'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Happy St Andrew's Day!

Seeing as how it is the date in the calendar which is dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, here's a quick plug for my non-fiction book Scottish Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Scotland the Brave, which is published by Skyhorse Publishing.


Also available now from Skyhorse Publishing is a brand-new edition of my perennially popular Christmas Miscellany.


Steampunk Thursday: NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Final 48 hours!

NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! is down to its last two days of funding. If you've yet to back my new gamebook - which merges J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and Wendy with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, and gives the whole a steampunk twist - make sure you don't miss out and back today!


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Joe Dever - For Sommerlund and the Kai

Today marks one year since Lone Wolf creator Joe Dever sadly passed away all too soon. Here is the blog entry I posted the day after, when I had heard the news that rocked the gamebook and RPG community myself...


Joe Dever - 1956-2016

I met Joe Dever, for the first time, at Dragonmeet three years ago.

Joe Dever at Dragonmeet 2013.

Today I discovered that he passed away yesterday morning, after battling with ill-health for a long time. He was 60 years old.

If you are reading this blog, then you probably already know that Joe was the creator and writer of the Lone Wolf series of adventure gamebooks, which were set in the incredibly well-developed world of Magnamund.

Although I only met Joe in 2013, I had been aware of his works since the 1980s. I owned a few Lone Wolf adventures, but I personally preferred the Fighting Fantasy range because they provided the reader with more choices. I felt that Lone Wolf books were more like solo RPGs that wanted to be novels. This is probably why I actually preferred reading the Legends of Lone Wolf (co-authored with John Grant).

However, as I grew older I began to appreciate all the more what an incredible, and richly detailed, creation of the world of Magnamund was. Where the Fighting Fantasy world of Titan was a fantasy realm created by a committee who never met, and who rarely seemed to even speak to one another, Magnamund and Lone Wolf were the vision of one man, developed over decades.

Joe Dever at the UK Games Expo 2016.

When I did finally meet Joe, I found him to be affable and encouraging, always willing to chat about all things gamebook-related and pose for a photograph.

Joe Dever at Dragonmeet 2015.

From then on I caught up with Joe once or twice a year - usually at Dragonmeet and the UK Games Expo - and he was always interested in what I was working on, and I'm pleased to say I was able to give him a copy of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland on its launch day.

Dragonmeet will be a strange place without him this Saturday and he will be sadly missed by many, right around the world.

But although the man himself is lost to us - and there are still three uncompleted Lone Wolf adventures, which he was still working on up until Monday night - his work endures, and that is quite some legacy.

Or, to put it in the words of another much missed author: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...” ~ Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man


For Sommerlund and the Kai - RIP Joe Dever.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Gamebook Friday: Heroes, Freeway Fighers, and Pirates Vs Dinosaurs

There's all sorts of stuff happening this Gamebook Black Friday. First off, I have a special offer running from today until Cyber Monday, whereby if you buy a signed hardback copy of YOU ARE THE HERO or YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 from me direct, you will receive a signed copy of Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts, absolutely FREE! To place your order simply follow the instructions at the end of this link.


Secondly, tomorrow there is a Fighting Fantasy signing event at Forbidden Planet in London, where Ian Livingstone and Jim Burns (and hopefully artist Simon Coleby) will be signing copies of the collected trade paperback of Titan Comics' Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER. Unfortunately, writer Andi Ewington, letterer Jim Campbell and myself are not able to make it, but Andi and I have both signed book plates that will be available at the event from 1-2pm on Saturday.

Lastly, NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! has just one week left to run and it needs a bit of a push to get it over the finish line. If you've been thinking about pledging, now would be a great time to commit. And if you have already backed the project, please continue to spread the word to all and sundry. Remember, the more money the Kickstarter raises, the more impressive the finished book will be, and you won't be charged a penny until the Kickstarter ends at 10pm on Saturday 2nd December (and event then, only if the project actually funds).

Thank you for your support. :-)


Black Library Friday

Seeing as how it's Black Friday, and the Black Library still have several of my stories on sale, as either eBooks or Print on Demand titles, why not pop along to their website and buy one?

          

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Thanksgiving Thursday: Wishing you a Black River Christmas

Seeing as it's Thanksgiving today in the US, I thought it appropriate to focus on a couple of titles published by US publishers that I have had a hand in.

The first is Book 2 - or rather Level 2 - in The Black River Chronicles series by m'colleague David Tallerman (he of SHARKPUNK fame). I was thrilled when David asked me to write the introduction to his new book, The Ursvaal Exchange, and so, having had a sneak peek at the manuscript, that is precisely what I did.

Here's what Amazon has to say about the book, which is published by Digital Fantasy Fiction:

Student ranger Durren Flintrand had thought he was settling in at the Black River Academy for Swordcraft and Spellcraft. But when rebellious rogue Tia Locke uncovers a horrifying secret in the dungeons beneath the school, Durren quickly realises that the challenges he's faced so far were scant preparation for what lies ahead. Along with magic-averse wizard Arein and blunt but good-hearted fighter Hule, he and Tia find themselves on Black River's first student exchange program: they're being sent to the Shadow Mountain Academy in the dank and dismal land of Ursvaal, and they're going whether they like it or not.

At Shadow Mountain, things are done differently. No longer is Durren a ranger but a bard, despite his lacking the slightest notion of what being a bard involves. And not only that but Tia is acting even more strangely than usual, Hule is taking being a paladin awfully seriously, and Arein has a new party member with ideas very different to her own to contend with, in the shape of irascible cleric Cailliper Ancrux - who wants nothing less than to be involved with Shadow Mountain's unpopular newcomers.

The four Black River students will have to relearn everything they thought they knew; but the threats surrounding them aren't about to wait. Can they hope to survive an uprising of the dead, the winged horror that haunts this desolate land, and an ancient plot risen from the blackest depths of Ursvaal's history? And even if the somehow should, can Durren possibly overcome his tone deafness and learn to play the lute?

The second title I'm going to mention is one of mine. It's not a new book but rather a new edition of an old book.

Having already brought out a second edition of my Scottish Miscellany, which has always been popular in the States, this month Skyhorse Publishing is releasing a new edition of my Christmas Miscellany.

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Christmas the way we do? In this whimsical book, Jonathan Green tells you all about the fascinating stories behind our most beloved holiday traditions. Make yourself cozy by the fireplace, open up this fully illustrated treasure trove, and learn:


  • Why we sing carols
  • Why we burn Yule logs
  • Why we hang stockings
  • Why we kiss under the mistletoe
  • Why we send greeting cards
  • Why there are twelve days of Christmas
  • And what is figgy pudding?

  • Each chapter explores a different custom and its history: when and where it started, how it has changed over the centuries, and why we still love to recreate it today. You’ll learn why holly and ivy are important symbols, who Good King Wenceslas was, and why we eat turkey for Christmas dinner. Additional fun facts and trivia are sprinkled throughout, accompanied by classic illustrations. This is the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for curious-minded friends and family this holiday season!


    Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas is released by Skyhorse Publishing a week today, on Thursday 30th November.

    Happy 54th Birthday, Doctor Who!

    It's crazy to think that since the epic 50th anniversary The Day of the Doctor event four years have passed, during which time I have had not only the Doctor Who: Time Lord Quiz Quest published but also my second Doctor Who Choose the Future gamebook, Night of the Kraken.*

              

    And the most recent Doctor Who-related release that I have contributed to is Doctor Who: 100 Illustrated Adventures, which makes the perfect Christmas gift for the Doctor Who fan(s) in your family.


    * Not to mention Terrible Lizards being published as a standalone story.

    Monday, 20 November 2017

    Thought for the Day

    "I am extremely lucky but colleagues of mine who 20 years ago would have been able to earn a living from writing and selling enough to libraries can't do that any more."

    ~ Philip Pullman, speaking in 2017


    Sunday, 19 November 2017

    Christmas Explained - Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts

    What could make a better gift, this Christmas, than my fact-filled, fun-filled Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts?

    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?

    For only £10* I will send you a signed and personalised copy of Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts, via Royal Mail second class, tracked and signed for to boot, to make sure it reaches you safely.

    The book is in a hardback format and comes with a gold ribbon bookmark too, so don't delay, drop me a line today via info@jonathangreenauthor.com today!


    * This price covers postage and packing within the UK.

    Friday, 17 November 2017

    Gamebook Friday: NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!

    The NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Kickstarter comes to an end two weeks tomorrow, which means that it's already half way through its run.

    That means we have just a fortnight left in which to raise the last 22% (as of writing). To help us achieve our goal I have made two more rewards available; one is a CLOTH MAP Add-on and the other is a cut-down version of the PLUNDERING PIRATE Reward, which runs for as long as Amazon's BLACK FRIDAY sale does. You can find out more here.


    With just two weeks to go, I would urge everyone - especially everyone who loves gamebooks - to keep sharing the project with all and sundry and join the NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Facebook group, even if you don't intend on backing it yourself, as I still have people contacting me to said they would have backed my first Kickstarter, which I launched five years ago, if they had heard about it.

    Rest assured that any and all help in spreading the word is very much appreciated.

    Hopefully, next Gamebook Friday I'll be able to report that the project has funded and that we're well on our way towards the first stretch goal.

    Fingers crossed!




    Wednesday, 15 November 2017

    Warhammer Wednesday: Tales From the Underhive

    In case you've been living under a boulder in the sump beneath Hive Primus, you may not have heard that the classic skirmish game Necromunda has been resurrected and reimagined by Games Workshop, and is now available for pre-order as Necromunda: Underhive.


    As well as bringing the game back from the dead, Games Workshop - or at least its publishing arm, the Black Library - is also bringing back the Necromunda fiction range, some of it available for a limited time as Print on Demand. This includes the short story anthology Status: Deadzone, which features the very first Nathan Creed short story Bad Spirits.


    A digital version of Status: Deadzone also comes as part of the Tales from the Underhive eBundle*, and can be purchased here.


    * Which makes the rather bold claim of being, 'all the Necromunda prose fiction Black Library has produced, all in one place and at one great price', even though it only contains one of my five Creed stories.

    Tuesday, 14 November 2017

    The Serpent's Egg: A Dark Tale of the Cthulhu Mythos

    Today marks the start of Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales and so today seems like the perfect time to let you know that my Cthulhu Mythos novella The Serpent's Egg is now available as an eBook from Kindle Direct Publishing, and marks the first publication in a new venture I'm calling Green Man Books.


    “When oblivion comes, it is forever, as endless as the slumber of those beings that lie buried beneath the roots of the world, dreaming in darkness.”

    A writer’s research into the legend of the Lambton Worm takes a horrifying twist when he uncovers the true origin of the story: a legend that stirs, knowing the time for its rebirth is near…

    A chilling tale of the Cthulhu Mythos, written by award-winning author Jonathan Green.

    "Can do dark very well" ~ award-winning editor Jonathan Oliver

    "Green gets mileage out of his monsters" ~ SFX Magazine

         

    A warning to my younger readers: this one's not for you and definitely comes 18-rated!

    Monday, 13 November 2017

    Thought for the Day

    "What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

    ~ Stephen King


    Saturday, 11 November 2017

    Short Story Saturday: Tales of the Lost Isles

    Available now, from Osprey Games, is the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago short story anthology Tales of the Lost Isles.

    Feathered dinosaurs - they're all the rage!

    I'm very pleased with how my own contribution, A Nice Little Nest Egg, turned out; the writing of it was rather reminiscent of writing the tales of Torben Badenov and his Kislevite mercenaries for Inferno! magazine twenty or so years ago.

    And talking of Games Workshop and the Black Library, it's interesting how many of my fellow contributors to the anthology also have a history with the company, including Matthew Ward, Ben Counter, Mark A. Latham, and last, but most definitely not least, Gav Thorpe!

    You can pick up your copy of Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago: Tales of the Lost Isles here, and don't forget to post a review once you've read it.

    Friday, 10 November 2017

    Gamebook Friday: NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! one week in

    The NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Kickstarter has now been running for a week, and in that time it has achieved 70% of its initial funding target and a few column inches in the genre press, such as this piece on SciFind.com and this one on Gamebook News.

    However, there is still a long way to go if the book is to be the fully illustrated beast we all want it to be, so keep spreading the word and encourage people to join the NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Facebook group - the more who do, the greater the rewards will be for those people who back the project.

    Which level will you back at?








    Thursday, 9 November 2017

    Steampunk Thursday: ArmadaCon 2017

    Last weekend I was a guest at the 29th ArmadaCon down in Plymouth. It was a convention I had been invited to in the past but one I had been unable to actually attend until this year.

    Raring to go at ArmadaCon 2017.

    ArmadaCon is only a small convention, but it is incredibly friendly, and in no time at all I was made to feel very welcome. It was also great to catch up with old friends - like Andrew Lane, Helen Stirling, Frances Hardinge, and David Wake - and to make new ones - like Mark Poles of The Shop on the Borderlands, and RB Watkinson.

    Mark Poles stocking up on signed stock for The Shop on the Borderlands.

    Over the course of the weekend I gave a talk about writing adventure gamebooks, and another one about my Pax Britannia steampunk novels. I also took part in an author's panel on the Sunday afternoon. But the highlight of the weekend, for me, had to be Circle of Spears' live reading of my Fighting Fantasy gamebook Night of the Necromancer. I will never look at that particular book in quite the same way again.

    Mark Norman, Tracey Norman and Sam Burns of Circle of Spears attempt to keep a straight face during the Night of the Necromancer read-through... and fail!

    So all that there remains for me to do now is to thank Gary, Julie, Chris, Dave the Tech Gnome, and the rest of the crew, as well as everyone who attended my talks and the Fighting Fantasy read-through. And if you're a author looking for a welcoming audience, I can wholeheartedly recommend ArmadaCon.

    My memento from my time at ArmadaCon.

    You can see more photographs from the weekend here.

    Monday, 6 November 2017

    Thought for the Day

    "A book is a dream that you hold in your hands."
    ~ Neil Gaiman


    Wednesday, 1 November 2017

    NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! launches on Kickstarter on 2nd November

    The Kickstarter for my latest ACE Gamebook launches at midnight tonight!

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1412864360/353050122?ref=378786&token=3c27f156

    If you've read Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland or The Wicked Wizard of Oz, you'll know the sort of thing to expect, only this time I'm mashing together J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and Wendy and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World.

    If you're a fan of Peter Pan then you'll love this re-imagining of the story, which features all your favourite characters - Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy Darling, Tiger Lily, Captain Hook and Mr Smee. And if you're not a fan of Barrie's original then you'll love this new, darker take on the story, which also features fleshing-eating fish-people, marauding morlocks, and dinosaurs. Lots of dinosaurs.


    At 11:40pm on the 14th April, 1912, during her maiden voyage, en route to New York City, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and in the early hours of 15th April the passenger liner sank. 1,503 people died, including passengers and crew, but 706 people survived, among them Wendy Darling and her dog Nana...

    Separated from the rest of her family, Wendy's lifeboat drifts for days until it washes up on the shores of a mysterious island - a place lost in time, home to creatures long thought extinct, a forgotten tribe, and a boy who can never grow up.

    But the notorious pirate Captain James Hook and his crew have also found their way to Neverland, and the island is angry...


    The first 100 people who back the NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Kickstarter, to receive a physical copy of the book, will receive a free download code for my Gamebook Adventure Temple of the Spider God, courtesy of Tin Man Games, and the first 10 people who back to receive the deluxe hardback will also receive a pair of steampunk goggles!

    Not only that, but if you encourage your friends to join the NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Facebook group too, and the total number of members reaches 400, everyone who backs the project to receive a physical copy of the book will also receive a hardback copy of the Explorer's Journal - an artefact encountered in the game!

    There are also a limited number of Early Bird rewards that include a pre-release play-test copy of the adventure.


    So you know what to do - spread the word and I'll see you at midnight!



    JG at ArmadaCon this weekend

    I will be one of the guests attending this year's AramadaCon, which is taking place at Future Inns in Plymouth, from Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th November.

    On Saturday 4th November, in the Main Hall during the day, I will be giving a talk entitled 'How to Write an Adventure Gamebook', while on Saturday evening there will be a live read-through of a Fighting Fantasy adventure.

    And on Sunday 5th November, again in the Main Hall, I will be giving a talk about my Pax Britannia steampunk novels, and may also be taking part in a writers' panel.

    I will also have a table in the Dealers' Room, where you will be able to buy copies of my history of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 and 2, as well as my ACE Gamebook, The Wicked Wizard of Oz.