the Black Library website so you know when my first Path to Victory gamebook is unleashed upon the world.

* And I mean ALL!

Monday, 25 June 2012

World's Collider - A Shared-World Anthology

You don't have long to wait now, for World's Collider (something of a small press experiment) is going to be released on 10 July. This shared-world anthology kicks off with my own contribution, a short story called Wraith Lights.

The Collision is the worst disaster in human history. So far… 

In the near future, an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider causes an enormous explosion, known as the Collision. The blast flattens a huge chunk of central Europe and punches a massive hole in the Earth’s surface. Over the next decade, unspeakable horrors pour from the rift: vicious creatures with a taste for human flesh, a terrible scream that drives all who hear it insane, a phantom entity that feeds on fear and paranoia, and a nightmare train from the pits of hell, to name but a few. This onslaught of terror causes the collapse of civilization and threatens to wipe humanity from the planet. 

Fifty million people died in the Collision. They were the lucky ones…

World's Collider is published by Nightscape Press and can pre-order your copy here.

Pax Britannia: Black Swan - voting closes today!

If you've now had a chance to download and read Time's Arrow: Black Swan you've only got until the end of the day to vote for how you would like the story to continue.

Simply head over to the Abaddon Facebook page and post 'A' or 'B' after the status update that starts 'WHAT WILL COME OF OUR DASHING HERO NEXT?'

Or, alternatively, you can email your choice of 'A' or 'B' to

Do it! Do it now! (Or I'll send the cyber-gorilla after you*.)

* Or maybe not.

Thought for the Day

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”
~ Eugène Ionesco, Romanian and French playwright (1909-94)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Writers Round-up

That's right, it's time for another round-up of what other writers have been saying lately on the Internetz.

Here's my editor Jon Oliver on choosing the right story.

Here's Sarah Pinborough on happiness.

Here's Graham McNeill on where he gets his ideas from.

Here's Rob Sanders on Jabberwocky - my own inspiration for White Rabbit.

Here's Nik Vincent on people who write too much.

And finally, here's Dan Abnett on the benefits of looking out a window.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Short Story Saturday: Phobophobia

Dean M Drinkel's horror anthology Phobophobia - featuring my short story Fear to Tread - has been featured on the German website Zauberspiegel International.

Just can find out more by clicking this link.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Gamebook Friday: Blood of the Zombies

In case anyone missed the news on the official Fighting Fantasy website last Friday...

We are delighted to give the world the first look at the cover of Ian Livingstone’s Blood of the Zombies.It was painted by renowned comic book artist Greg Staples who is best known for his work on 2000AD, particularly Judge Dredd. Ian wanted a cover that had a future-retro look. 

He wanted to rekindle memories for people who enjoyed the series in the 1980s, but also to bring the style of the cover up-to-date for the modern audience. He worked closely with Greg on the composition of the cover in trying to capture the threatening mood of a classic Fighting Fantasy cover. 

The original Fighting Fantasy logo has been re-drawn for the book and Ian has also confirmed that Wizard Books have agreed to put a green spine on it! Blood of the Zombies will be published in the first week of August.

You saw it here first, now pass it on, tell your friends, tweet and blog it. The Zombies are coming to a book shop near you soon.

And in other news, Neil Rennison (the Tin Man of Tin Man Games) has been talking to Touch Arcade about gaining the licence to produce apps based on Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. To read the interview follow this link.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Happy Litha!

Today - 21 June - is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the subject of a play by Will Shakespeare.

That's right - the SUMMER solstice. And guess what? It's raining here in good old Blighty!

Of course the solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice a year when the tilt of the Earth's axis is most inclined toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun's apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme.

It is on this the day - also known as Midsummer's Day - that the sun appears at its most northerly point, which results in it being the day with the most hours of daylight. From here on in the nights begin to get shorter again until we reach the winter solstice in December.

The name 'solstice' is derived from two Latin words, sol, meaning 'sun', and sistere, meaning 'to stand still', because at the solstice, the Sun appears to stand still in declination - in other words, the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.

People welcoming the sun rise on Midsummer's Day at Stonehenge in Wiltshire

Every 21 June hundreds of people travel to Stonehenge in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise. At this moment, the sun shines on the famous Heel Stone. For those of the Druidic faith, this is a very important moment of the year. Druidic celebrations also take place on Midsummer's Eve. Bonfires are lit to show respect for the Sun God, whose power is greatest at the Summer Solstice. The fires also represent an attempt to ward off the coming winter. Practice of this ancient ritual, which also includes a Summer Solstice Circle Dance, is now mainly confined to Cornwall, the West Country, and London's Hampstead Heath.

"So why 'Happy Litha'?" I hear you cry.

The name Litha may come from Saxon tradition - and is the opposite of Yule. On this longest day of the year, light and life are abundant. At mid-summer, the Sun God has reached the moment of his greatest strength. Seated on his greenwood throne, he is also lord of the forests, and his face is seen in church architecture peering from countless foliate masks. The Christian religion converted this day of Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (rather like the Greek Demi-God Pan).

The Green Man of Wells Cathedral Undercroft

If you fancy having your own solstice celebration but you can't get down to Stonehenge yourself, next year why not hire your own replica henge from these guys?


Not long to go now...

Steampunk Thursday: The Great Elephant

OMGGM* it's Hannibal, the pachyderm-droid from Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein!

Actually it's The Machines de l'Ile's Great Elephant.

12 metres high, 8 metres wide and 21 metres long, this incredible contraption weighs 48.4 tons. Constructed of wood and metal, motive power is provided by a 450 horsepower engine. It includes an indoor lounge with French windows and balconies, and there is a terrace accessible by stairs.On, and it travels at a speed of ​​1-3 km per hour.

And while we're on the subject of all things steampunk, and  Anno Frankenstein in particular, don't forget that the Victorian Steampunk Society is launching a series of awards voted for by UK Steampunks attending The Asylum each year.

These are awards for work first published/released between January 1 and December 31, 2011, and will be made for a tangible piece of work, which means that Anno Frankenstein is eligible.

But even if you're not attending The Asylum yourself this year, you can still suggest a category and nominate in it. The best suggestions will incorporate into the awards. These forms will be used to draw up a shortlist of nominees, and of course being shortlisted is of course an accolade in itself. The voting form will be made available to all Asylum convention adult attendees and results will be announced at the Empire Ball.

Just so you know...

And lastly, there still time to vote for your preferred story ending to Time's Arrow: Black Swan.

Simply head over to the Abaddon Facebook page and post 'A' or 'B' after the status update that starts 'WHAT WILL COME OF OUR DASHING HERO NEXT?'

Or, alternatively, you can email your choice of 'A' or 'B' to

You have until 25 June 2012 to cast your vote.

* A vernacular term meaning 'Oh my goodness gracious me'.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Warhammer Wednesday: Shaking the Six Demon Bag

Rising Black Library star Joshua Reynolds kindly interviewed me for his blog recently. The interview was posted last Friday, but if you've not seen it yet you can find it here.

And in other Black Library-related news, I get a mention on Games Workshop's Games Day preview page, in relation to my Path to Victory gamebook Herald of Oblivion.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The David Gemmell Legend Awards 2012

On Friday night, while half the country were watching England get lucky against Sweden, I was fortunate enough to attend The David Gemmell Legend Awards at the Magic Circle in London.

Jared Shurin (of Pandemonium Fiction) checking out the night's auction lots.

The Magic Circle's very own magic circle.

Magic through the ages.

David Devant - first President of the Magic Circle. 

Following a drinks reception - in what has to be the most incredible venue I've ever been to, and at which there were very many familiar faces - everyone made their way upstairs to the theatre for the awards ceremony itself. After the auction (which helps to fund the Legend Awards), and an update on the football from renowned horror editor Stephen Jones (who was actually there to talk about World FantasyCon 2013), we moved onto the actual awards themselves.

In case you didn't know already (and apparently some people in Internetland knew before those of us who attended the actual awards) the winners were as follows:

Ravenheart Award (Best Cover Art)
Raymond Swanland - Blood of Aenarion

Morningstar Award (Best Debut)
Helen Lowe - Heir of Night

Legend Award (Best Fantasy Novel)
Patrick Rothfuss - The Wiseman's Fear

I must confess I was there, in part, to support the Black Library team, especially William King. However, I've also met Joe Abercrombie and have great respect for his work. It's a shame one of them didn't win the Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel... I really feel that those nominees who actually turn up deserve some extra credits for making the effort!

The name's King... William King.

Mr and Mrs Joe Abercrombie.

Anyway, after the awards it was back to the Magic Museum for more drinks and some nibbles too, and plenty of socialising with a very entertaining crowd. Highlights for me included having a good old chin-wag with Bill King, meeting BL editor Graeme Lyon, catching up with Jenni Hill, Anne Perry and Jared Shurin, chatting with Tom Pollock about the very cool ideas he's putting into his next novel (that's a cross between Alice Through the Looking Glass and 1984), and meeting Marc and Paul from Fantasy Faction - especially as Marc told me he must have played Theme Park Panic about 200 times as a child!

Marc Aplin and Paul Wiseall of Fantasy Faction.
(Sonic fan and Turtles fan, respectively.)

Den Patrick and Sarah Pinborough - and there's David Devant again, looking on, with eyebrow raised.

Anne Perry and Jenni Hill - both of whom have had the dubious pleasure of editing my work.

Of course, as always, there were a lot more people I should have spoken to but didn't really get a chance to. If you were one of them, I apologise. Maybe next time.

Having said my goodbyes a number of us then moved on to the bar at a local hotel, only for me to bump into everyone I'd just said goodbye to again.

Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan - horror's happiest couple.

And we end with a caption competition. What is top author Sarah Pinborough saying to top editor Gillian Redfearn?

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About...

I've had two titles published in America (by Skyhorse Publishing) in the Miscellany range.

Scottish Miscellany came out in 2010 but has only just received its first Amazon review - but it was worth the wait!

Fantastic book! It is full of great history on Scotland, Scottish lore, famous Scots, just about anything you want to know about the land, it's people and customs! A great read and a good reference book you'll go back to time and again! (5 out of 5)

Christmas Miscellany (called What is Myrrh Anyway? in the UK) came out a year earlier, in 2009, and has so far received two reviews on One was 5 out of 5 again, but the one which really interested me was this:

This book is meant to give insight into Christmas traditions and is kind of a hodge podge of of tidbits with no particular order. It does contain good information like answering the question about what are the twelve days of Christmas? What is the yule log,etc.? The author is not a historian however, and makes, in my opinion, wrong historical assessments. For example, the fact is that there is more historical evidence for the birth of Jesus being on December 25th than there is against. Yet the author does not share any arguments in either direction, but parrots those who say that Jesus was not born in December. This book, though having some good information does take a poor view of the Church.

Wrong historical assessments, eh? The writing of Christmas Miscellany involved a very great deal of research and I would love to know what research the reviewer has to back up the statement, "there is more historical evidence for the birth of Jesus being on December 25th than there is against". Really?

Oh and I do not feel that I, "take a poor view of the Church". I was raised as a Christian and have great respect for the Church. What I don't have great respect for is people who's faith is so easily shaken by having elements of dogma challenged and questioned.

Anyway, if you've not read  Scottish Miscellany or Christmas Miscellany yet, do so and then you can make your own assessment of the quality of my historical research.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Gamebook Friday: 20 Minutes

I appeared in the French press yesterday... Or rather my book Bloodbones did...Or rather a piece about the re-issue of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (along with some new titles) in French, inspired by the release of Le Pirate de l’Au-delàaccompanied by Tony Hough's artwork.

You can find a link to a translation of the article here.

Imagine if you opened your copy of the Metro on the Tube one morning to find a piece about Fighting Fantasy...

Apparently the next FF book to appear in French will be Night of the Necromancer - or rather Nuit du Nécromancien!

Gamebook Friday: The Magma Beast

This is an interesting story (at least I think so) and one I've been meaning to tell for a while...

Every once in a while (being the slightly vain, slightly insecure writer that I am) I search the internet for things relating to my books. Sometimes these are pictures. So anyway, a while ago I stumbled on this beautiful painting of the Eye of the Storm from my Fighting Fantasy gamebook Stormslayer.

Out of curiosity I then started looking for pictures of other things people might have illustrated based on Stormslayer. I came across this...

And these...

And finally this.

To me this last painting absolutely had to be the Magma Beast that appears during the course of the adventure, as the hero's exploring the heart of an active volcano. The composition, the way the Magma Beast was looming from the lava river, the inclusion of the templar character... It was too much of a coincidence.

So I searched for more Magma Beasts... and came up with loads!

Some of them again looked like they could have been based on Stormslayer. If this was the case, why the sudden glut of images, I wondered.

Well I did a little digging and it turns out that it wasn't a coincidence and many of these images were based on my gamebook, because Stephen Player (who originally illustrated Stormslayer) teaches a sci-fi/fantasy illustration class somewhere in the US of A. He had used that particular encounter from the book as inspiration for his students.

It's a funny old world, isn't it.

By the way, if any of you stumble across/know of/have illustrated scenes, characters or monsters from any of my books/short stories I'd love to see them. Maybe I could display them in a gallery a la Tony Hart.