Friday, 30 November 2012

Gamebook Friday: Turn to 400

There may be less than two hours to go, but it's still possible to save Turn to 400, the Fighting Fantasy documentary from oblivion.

Sean Riley has already raised over £15,000 but still needs another £25,000 to make his film a reality. So if you won the Lottery this week, or have recently inherited a bob or two, YOU could be the hero and make this documentary happen! Check out his Kickstarter page and pledge as much as you can afford - NOW!

NaNoWriMo Revisited

Thirty days ago* I posted that I had signed up to NaNoWriMo again this year. The intention was to clear the backlog of work I've had on my schedule of late. And did it work?

In a word? No.

The trouble is that as a jobbing writer, new jobs can come along at any time, often accompanied by a tight deadline**. As a result, I've not finished the jobs I was planning on finishing, but have completed several others.

And my conclusion? That NaNoWriMo just isn't for professionals. And will I do it again next year? Never say never.

My NaNoWriMo profile today.

* Is it really thirty days? Where did the time go?

** I've also been trying to get a Kickstarter off the ground, but more about that another day (I hope).

Gamebook Friday: Stormslayer

Can you believe it's over three years since my sixth Fighting Fantasy gamebook was published? I can't. And yet inevitably, as with other books of mine, some people are only just discovering it for the first time.

If I'm honest, Stormslayer has received some mixed reviews since its publication. Sci-Fi Online loved it, giving it a grand 9 out of 10. The Fantasy Book Review also gave it a storming 9 out of 10. On Goodreads it (currently) scores a healthy 4 out of 5. (Mrs Giggles hated it, but then that's par for the course.) In some cases, it's the art that people have had the most issues with (although I still love the picture of the Eye of the Storm).

The book has never received many reviews on Amazon but for a while it was averaging 4.5 out of 5. However, a new, lacklustre review has recently gone up

This isn't the best of Jonathan Green's contributions to the Fighting Fantasy series but, as usual for him, it is a fabulously detailed, well written and constructed adventure which creates a viable world capable of immersing the reader.

It possesses all the traits of his other books - the imaginatively conceived monsters and villains, the heavy investigative element, the variety of areas that can be visited in numerous orders for different effects and a main villain heavily defended by powerful minions. Although these things are intelligently constructed by Green, his style and approach are becoming more familiar and, as such, easier to predict. If you are used to Green's previous adventures you will probably be able to guess at how to act within certain scenarios.

Many of Green's adventures rely heavily upon a certain theme and this book is no exception, taking elementalism as its focus. Elementalism, which of course frequently appears in gamebooks, has previously been utilised to great affect within 'Island of the Undead' and 'Return to Firetop Mountain'. These adventures relied on linking elementalism with some form of necromancy though whereas 'Stormslayer' combines it with a steampunk influence. This leads to the inclusion of 'weapons of mass desctruction' style machines. As interesting and inventive as the giant flying fish machine is it does feel a little anachronistic as it glides like a spaceship over the surface of the fantasy world of Titan. And, despite many original ideas within this book, the fish machine and your pursuit of it feels a bit like a copy of 'Tower of Destruction' at times.

Some of the steampunk fusion creatures are novel and interesting and others a little amusing (brass monkeys in a cold environment for example) but I found the main villain, elementalist Balthazar Sturm, to be a bit weak. He comes across as more of an irritating and spoilt child than as a devious and dangerous villain.

There are a lot of extra rules included that all seem to work quite well (which is not always the case within the FF series). Keeping track of the days of the week and how they effect the elements within the scenarios is fairly effective. Some of the items to be found also react very well with the various environments and show a lot of thought. However, I have never been a fan of the idea writing codewords down on you adventure sheet and this book makes this process particularly tedious and a little confusing.

This book, like many of Green's , can be a little tricky. This is mainly to do with taking the right directions and visiting the right places in the right order. This can be quite frustrating and it is entirely possible to mess up you adventure from you first choice of direction. A lot of the trials can be overcome with logic and reason but a lot of this book also relies on the trial and error approach.

There's plenty positive in there, but there's plenty I would disagree with, naturally, especially about the steampunk elements seeming anachronistic (what about the Brass Golem from Blacksand?) and the final race to board the Eye of the Storm being too similar to Tower of Destruction.

And with regard to the last point, it seems to me that some people have forgotten that gamebooks aren't supposed to be completable on the first go, just like video games. How many times have I died in Skyrim in the last few days...? And let's not forget that the book has inspired some awesome fan art!

Anyway, if you've not read the book, or it's been a while since your last read through, isn't it time YOU gave Stormslayer another go?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Steampunk Thursday: The Lord of Time's Arrow


Yes, I know, I'm doing the Lego thing again. But the reason this time is because Matt Zitron* very kindly sent me a Lord of the Rings Lego kit of Frodo relaxing at home, as a thank you for dedicating Time's Arrow to his son Isaac.

So it only remains for me to say, "Thanks, Matt!"

* Who won the chance to 'appear' in my latest Pax Britannia novel Time's Arrow in the Genre for Japan auction.

Steampunk Thursday: JG at Weekend at the Asylum

Back at the start of September (when it was still warm!) I attended Weekend at the Asylum. While I was there, Vishnu AV Productions videoed me - along with the other contributors - for a film they were making about the event.

Well, the finished film is now online, and despite the corporate video titles, it gives you a pretty good idea of what Weekend at the Asylum was like. In case you're interested, my brief segment appears at around the 11 and a half minute mark.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Forthcoming Events

I shall be attending Dragonmeet this Saturday 1 December, and generally hanging out with the Tin Man and the Warlock at the Fighting Fantasy stand. Also in attendance will be Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, Ralph Horsley, Sarah Newton, and the guys from Cubicle 7 (who are actually organising everything). If you see me on Saturday, do come and say "Hi!"

I shall also be a guest at next year's Sci-Fi Weekender - 1-3 March 2013 - where I shall hosting at least one panel, taking part in a signing session or two, and hopefully selling some of my books. Gav Thorpe is also going, and the two of us have been cooking up some ideas for the weekend - but more on that another time. The doyenne of crime-horror Sarah Pinborough herself shall also be in attendance.

And that's your lot for now. Until next time...

Warhammer Wednesday: Talisman Prologue

If you're a hardcore gamer who's getting a bit long in the tooth, then you may well remember Talisman from its early days as a boardgame back in the 1980s. There have been various iterations since, including the Fourth Edition - as illustrated by the inestimable Ralph Horsley - but 2012 sees it transfer to the PC.

If you're a fan of fantasy, boardgames, or Games Workshop then you should check out Talisman Prologue from Nomad Games for yourself. I've already whiled away far too many hours playing the game, and have so far completed all of the Warrior's quests. If you think you'd like to do the same, then follow this link.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

World's Collider - An Apocalyptic Shared-World Anthology - FREE NOW!

Got a Kindle (or other eReader)? Like free stuff? Like stories about the end of the world? Like stuff written by me?

Then World's Collider is for you! And best of all, it's free for the next two days! Follow this link to grab what is quite literally a bargain today!

And while we're on the subject of World's Collider there are some more great reviews of the book to be found here.

Tie-in Tuesday: Moshi Monsters - The Night Before Twistmas

My Moshi Monsters book The Night Before Twistmas has been getting some love on Amazon* (and elsewhere) of late**. Here's what people have been saying about it:

"Funny and well written..."

"A funny spin on a classic..."

"I would say any Moshi fan will love and enjoy reading it."

"All monsters getting ready for Twistmas read it!"

If you've not done your Christmas shopping yet, remember to add The Night Before Twistmas to your Christmas list.

* The highest ranking I've seen for the book thus far is '207 in Books' and '#66 in Children's Books' which I think is quite high.

** In some cases from parents who have clearing already started, or maybe even completed, their Christmas shopping!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Thought for the Day

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything good."

~ William Faulkner, American writer and Nobel Prize laureate

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Only one month to go...

... until Christmas Day!

Which means it won't be long before I dust off The Chrismologist's advent calendar, ready for another year.

So, come 1 December, make sure you check out for a new fascinating festive fact every day...


Bow before your robot overlords!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Short Story Saturday: Resurrection Engines

There's only one week to go now until the release of Resurrection Engines and the book is available for pre-order on Amazon here.

And here's the full table of contents...

The Soul-Eaters of Raveloe by Alison Littlewood

A Journey To The Centre Of The Moon by Alan K. Baker

She-Who-Thinks-For-Herself by Juliet E. McKenna

The Great Steam Time Machine by Brian Herbert and Bruce Taylor

Silver Selene by Philip Palmer

White Fangoria by Roland Moore

The God Of All Machines by Scott Harrison

The Crime Of The Ancient Mariner by Adam Roberts

There Leviathan by Jonathan Green

The Island Of Peter Pandora by Kim Lakin-Smith

The Ghost Of Christmas Sideways by Simon Bucher-Jones

Talented Witches by Paul Magrs

Fairest Of Them All by Cavan Scott

Tidewrack Medusa by Rachel E. Pollock

Robin Hood And The Eater Of Worlds by Jim Mortimore

Friday, 23 November 2012

Happy Doctor Who Day!

49 years ago today, at 17:16:20 GMT on 23 November 1963, the first ever episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on BBC television. It is already the longest running sci-fi show in the world, but next year it will research its golden anniversary.

I am very proud to say that I have been privileged enough to add to the Doctor Who mythos in my own small way and you can find out more about my contributions here.

With regards to the Epic Rap Battle of History below, there can be only one winner - no question!

Gamebook Friday: Temple of the Spider God... only 99 cents!

That's right - Temple of the Spider God is available for download now from the Apple App store for only 99 cents. That's 62p in English money. A can of Coke will cost you more than that down your local newsagent.

So if you've yet to pick up the Gamebook Adventure that came 2nd in the Best App Ever Awards 2011, and was also a Pocket Gamer 2012 Awards Best Adventure/RPG Game nominee, follow this link to the US App store, and this link to the UK one.

But just make sure you do so before the end of play on 25 November when this current promotion ends!

Gamebook Friday: Turn to 400

Another Gamebook Friday, another gamebook-related Kickstarter project. This time it's Turn to 400, the Fighting Fantasy documentary.

Sean Riley needs £40,000 to make his film a reality and still has some way to go. So why not check out his Kickstarter page, watch the (really rather good) video, and pledge as much as you can afford.

Until next time...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Steampunk Thursday: New Pax Britannia Reviews

One of the things I love about being a writer, is that there is always somebody discovering something you've written for the first time, even if you originally wrote that particular book years ago.

Lately, there have been more new reviews of my Pax Britannia books going up online. Here are just some of the pleasing things people have been saying about the stories.

Blood Royal
I just love steampunk as long as it's done reasonably well, and this is. I've now read all of the series out in paperback and am eagerly awaiting the next one.They're all good although... Hell man, don't just sit there, go out and buy the damned things will you? For the good of the Empire!

Anno Frankenstein
I've now read all of the Pax Britannia series,including this stomach churning special, and I'm starting to turn into a bit of a steampunk fan-boy. I won't attempt to describe the plot, as it's as complicated as only a time-traveller's tale can be. Suffice it to say there's the usual mixture of SF, fantasy, and horror, and if you liked the other Quicksilver novels, you'll like this. Roll on the next one!*

The Ulysses Quicksilver Short Story Collection
This was my first taste of steampunk, and I've read Jonathan Green's Black Library books. This was a great introduction to the world of Pax Britannia. The last story is by far the best of the lot, well written and full of intrigue. Worth a read as it is just a fun read for all.

If these reviews have picqued your interest, you can check out the entire Pax Britannia series (and buy the books) here.

* And just for your information, the 'next one' in question is Time's Arrow, available now!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Next Big Thing: What Happened Next...

So last week, I talked about Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow as being The Next Big Thing (well from me at least). At the end of the post I tagged various other authors to answer the same questions I did this week - and some of them have!

Click the following links to find out what they had to say:

Cavan Scott

Joshua Reynolds

Sarah Cawkwell

Warhammer Wednesday: Free Shipping!

For the next two weeks, Black Library are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders from!

That means you can buy Herald of Oblivion, Iron Hands, The Armageddon Omnibus, the Necromunda Omnibus 2 and Daemonifuge (which features my Warhammer Warped Vision Mordheim-reworking of the award-winning story), without having to pay a penny for postage!

So if you've been putting off buying Herald of Oblivion (for example) due to the cost of postage, you have excuse not to buy it now!

Go on - treat yourself! After all, it is Christmas in five weeks time*.

* Crikey!

Warhammer Wednesday: Reviews of the Space Marines

This, it has to be said, totally awesome piece of artwork of a Howling Griffon Space Marine by Marek Okon will adorn The Space Marine Omnibus, coming next summer from Black Library.

The Space Marine Omnibus will collect together short stories from Victories of the Space Marines, Legends of the Space Marines and Treacheries of the Space Marines, all of which feature stories by Yours Truly (namely But Dust in the Wind, The Relic and Liberator).

Here's what some of Black Library's readers have been saying about the above anthologies and the stories contained within...

Treacheries of the Space Marines - Liberator
"Some cracking stories. Was rooting for the Emperor, but to no avail. Well written and worth a read."

"This is my first real sample of Jon Green and I like what I have read, I look forward to reading more of him in the future and I hope he has some full-length novels in his plans."

"In many ways, Treacheries of the Space Marines is a horror anthology..."

Legends of the Space Marines - The Relic
"The anthology in question, Legends of the Space Marines, was undoubtedly an excellent read... Kyme's, Scanlon's, Goto's, Swallows's, Green's and Bowden's stories were beyond a question wonderfully composed. Mister Green's plethora of unique story twists were wonderful..."

"Four Stars! Author Jonathan Green writes his story from the grand view point of a Dreadnought. I found it to be enlightening to say the least."

"The uniqueness of a story told from the perspective of a Dreadnought piqued my interest since I have yet to encounter a lengthy story with a Dreadnought as the main character."

Victories of the Space Marines - But Dust in the Wind
"Having not read anything by Jonathan Green in the past apart from a good short story in Legends of the Space Marines, I was pleased to see a new take on the Imperial Fists..."

"The sacrifice in the stories is almost palpable and the action is really spot on for the Space Marines."

"Imperial Fists Marines versus the robotic Necrons in a fight to the death. Green’s story shows us in no uncertain terms that even though victory comes with a cost, the fight is still worth fighting. And there’s a face off between genetically powered warriors and tomb dwelling robots which is done in the best possible way. You can’t lose really. (9/10)"

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tie-in Tuesday: The Night Before Twistmas

If you've yet to purchase The Night Before Twistmas for the Moshi Monsters fan in your life, have you considered getting it on the iPad? If that sounds like your sort of thing, follow this link.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Pax Britannia: Jonathan Green - SFX Interview

You may remember that at this a couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Dave Bradley of SFX Magazine.

Well in case you missed it (as I did to begin with) the interview went live last Thursday on To read what I had to say about the writing of Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow, follow this link.

Thought for the Day

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Call the Chrismologist!

It's getting to be that time of year again. In only five weeks' time people all over the world will be making their final preparations for Christmas. For some, those preparations include producing items of media, whether they be radio shows, TV programmes, or newspaper articles.

So, if you're wondering what to include this year, why not Call the Chrismologist? I am very happy to appear on radio or TV and have been interviewed for numerous pieces for the press before. Ask me your Christmas questions or simply consult my Christmas book What is Myrrh Anyway? to gather some ideas.

This is Horror - a.k.a. The Blood Fudge Incidient

So, on Friday night I was one of the guests at the launch of Joseph D'Lacey's new novel Blood Fugue, along with Pat Cadigan (who has once the coveted Arthur C Clarke award not once, but twice). The event was organised by Michael Wilson of This is Horror, and Den and Amelia of the Charing Cross branch of Blackwell's where the event was held.

Jasper Bark regaling the audience.

Jasper Bark - a.k.a the Voice of Horror - was compere for the evening and a very good job he did of it too. His research was thorough, his questions incisive and his faked allergic reaction to vegan Blood Fudge extreme. I know several people had 999 ready to go on their mobiles, until Jasper went completely 'zombie' and attacked Joseph. At that point, they just let him get on with it. (My copies of Blood Royal and Time's Arrow will never be the same again!)

Jasper Bark again, post 'zombie'.

I was first up and read an extract from White Rabbit - a certain Ulysses Quicksilver story of mine that earned me my commission for Jonathan Oliver's House of Fear - before Jasper probed me about my authorial voice, writing for different genres and properties, and the medium of short fiction.

Pat was up next. She gave an amazing reading of The Power and the Passion, which proved why she was never asked to write for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And then it was Joseph, an extract from Blood Fugue and the now already notorious Blood Fudge Incident.

Joseph D'Lacey reading from Blood Fugue.

It was my first This is Horror event and it was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I had a great time. The evening concluded with a panel discussion, about taboos and the breaking of them, and a few questions from the audience before Joseph got busy with his signing pen.

The authorial discussions continued down the road at the Spice of Life where I met Joseph's charming wife, Fiona, and got chatting with Robin the Pirate, Richard the Generous, and James De Carteret about everything from the human race as descendants of the most successful psychopaths to Mary Poppins as trickster deity, via zombies, fungi and dinosaurs.

The Unusual Suspects: (l-r) Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Green, Jasper Bark and Michael Wilson.

It just remains for me to thank Michael, Den, Amelia, Jasper, Pat and Joseph and I sincerely hope that there will be many more This is Horror events to come.

You can see more photos of the evening's shenanigans here.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Short Story Saturday: Resurrection Engines

Scott Harrison, editor of Resurrection Engines, dropped me an email the other day with the final cover for the paperback edition attached. And very smart it looks too...

The guys at Snowbooks have done a fantastic job and I can't wait to hold this book in my hands - and read everybody else's stories!

In case your eyesight is going the same way as mine, my contribution is a steampunkification of the classic American novel Moby Dick, called There Leviathan.

You can pre-order your own copy of Resurrection Engines here.


Friday, 16 November 2012

This is Horror, at Blackwell's tonight!

Just a quick post to remind you that I'm one of the guest authors appearing at the launch of Joseph D’Lacey’s new novel, Blood Fugue, at Blackwell’s Charing Cross London branch this evening. The event kicks off promptly at 6.00pm and will run through until about 8.00pm.

It will also feature a reading by Arthur C. Clarke award-winner, Pat Cadigan, and the whole shebang will be curated by the voice of horror himself, m'colleague Jasper Bark.

So, maybe I'll see some of you there tonight...

Pax Britannia Week: Steampunk Badges

The badges I designed and had made for this year's Weekend at the Asylum proved so popular that, based on customer feedback, I've had some more made.

So when you see me selling my books at a con in the future make sure you pick up one, or two... or more.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pax Britannia Week: Time's Arrow - the first review!

The following review (and the first, as far as I am aware) is by Matt Sylvester, founder of the Exonian Friendly Society of Steam & Burlesque. Take it away, Matt!

First things first, Jonathan Green is one of the most humble authors I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, almost as if he truly is not aware as to just how good he is. Fortunately, this makes writing this review easy.
Time's Arrow - released on November 13th 2012 - is the eleventh book in the Pax Britannia series under the Abaddon banner and the eighthUlysses Quicksilver adventure. For those not aware of who Ulysses is, the easiest way to describe him is as a mix of Bertie Wooster, the Scarlet Pimpernel, James Bond and the Saint. Only far cooler as he lives in a present-day Victorian Empire (if you want to know more, buy the books!). Not only that, this book was originally written in three parts and, this is what makes the book unique in my not so humble opinion, it was entirely driven by the wishes of the readers.
Jonathan initially started by writing the first third. When that was completed, he released it and asked the readers what they wanted to happen in the next installment. When this was written he did the same and wrote the third and final installment. I know of no other author that has approached writing his book in such a way and I have to say that I love this approach. Despite being broken down into three parts when he was writing it, the reader would never know that it had been broken down in such a way.
Time's Arrow, as with all of Jonathan's Pax Britannia books is packed with popular culture references. It was at a reading that he gave whilst speaking at Asylum 2012, that I asked whether he used to play a certain video game obliquely referenced in a pivotal moment of the story, and there were a number of other references, both subtle and unsubtle liberally sprinkled through the story, some of which made me chuckle and some that made me groan.
The story as a whole is just like the other Ulysses Quicksilver books, they start off at a nice quick trot and then start to canter. Before you know it, trumpets are sounding, lances are lowered and you find yourself charging full pelt in a flurry of excitement and action that keeps you turning the pages until you either reach the end of the book, or your legs turn numb and you realise that you have become one with Armitage Shanks.
Full of love-sick whores, terrorists, animal abuse, murder, bombs and beautiful women, as well as some time travel, this book is a perfect addition to anyone's bookcase - or kindle - and I heartily recommend that you purchase it, it is truly a tale of valour to divert and enthrall.
I heartily recommend that you get this book. Now.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Next Big Thing - Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow

Last week, both Steven Savile and Sarah Pinborough tagged me on blog posts of theirs as part of an ongoing chain of book/author recommendations called The Next Big Thing. So today it's my turn to answer the ten questions originated by Paul Magrs, then pass the reins on to five other writers who will be doing the same on their own blogs in a week's time. So, here goes...

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow, my eighth steampunk novel set within that particular universe.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

A combination of things really, as is the case with any book. There's a bit of King Kong in there, but Donkey Kong too, and Van Helsing, as well as the Hunchback of Notre Dame... But the driving force behind the plot for this book was the need to get the hero Ulysses Quicksilver back to Blighty having been away for the best part of three books!

I originally intended to go further, tying up elements that first appeared as far back as book 6, Dark Side, but then I realised I was trying too hard and decided to focus on telling a simpler story well, rather than a more complex one badly.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Mostly definitely Steampunk. That said, anyone who's heard me speak on the subject before will know that I consider Steampunk a flavour as much as a genre, so you could also say that Time's Arrow is a sci-fi-crime-thriller-action-adventure story, with added French people.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm... Tricky...

In my mind, Ulysses Quicksilver looks like Ulysses Quicksilver, and nobody else. That said, I could see someone like Julian Rhind-Tutt or Paul Bettany playing him on the big screen - or at least I could hear one of them playing him.

Maybe a young Sophie Marceau for the part of Cadence Bettencourt, or perhaps Louise Bourgoin.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Arriving at a murder scene, having travelled forward in time from the past, Ulysses Quicksilver is forced to go on the run through Paris, so that he might track down the real killer, clear his name, and save the woman he's loves from a most ill-advised trip to the moon - all befoer a terrorist known only as 'Le Papillon' brings the city to its knees.

(That's quite a long sentence, isn't it?)

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It's published by Abaddon Books, who have published all my other Pax Britannia novels to date.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Now that's a hard one! The book was written in three distinct parts at three distinct times, over the course of about a year. But I suppose in total it took three months to write, which is pretty much how long any novel takes me to write.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

My other Pax Britannia books. ;-)

But seriously, I don't read particularly widely within the Steampunk genre for fear of subconsciously copying someone else's ideas. I've read George Mann's The Affinity Bridge, and Lavie Tidhar's The Bookman, but it's nothing like either of those.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Ulysses Quicksilver and his ongoing adventures, and the fans of the Pax Britannia series who had been so nice about my previous titles.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

As far as I am aware it is the first of its kind. Because it was written and published in three parts, after parts one and two became available, in each case fans were able to go online and vote for how they would like the story to continue. Their choices completely influenced the course of the adventure.

The challenge was making such a story seem like it had been written in one go when it was published in novel form. Of course, the only way to judge if I succeeded with this is to read the book yourself.

So that's me done. I'm now had to tag five other authors to take their turn at answering the questions for The Next Big Thing. As a result, next week you can read about the books coming out from John Craven's ghostwriter Cav Scott, literary mercenary Josh Reynolds, master of monsters C L Werner, World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar, and rising Black Library star Sarah Cawkwell.