Thursday 29 September 2011

FantasyCon Cometh...

First off an apology. I don't usually do these - I get tired of reading posts by writers apologising for not updating their blogs because they've been... er... writing - but today it's not without just cause.

I realise that I owe you a couple of posts - one about Games Day (which was awesome) and one about the House of Fear launch (which was equally awesome). And they will happen, but the thing is I've been rather immersed in my latest project (which is a good thing) and know that my time is limited because this weekend I'm off to Brighton for FantasyCon 2011.

I'll be there from Friday to Sunday, attending various panels that m'colleagues are on, attending The Big Solaris Book Event and the Dark Continents launch, and generally hanging out 'networking' in the bar. I may also stop by the dealers' room... see if there are any good deals to be made, and so forth.

Maybe I'll see some of you there. I you see me first do come over and say hello. Although, having checked out the list of 'professionals' attending the Con, I wonder if they'll actually be anybody else there at all...

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Fighting Fantazine #7 - available now!

Good news, Fighting Fantasy fans. The long-awaited Fighting Fantazine #7 is now available to download for free here.

The new issue features artwork by Nat the Rat and Alexander Ballingall, an extra-long 'mini' FF adventure by Paul Struth, an interview with the author of Midnight Rogue Graeme Davis, and I even get a couple of mentions in the (very) up-to-date News section.

Forthcoming events

In case you hadn't picked up on the subtle hints I've been leaving about this blog lately, I'm going to be at the launch of Solaris Books' House of Fear anthology this evening, at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. You can find out more details about this here.

However, on Friday I'll also be heading down to Brighton for this year's FantasyCon. Two publishers I have dealings with are going to be there promoting their new books and I'll be there supporting them.

First up, on Saturday 1 October - from 2.00pm to 3.00pm in the Regency Lounge - there's The Big Solaris Book Event. One of the books the Solaris guys (and gal) will be giving away - yes, giving away! - is the aforementioned House of Fear. There will also be free booze and literary repartee. What's not to love?

Secondly, later on Saturday - from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in Bar Rogue - Dark Continents, publishers of the forthcoming Phobophobia, have a book launch, so I'll be at that one too.

In between these two launches you may well find me attending one of the many panels running during the course of the weekend or comatose in the bar. You have been warned.

Time's Arrow - Red-Handed

This is what's open on my laptop at the moment...

And I'm loving this too...

That's right, there's only two weeks to go until the first of three eBooks chronicling the latest of Ulysses Quicksilver's adventures hits Amazon's Kindle store.

To find out more, click here.

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow - 2 weeks to go!

That's right, two weeks today, the first part of my next Ulysses Quicksilver adventure Time's Arrow is released in eBook format.

Why is it coming out in digital form first? And why only the first third?

The answers to those questions lie here.

Monday 26 September 2011

JG on Floor to Ceiling Books

Magemanda of Floor to Ceiling Books is away enjoying the sun in Florida at the moment so various other bloggers/reviewers/writers have been helping her make sure that Floor to Ceiling Books stays busy whilst she's away.

Yesterday, my contribution appeared and has apparently already got a few people talking. So thanks to Amanda for inviting me to write a guest post and for the rest of you, you can read my piece - entitled "On the Stigma of Being a Tie-In Writer" - here.

What scares you? Missing the House of Fear launch tomorrow?

There's only one day to go now until the official launch of Jonathan Oliver's brand new anthology of horror stories...

I believe there may even be a few tickets left for the event, which kicks off at 6:30pm at the Charing Cross Road branch of Foyles bookshop, and which includes a panel discussion on the theme of the book, a mass signing afterwards and then drinks at the Phoenix Club across the way. So if you're free tomorrow evening (Tuesday 27th September) maybe I'll see you there too.

The Dead and The Gildar Rift

Did you see what I did there? Did you?*

Anyway, just finished reading The Dead by David Gatward** which means I can now start reading The Gildar Rift by Sarah Cawkell.***

* If you didn't, click here.

** I would love to see a video game of this book. The boss level unique deaths would be (to coin a phrase) awesome!

*** Better than that, it's signed by the author - in pink!

Wednesday 21 September 2011

JG on Rogue Blades Entertainment

For anyone who follows this blog and particularly the Pax Britannia series, you might like to know that I've a guest post on Rogue Blades Entertainment's website today. It was written as part of the Home of Heroics series of blogs and you can read it for yourself here.

Irond Hands available at Games Day

Just a quick one this morning to let you know that my Warhammer 40K novel Iron Hands will be available for sale at this year's UK Games Day on Sunday...

With Abaddon the Despoiler’s Thirteenth Black Crusade engulfing the galaxy, Iron-Father Gdolkin and his company are pulled away from the defence of Medusa to honour an ancient oath to the Adeptus Mechanicus. A trail of clues leads Gdolkin to a long-lost world, home to an ancient weapon that might turn the tide of war in the Imperium’s favour. But for Gdolkin, the quest is personal, as this mysterious planet might also contain the answer to the oldest mystery of the Iron Hands Chapter... the resting place of the Primarch Ferrus Manus.

If you can't make it to Games Day, you can order your copy of Iron Hands here.

Amongst the other Print on Demand titles on sale this weekend is Daemonifuge, which contains my Warhammer Warped Visions one-off comic strip Ephrael von Stern - Sister of Sigmar. Looking forward to checking that one out myself...

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow

The news has gone public at last. Today Abaddon Books announced its plans for Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow - the eighth Ulysses Quicksilver adventure - written by Yours Truly. And the buzz is already building.

Of course I've known about this for a while, but then it was my idea. And it seemed like such a good idea at the time...

But in all seriousness, I'm very excited about this project and can't wait to see how people react to the concept and what they make of Part 1 of Ulysses' French vacation. And as far as I'm aware, this is something of a first in the world of publishing, and one that makes the most of the e-reader revolution.

Just make sure you're along for the ride. It's going to be amazing!

House of Fear - one week to go

So, if things go according to plan, about this time next week I should be amongst a line-up of authors (including the likes of Sarah Pinborough, Rebecca Levene, Stephen Volk, Adam L.G. Nevill, Christopher Fowler and Christopher Priest) waiting to sign copies of Jonathan Oliver's brand new anthology of horror stories...

The official Foyles launch will have just happened (kicking off at 6:30pm at the Charing Cross Road store) and I'll be looking forward to catching up with my writery friends at the Phoenix Club across the way afterwards. So if you're free next Tuesday (27th September) maybe I'll see you there too.

Tickets for the launch are free but have to be booked in advance via the Foyles website here.

Temple of the Spider God - an update

Those of you eagerly anticipating the release of Temple of the Spider God - the Gamebook Adventure I've written for Tin Man Games - would do well to read this blog post by the Tin Man himself.

As you will already know if you've been following this blog for a while, TOTSG (as we call it round these part) was originally slated for release this summer. However, the reasons for the delays are all good - basically it means that we're going to have the best product we can possibly make out there for all your gamebook aficionados.

And the end of the post comes with its very own spoiler, which I'm hoping will please some of you. It certainly pleases me.

Until next time...

Monday 19 September 2011

Avast, me hearties! It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

So why not celebrate by digging out your copy of Bloodbones, my own pirate classic? And if you're into pirates, why not get yourself down to the Museum of London Docklands where, until 30 October, you can still visit Pirates: The Captain Kidd Story.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Mission: Games Workshop - Warhammer World & Lincoln

That's right - two stores in one day! Go me! It was over a week ago now, however, just before Weekend at the Asylum kicked off on 9 September.

I headed up to Lincoln (where the steampunk event was taking place) via Nottingham so that I could pop into GW HQ. Whilst there I had a look round the Citadel Miniatures Hall, marvelling at all the magnificent miniatures on display there, and then popped into the on-site store.

The guys there proudly showed me their entries in the Armies on Parade competition* and I got to have a browse of the new Ogre Kingdoms Army book. The Warhammer World store was gearing up for a visit by not one but two Black Library authors the next day - the inestimable Graham McNeill and relatively new author (but old hand in terms of years with BL) Mr C Z Dunn himself, author of Hive of the Dead - the first ever Warhammer 40,000 gamebook.

So then I set off on the last leg of my journey to Lincoln. Having checked into my hotel there I wandered into town before things kicked off at the Asylum and somehow - either using some kind of homing instinct, or perhaps because my nose is just attuned to the smell of Chaos Black basecoat - I found my way to the Lincoln GW store where I was welcomed by store manager James Monk.

There I saw a magnificently painted Arachnarok spider, similar to the one that features in Sir Dagobert's Last Battle. James informed me that the Lincoln store was hosting its own Armies on Parade day the following day, and that one local had collected a huge Black Templar army and would love to meet the author of The Armageddon Omnibus. Unfortunately I was busy steampunking the next day but I hope it all went well and maybe I'll be able to pop in again early September 2012.

Which reminds me - there's only one week to go until Games Day 2011, which will be my 17th Games Day! Where has the time gone...?

* Funnily enough one of them was a Black Templars army and another an Iron Hands force.

The God Complex a.k.a. A Day in the Life of a Writer

So I watched Doctor Who: The God Complex last night with two terrified children on the sofa beside me. (Thank goodness they slept last night or I wouldn't have heard the end of it from their mum!) Much as a love Mark Gatiss's* writing, Toby Whithouse's contribution was better than Night Terrors but not up there with Let's Kill Hitler. Anyway, moving on to the point of this post...

Even if an episode of Doctor Who hasn't thrilled and delighted me*** I still enjoy watching Doctor Who Confidential. Most weeks it's a fascinating insight into how the show is made and the minutiae of the creative process. This week I was delighted to see that the 'A Day in the Life' segment was about the writer. Only it wasn't actually the day in the life of a writer writing; it was all about his day off when he got to take his kids for a tour of the set and production offices. This made me laugh, but I can completely understand why the production team took this approach.

In the Green household, at the end of the day while we're all having supper as a family, Young Son likes to ask about everybody's day. However, the other night he started off with the usual, "So, Mum, how was your day?" My wife proceeded to tell him what she'd done at school that day, the lessons she'd taught, the funny things that had happened, the meetings she'd had to attend. Then it was Small Daughter's turn. She's just started in Year 1 and was excitedly talking about Swimming lessons and Art, her new teacher and her new friends. Young Son then told everybody about the amusing things that had happened to him, regaled us with the fascinating facts he'd learnt that day and the tales of what he and his friends had got up to when the teachers weren't looking at playtime. And that was where the conversation ended.

My wife dutifully asked, "And what about Dad's day?" To which Young Son replied, "There's no point asking what Dad does all day because it's always the same. He just sits at his desk writing all day****."

Writing is a lonely profession, for most of the time, and not really what you would call a spectator sport. I can see how the 'A Day in a Life' segment could have gone. Cue The Writer...

"Well I get up, get the kids up, give them breakfast, grab a piece of toast myself, get the kids dressed, get them off to school, then get home and make a cup of coffee. I then sit at my desk, to just quickly check my emails, promising myself that I'll start work properly by 9am. By 9.25 I've well and truly missed that deadline so set about updating by blog. I tell myself I'll start 'writing' at 10. 11.30 I finish my blog then open whatever project it is I'm working on. Only now I'm feeling a bit peckish and get up to make myself a drink and dig out a couple of biscuits from the biscuit tin. Then it's back to my desk. But it's almost 12 now, which is almost lunchtime, but I'll tell myself I'd do a solid hour before I eat anything else. 12.30 I give up and get myself some lunch. After lunch I check my emails again. By 2 I'm writing. Then at 3 I realise I've got to pick the kids up from school in half an hour and so stop to get ready. By 4 the kids are home and..."

Anyway, you get the idea.

Accept the actual 'writing' is something else altogether. Young Son is right that I spend my day writing***** but that's only the start of it. When I'm in the zone, the magic's happening and the words are flowing, I'm not just writing; I'm creating worlds, imagineering characters, setting them against all sorts of conflicts and hideous monsters. Sometimes I create whole worlds or solar systems. Sometimes I create entire histories that might span thousands of years. And at the end of the day, within the stories I write, I decide who lives and who dies.

And they say doctors have bad god complexes! Just like the monster in last night's episode of Doctor Who, us writers require the sustenance of other people's conviction for survival. Without our readers' belief in us and our abilities, their faith - their adoration even - our existence becomes pointless and we are nothing.

* Apart from when he's writing Doctor Who**. Sherlock - brilliant. Crooked House - fabulous, especially the last part. The Lucifer Box novels - I'm a life-long fan. And his A History of Horror for BBC 4 - simply sublime!

** That said, I loved Nightshade (the Doctor Who New Adventure) and The Unquiet Dead was good. I found The Idiot's Lantern disappointing and Victory of the Daleks...? Well there were just too many plot holes, even for me! But those may not have been entirely Mr Gatiss' fault.

*** I should put this comment in context. I love Doctor Who, no matter what, and would much rather watch the weakest Ecclestone story or 42, for that matter, over any soap or reality TV show... or Torchwood.

**** If only that were true! ;-)

***** Parts of it anyway.

Friday 16 September 2011

24 hours in the Asylum

So, a week ago I headed up to Lincoln for Weekend at the Asylum, the UK and Europe's premier steampunk event. This was the third year it had been running and although it was my first visit, Pax Britannia had been there from the start, with guests at the inaugural event receiving either a copy of Unnatural History or Leviathan Rising as a gift.

I arrived at my hotel in good time and so headed off into Lincoln itself. The Asylum is located within the historic part of the town at the top of the hill. Close by are Bailgate, the Cathedral and the Castle. During the course of my walk I discovered that Steep Hill is aptly named and was delighted to see that the city was gearing up for a weekend of steam-themed goodness, with many shops bearing a sign that read...

I also encountered various ladies and gentlemen in elegant dress, looking like they had just stepped out of a Doctor Who Christmas special. By comparison, my 'Powered by Steam!' T-shirt looked like a very poor effort indeed.

Before I knew it, it was time to check in at the Asylum itself, ready to join the merriment surrounding the launch of Robert Rankin's latest novel The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age. It was here that I bumped into old steampunk friends Willoughby Chase and Herr Doktor*, and met a number of other first-timers, Esther, Vincent and James. My new friends had really entered into the spirit of the event, with Esther basing her look on the entirety of Alice in Wonderland, and it was several hours later that we parted company before we drank the bar at the Victoria Inn dry.

Fellow first-timers - James, Esther and Vincent.

Next morning I was up bright and early** ready to bring Pax Britannia to the masses when Weekend at the Asylum really got going in earnest. Major Tinker welcomed everybody in the Exhibition Hall and then proceeded to introduce all of us visiting authors to the indulgent throng. This was totally unexpected (at least on my part) but also totally brilliant because it really helped to break the ice. I was particularly pleased because Tinker referred to me as 'a Geek's Geek' which is probably the nicest thing anyone's said about me in a long while.

With introductions over, people started to visit my table - attracted no doubt by Pye Parr's fabulous banner - but before I knew it I was being author-wrangled upstairs to the Little Theatre to give a talk about my writing and the world of Pax Britannia, concluding with a reading from the forthcoming Time's Arrow and a Q&A session. The audience*** were most appreciative and included Wilf Lunn - yes, the Wilf Lunn from my TV childhood!

Wilf Lunn, the man himself - living TV legend and the original steampunk!

It was then back downstairs to flog my wares, with The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus selling particularly well. The rest of the day passed in a blur of fantastic costumes, appreciative fans, new converts, Penny Farthing races, chats with other steampunk authors****, and River Song look-a-likes. My new friends stopped by to provide a bit of moral support and also looked after my stall for a while so that I might take a look at the art exhibition***** which featured pieces by Herr Doktor and Arfon Jones' stuffed Womble.

Mr Vincent Shaw-Morton and Miss R R Hood.

'Womblus Wimbledon Vulgaris', discovered by Professor Arfon Jones.

As the day's events drew to a close - which included a costume competition, won by a young lady in jodphurs wearing something akin to Spring-Heeled Jack's jet-pack - the steampunks departed to take part in a sanctioned Guinness World Record attempt****** and the hall was emptied in preparation for that evening's Empire Ball. I was released from the Asylum******* as, unfortunately, my twenty-four hours were up. It was time to head back down south, my mind a-whirl with fresh ideas and my heart lifted by a host of new friendships made.

This bottle of toffee vodka and absinthe lolly were both gifts - so my thanks go to Professor T Bottom and Miss Emilly Ladybird.

Oh, and having met Ulysses Quicksilver himself at the steampunk event at Kew Bridge Steam Museum, this time I think I met my Steampunk Muse!

I've enjoyed steampunk, in books and comics and on film, for the best part of twenty years or more, before I even realised what steampunk was. I've been writing steampunk for the last five, but I've never actually 'done' the whole steampunk scene.

But since returning from Lincoln I've noticed a change coming over me. I've started checking out Victorian frock coats online and have even bid on a pair of goggles on eBay. That's right - steampunk, like a Bengal tiger, has well and truly got my claws into me now. And I don't think it's going to be letting go any time soon...

PS - If you've not seen it already, my vlog about Weekend at the Asylum is available here for your viewing pleasure.

* 'Old' meaning I'd met them once before.

** One of these statements might not be entirely true.

*** Who made up for what they lacked in numbers with their attentiveness and the quality of their many questions.

**** Amongst those I met were Raven Dane, Sam Stone, David J Howe and Toby Frost of Space Captain Smith fame.

***** Which included Vincent's steampunk rendition of Miss R R Hood - which went on to win the Ruskin!

****** Greatest number of steampunks gathered in one place at the same time, I believe.

******* For good behaviour I believe, although I really rather wish I hadn't been.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Writers on writing

To continue my semi-regular series of posts, here's a round up of writerly-type posts I've come across over the last couple of days...

In this piece, novelist Polly Courtney explains why she has dropped her publisher HarperCollins in frustration at having her books presented as chick lit.

This link will take you to a video in which author/comedian Charlie Higson talks about writing for children and young adults.

Here's an interesting piece on the growing trend of aspiring writers not being keen readers.

Sarah Pinborough talks about 'the Blur', that place where all writers dwell, on her blog.

Anyone who's ever said they want to write, but has never actually finished anything, needs to read this post by m'colleague James Swallow.

Not exactly a writer talking about writing, but out of interest the list of books for World Book Night 2012 has been published. There are a fair few genre fiction titles on the list. Let's just hope the programming schedule for the night doesn't ignore SF/F and Horror again, like last year.

If you follow the Floor to Ceiling Books blog you'll already know that Magemanda is away on holiday. Having had her trip planned for some time, she asked her friends to write guest posts for her blog. Well she's now posted the list on her blog and my guest post 'On the Stigma of Being a Tie-In Novelist' will appear, appropriately enough, on 25 September - Games Day!

And then, just to finish things off, here's Adelie High's latest video in which Dan Abnett talks about the very process of Writing.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Terrible Lizards

As fans of Doctor Who who already frequent this blog will already be aware, next year I have a book out called Terrible Lizards. I fell in love with dinosaurs as a child, and never fell out of love with them.

So if, like me, you're a fan of Jurassic Park or Primeval, then you'll probably enjoy two items of televisual entertainment that will be gracing our screens this evening.

The first is Planet Dinosaur (BBC2 8.30pm) and the second is Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters (BBC 4 9.00pm). Click the links to find out more.

Monday 12 September 2011

JG at Weekend at the Asylum

While you're waiting for me to update my blog regarding my experience of Weekend at the Asylum* I thought you might like to watch my latest Vlog...

* I know you're just counting the minutes until it's up there. I'm right aren't I? You're on tenterhooks and everything!

Back from the Asylum

So, I'm back after dipping my toe into the wonders of Weekend at the Asylum in Lincoln. I will post more about my experiences soon but fortunately I didn't run into anything like this!

Saturday 10 September 2011

JG at Weekend at the Asylum

I'm in Lincoln today at Weekend at the Asylum. I'll be in the Exhibition Hall for most of the day, signing and selling my Pax Britannia books, but I'm also going to be appearing on stage in the Little Theatre at 11.00am, reading from my new novel Time's Arrow and answering everyone's questions about my writing and the world of Pax Britannia in general.

Maybe I'll see you there...

Friday 9 September 2011

Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum - 1 day to go!

I'm currently busy preparing for Weekend at the Asylum*, loading boxes of books into the car, checking the camera's charged, selecting a reading from Time's Arrow Part 1 and trying out my brand new Pax Britannia banner.

Impressive, isn't it?

So if you're round Lincoln way on Saturday, why not stop by the Asylum Exhibition Hall and say "Hi!" - you'll find me under the sign of the French terrorist - and pick up your exclusive Pax Britannia Asylum badge?

Pink and blue for the ladies, teak and brass for the gentlemen

Maybe see you there!

* Or, more accurately, writing a blog post about preparing for Weekend at the Asylum.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Over 500 visitors this week!

So, I've just discovered that this blog has had over 500 visitors in one week. There's not been that much traffic to the site for a while, and it made me wonder why the flurry of interest this week.

Is it because I've been posting more regularly again? Is it because I've been posting about Weekend at the Asylum? Is it because I've been dropping hints about my latest project for the Black Library elsewhere on line? Is it because of the forthcoming eBook release of Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow? Is it because of all the interest Tin Man Games' Gamebook Adventures have been getting lately?

If you've visited in the last week, or ever if you're just visiting today, how about letting me know what it was that brought you here.

Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum - 2 days to go!

It's now only two days until I'll be appearing at Weekend at the Asylum, promoting my Pax Britannia books, and the final timetable for the event has been published.

As previously advertised, I'll be kicking things off in the Little Theatre at 11.00am on Saturday morning with a reading from my new novel Time's Arrow and a talk about my writing and the world of Pax Britannia. There will also be plenty of time for a decent Q&A session.

So, if you're attending Weekend at the Asylum, don't forget to stop by the Little Theatre at 11.00am on Saturday, armed with all your questions about the longest-running steampunk series to date!

Maybe I'll see you there...

Wednesday 7 September 2011

More writers on writing

This time we've got Chris Wraight talking about getting to the end of a project, and then there's Nick Kyme talking about how his writing has matured over time.

Guy Haley's posted a bit about world-building and writing his first novel. And we'll end with the inestimable William King talking about colour coding the dramatic structure of a story.

I'll have to try that myself some time...

A writer's lot...

Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum continues

If you're attending Weekend at the Asylum (9-11 September) you'll be treated to a couple of glimpses of my new Ulysses Quicksilver novel Time's Arrow, including a reading by yours truly.

But want to know more about what Time's Arrow is about? Well here's another sneaky peak...

Tuesday 6 September 2011

The Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum has begun...

I'll be in Lincoln for Europe's premier steampunk event this Saturday 10 September and to help get you in the mood too I'm going to be posting daily updates of the sort of things you can expect from the world of Pax Britannia at Weekend at the Asylum this year.

First up is the first look at my next Pax Britannia novel Time's Arrow. Here's a taster of the cover artwork by the inestimable Simon Parr, available as a free postcard on the day.

Mission: Games Workshop - Kingston

Yesterday I dropped by the Games Workshop store in Kingston. I used to visit this particular store semi-regularly but hadn't been for some time. I received a warm welcome from John Hollands and got to have a flick through the new Ogre Kingdoms army book.

I was particularly impressed by the Skaven army on display and an undead Terrorgheist. Now if there was ever a monster that needed a new piece of fiction...

... perhaps a new Sir Dagobert story...