Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Warhammer Wednesday: Journey of the Magi

I am delighted to be able to report that my Thousand Sons short story, Journey of the Magi, is this week's digital eShort release on BlackLibrary.com.

I love what the graphic designer has done with the cover. Very clever.

When I first submitted the outline for the story, I dreamed that it might become a Digital Monday release, but then it was commissioned for Inferno! Volume 4 instead. And yet here we are, some xx months later, and my dream has come true. Such are the twisty-turny ways of Tzeentch.

In case you don't already know what they tale is about, here's the blurb from the Black Library website:

On an artificial world far from the light of any sun, three sorcerers of the Thousand Sons emerge from a portal. Together, this trio will face ancient horrors – but the prize that awaits them is worth any danger. Long have these three sought the Godstar, piecing together its location from scattered scraps of knowledge. The immortal guardians of the place sleep, but it is not undefended, and the children of Prospero will pay a heavy price for that which they seek as they delve deep into the ancient mysteries of the necrons.

You can buy Journey of the Magi here, and you can read more about the story here.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Thought for the Day

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.” 
~ Albert Einstein

Friday, 17 January 2020

Gamebook Friday: 10 Years of Night of the Necromancer

It dawned on me the other day that Night of the Necromancer, the last of the seven Fighting Fantasy gamebooks I have written to date, will be ten years old this year!

When I came to propose the idea to Wizard Books back in 2009, I couldn't quite believe that no one had suggested writing an FF adventure that started off with the hero being murdered and then coming back as a ghost before. I had great fun developing that aspect of the game, giving the reader all manner of spectral powers that sometimes worked to their advantage, but sometimes didn't.

One of the things I particularly loved about the process of writing the book was knowing that it was going to be illustrated by Martin McKenna. Martin was a favourite FF artist of mine, ever since I saw his work in Daggers of Darkness*, and I had been fortunate to have him also illustrate both Curse of the Mummy and Howl of the Werewolf.

Martin and I clearly had exposure to similar genre influences growing up and he just seems to get where I'm coming from, which means that when we collaborate, text and art mesh very nicely together. It is for this reason that I am delighted Martin agreed to illustrate the forthcoming Dracula - Curse of the Vampire.

Many of Martin's illustrations for Night of the Necromancer - including such personal favourites as the Sea Demon, the Hellfire Golem, and the Shadow King - are available to buy as prints from ArtPal.

The Sea Demon.

 The Hellfire Golem.

The Shadow King.


* Produced when he was only 17 years old!

Monday, 13 January 2020

Thought for the Day

“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” 
~ Mark Twain

Sunday, 12 January 2020

The Beowulf Beastslayer Teacher's Pack

Now available for anyone who teaches Beowulf to students in Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3, is the Beowulf Beastslayer Teacher's Pack, or indeed for any teacher who wants a fun topic of work for a week or two, perhaps even as a focus for their school Book Week.

The pack contains ten activities that range from comprehension and long-form writing exercises, to code-breaking and game design, as well as suggestions for more

The Beowulf Beastslayer Teacher's Pack can be downloaded from tes.com.


Friday, 10 January 2020

Gamebook Friday: Curse of the Mummy is 25 years old this year!

My third Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Curse of the Mummy, will be 25 years old later this year*. I was recently reminded of this fact when Family Green visited the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London. (Tickets are still available.)


It must be the fourth time I've seen artefacts from King Tut's tomb - twice in situ in Egypt, and once before in the UK - and I even wrote my university thesis on Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egyptian Art. So you won't be surprised to learn that Curse of the Mummy isn't the only thing I've written that was inspired by the wonders of Ancient Egypt.

Egyptian death and the afterlife: mummies (Rooms 62-3)** appeared in The Book of the Dead, published by Jurassic London in 2013.

Then there was Worthless Remains, a Ulysses Quicksilver Pax Britannia story that was published in Clockwork Cairo: Steampunk Tales of Egypt. (There was also a Spring-Heeled Jack story called Favoured Son that was never actually written but which had a strong Egyptian theme.)

Wonderful Things came out last year in Scarlet Traces: A War of the Worlds Anthology, and even featured Howard Carter as the protagonist!

Of course, any Warhammer 40,000 story about the Necrons - like as But Dust in the Wind - comes with an automatic Ancient Egyptian hit, but in my most recent such tale, Journey of the Magi, is a double whammy, since a trio of Thousand Sons' sorcerers are the protagonists.

I also have an idea for a Egyptian-themed Scrooge & Marley (Deceased) story, and the ACE Gamebook I will be writing next is another cursed tome - Dracula - Curse of the Vampire - which will be illustrated by Martin McKenna, who also happened to illustrate Curse of the Mummy!


* This is going to be a regular thing now, since I've been published every year since 1993. There was a hiatus from 1998-2001, when I didn't have any books published, but in that time I still had short stories and magazine articles come out in the name.

** Which has to be the weirdest title I've ever used for a published story.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Cthulhu Cthursday: Choose Cthulhu

The news was actually announced on Facebook just before Christmas but in case you missed it, I am going to be helping the Choose Cthulhu team polish the English translations of the next tranche of books.