Sunday 31 March 2013

Beowulf - The Gamebook!

“Listen! We of the Spear-Danes in the days of yore, of those clan-kings, heard of their glory, how those nobles performed courageous deeds!”

I am delighted to announce that BEOWULF BEASTSLAYER has been mentioned today on In fact, there's not just a mention - there's a full-blown interview with me about the project.

You can read the interview for yourself here (and thanks to Dave Bradley for making it happen).

In other BEOWULF BEASTSLAYER-related news, it looks like I have both a publisher and an artist on board for the project, so the Kickstarter to fund production of the gamebook is gradually moving closer to launch.

And in case you'll still wondering just what exactly BEOWULF BEASTSLAYER is, it's a Choose Your Own Adventure-style re-telling of the Anglo-Saxon epic. In the book you will play the part of the eponymous hero battling such monsters as Grendel, Grendel's mother and a dragon, as well as sea serpents and all manner of other creatures along the way. Will your adventure follow the course of the original story or will you carve out a new epic all of your own?

To express your interest in this project, please visit the BEOWULF BEASTSLAYER Facebook page, click 'Like', and share the link with all your friends.

My fee? One gold Dalek!

Last September, Peter Jackson responded very positively to Matt Smith’s suggestion that he should direct an episode of Doctor Who – " Just name a time and place, and I'll be there!'' said the Hobbit helmsman.

Six months later, and Jackson seems as keen as ever – and he’s even named his price.

“They don’t even have to pay me,” said the director.“But I have got my eye on one of those nice new gold-coloured Daleks. They must have a spare one (hint, hint).”

To read more about this story, click here.

Clemency Slaughter at EasterCon

Mr Ian Whates, the man behind NewCon Press, is currently taking part in the geek-fest that is EasterCon - or rather EightSquaredCon, in its current guise - up in Bradford for the Easter weekend.

He's busy promoting various projects - including the anthology he's edited, Solaris Rising 2, and his own short story collection, Growing Pains - and will also have some Clemency Slaughter postcards on the NewCon table.

So if you're up in Bradford for the weekend, why not pop along and say "Hello!" and then pledge your support to Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath?

Saturday 30 March 2013

Short Story Saturday: The Demonologia Biblica

According to legend, at his trial in 1438, it was claimed that Gilles Montmorency-Laval, Baron de Rais (the fifthteenth century serial killer) had sought out individuals who were purported to summon demons. The summoning words they used were put into a Grimoire fashioned from human skin and which was commonly known as the Demonologia Biblica

This book mysteriously vanished after de Rais’ execution but was often talked about in certain dark circles. Imagine the power one could wield with such a weapon!

Now editor Dean M Drinkel has compiled his own Demonologia Biblica, an A to Z of demonic fiends, featuring stories by twenty-six different authors. And one of them's me.

You can grab Demonologia Biblica for your Kindle now, from here. Enjoy...

Get thee behind me, Demon...


Friday 29 March 2013

Gamebook Friday: Knights of Doom revisited

And recently revisited by Marston Ecclestone, who has already cast his beady eye over Night of the Necromancer, Spellbreaker, Stormslayer, Howl of the Werewolf and Bloodbones.

And very kind about it he is too. Knights of Doom has something of a reputation for being - how shall I put this? - a little tricky, so it makes a nice change to hear someone praising the positive elements of the story for a change.

Knights of Doom is unusual, because it's the only Fighting Fantasy gamebook of mine that's not seen print in the new Wizard books format and is hard to get hold of. So if you have fond memories (or otherwise) of the book, or you're wondering what all the fuss is about, follow this link to read Mr Ecclestone's playthrough.

Thursday 28 March 2013

Steampunk Thursday (Part 3): Nerd Vs World

I enjoyed a most pleasant evening on Tuesday, in Oxford, taking part in the recording of the latest Nerd Vs World podcast. I had been invited by Mr Simon 'Spindles' Potthast, whom I met at the Sci-Fi Weekender*. Also in attendance were Mr Brendan Gylee, whose baby Nerd Vs World really is (and master of the hot drinks cabinet), and Mr Ady Wilce, who supplied some most welcome Yum Yums that kept us** energised during the course of the evening.

We ended up talking for a good couple of hours about everything from Star Wars chopsticks and retro kids TV to the Clemency Slaughter Kickstarter, Pax Britannia (and Steampunk in general) and must-see movies***. You can listen to the podcast here.

The Nerd Vs World podcasters: (from l-r) Ady, Brendan and Spindles.

The guys have very kindly offered to have me back again, at some point in the future, an offer that I plan to take them up on.

The evening's musical interlude was provided by The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, who also wrote this.

* In the video/slideshow, he's the one dressed as Professor Severus Snape.

** Well, me.

*** I was surprised none of the guys had seen Gareth Edwards' sublime Monsters. If you've not seen it, get hold of a copy and do so without further delay!

Steampunk Thursday (Part 2): Jonathan (Lurid) Green

As some of you may have noticed, my blog has a new background wallpaper as of this morning*. What's special about this one is that it is a portrait of Yours Truly**, produced by the very talented artist Mr Tom Brown, my partner-in-crime on Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath.

I had no idea that Tom was doing this until he tagged me in a picture of a sketch he was working on, via the social medium of Facebook. I was blown away. And then I saw the colour version...

I love the T-Rex skeleton and the tentacles, not to mention the sinister quill. The only problem is that having seen this picture I think I'm going to have to go shopping so that at the next con I attend I look as smart and as dapper as I do in my portrait***.

And if you would like an utterly fantastic portrait of yourself drawn and painted in this style**** then all you have to do is pledge at the P is for Portrait (for a pencil portrait) or M is for Masterpiece (for a full colour portrait) reward level here.

* Although this could be said of a lot of mornings and my blog background.

** And an image of myself that I actually like to boot!

*** At the moment there's a bit of a reverse Dorian Gray thing going on. I've not shaved this morning, I need a haircut, and I'm wearing a hoodie. 'Nuff said.

**** What we like to call the Clemency Slaughter style.

Steampunk Thursday: Steampunk Doncaster

I can now formally announce that I will be one of the authors taking part in the 'Litarium' at the Steampunk Doncaster event running over the weekend of 15-16 June this summer.

I shall of course be hawking my wares, including my 'Keep Calm' badges and Pax Britannia novels, Mr Green's Marvellous Steampunk Tombola will also be in attendance, as will a certain steampunk robot parrot.

I will also be taking part in a panel/workshop/reading* at some point and hopefully enjoying the other wonders that Steampunk Doncaster will no doubt have to offer the discerning visitor.

To find out more about the event, follow this link, and maybe I'll see you there.

* Delete as applicable.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Happy Death Day, M C Escher

Maurits Cornelis Escher, usually referred to as M C Escher, was a Dutch graphic artist. He is best known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints, such as this one.

Relativity (1953)

M C Escher died on this day in 1972, aged 73. His work inspires all who see it to this day, and having spent the best part of the day studying the image above, I'm tempted to try writing something based on this very piece.

I'll let you know how I get on.

What do Geek Syndicate and author Emma Newman have in common?

Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath, that's what.

Both Geek Syndicate and Emma Newman recently very kindly invited me to write a guest blog post about the murderous miss for their respective sites. The irony is that they both went live yesterday.

You can check out Emma's blog here, and the Geek Syndicate site here.

Warhammer Wednesday: Space Hulk

Swap the Blood Angels for Imperial Fists, and this could almost be a scene straight out of my first Path to Victory gamebook Herald of Oblivion.

You can find out more about the forthcoming Space Hulk game here.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Clemency Slaughter and the Zombie Hamster

Clemency Slaughter artist Tom Brown featured on the other day, as did Clemency herself.

Thank you to the guys at Zombie Hamster for their support and if you would like to read their piece about the project, simply follow this link.

Tie-in Tuesday: A Comment on Handling Intellectual Property, by Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicolas Vincent-Abnett's blog can always be relied upon to produce some juicy topics for discussion, and the last week has been no exception.

So, for your delectation this Tie-in Tuesday, I would direct you to her blog post on the subject of being a tie-in writer, or, to put it another way, A Comment on Handling Intellectual Property.

Monday 25 March 2013

Warlock's Bounty: Revenge of the Sorcerer - The Remix!

Warlock's Bounty: Revenge of the Sorcerer is available once again from Google Play for all you Android users out there.

If you've not heard of Warlock's Bounty before (a gamebook app with card-based combat developed by Emil Bakalinov of Attic Squad and written by Yours Truly) then check out the blurb below, read the reviews, and then click this link to buy it for your own device.

You are a mighty wizard, once apprenticed to the sorcerer Corax Whiteraven, guardian of the lands of Lloegyr. When Whiteraven’s familiar appears out of the blue carrying an urgent message from its master, you embark upon a mission that will test your mettle and magical abilities to the full. For Lloegyr’s guardian – the greatest sorcerer of them all – is in danger, and needs your help!
"Takes me back to the day when I used to read these types of books. The subtle music adds much to the story. The card game is easy to learn and fun to play." 5 out of 5!
"One of the best games I've played in a while, having loved the Choose Your Own Adventures since I was a kid this game brings back a lot of happy memories, the design, look and flow of the game is perfect." 10 out of 10!
"The storyline is good and the writing is great."
"I love gamebooks and I love collectable card games, so Warlock's Bounty is like a dream come true for me... There is an excellent story and the combat system provides you with many decsions." 5 out of 5!
"Great game. Lots of fun and entertainment. I look forward to the sequel." 5 out of 5!

Thought for the Day

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

~ Walt Disney

Saturday 23 March 2013

Are you wasting your time on social media?

Aspiring crime author Sadie Greening is worried she might be. So how about you?

Friday 22 March 2013

Gamebook Friday: Le Hurlement du Loup-Garou

Le Hurlement du Loup-Garou, the French edition of my most popular Fighting Fantasy gamebook to date Howl of the Werewolf*, was released on an unsuspecting Gallic public yesterday.

Seul l’imprudent ou le fou oserait s’aventurer dans le sinistre royaume de Lupravia, hanté
par les esprits des morts sans repos. Pourtant VOUS devez vous y rendre, après qu’une
attaque de loups sanguinaires vous entraîne sur le chemin de la folie...

To pick up your copy of Le Hurlement du Loup-Garou, follow this link. To pick up some rather smart dice to use whilst playing the game, follow this link.

Thursday 21 March 2013

1,000... is the Magic Number... Competition Time!

A while ago I threatened to run some sort of competition or other if (or more accurately when) I ended up with both 1,000 followers on Twitter and 1,000 friends on Facebook.

Well that magic number was exceeded a while ago now (as of writing I have 1,018 followers on Twitter and 1,030 Facebook friends) so I thought it was about time I made good on my promise.

Your Part of the Bargain

I want you to do all you can to promote the Kickstarter project I am currently running with the artist Tom Brown and publisher Ian Whates, Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath. I don't care how you do it - blog posts, social media campaigns, YouTube videos, get in mentioned in the press, on the radio, on TV! - just do whatever you can to get word out to the masses about this exciting adventure in publishing!

You have until the end of the month (11:59pm on Sunday 31 March) to enter - in other words ten days - and email me a link to whatever it is you've produced at

Be imaginative, be creative, be prolific, be persistent! But whatever you do, to be eligible for the big prize, you must let me know about it.

Our Part of the Bargain

The three of us (Jon, Tom and Ian) will decide who has mounted the most effective campaign and, as long as the project funds on 13 April, you will be invited to the grand London launch as our guest, with all that that entails (book, goodie bag, drinks reception, etc.) but without having to stump up £100 for the privilege yourself. (You must arrange and pay for your travel to London.)

And that's it!

So check out the Clemency Slaughter Kickstarter page, Facebook page, and blog, get thinking, and good luck!

Steampunk Thursday: Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath - A Grim, Gothic Tale Without a Happy Ending

It's Steampunk Thursday here on Or should that be Gothic Thursday?

The reason? Because today I want to talk to you about Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath, a grim, gothic tale born of a chance meeting at the Steampunk convention Weekend at the Asylum last year.

When Tom Brown (the artist behind Hopeless, Maine) and I first discussed collaborating on a project, it was going to be a Steampunk project. But then it morphed into something less knowingly anachronistic and a lot more darkly gothic.

So what is Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath?

Well, in a nutshell, it's a book, written by Yours Truly and fully illustrated by Tom, and it's due to be published by Steel Quill Books, a new imprint of NewCon Press.

At first it might appear to be a children's book, but in reality it is something much darker and more adult. Children of all ages will enjoy its mix of macabre humour and beautiful illustration - and you can become the proud owner of one (as long as the project funds) if you pledge £12 or more here.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

James Herbert (1943-2013)

This afternoon, I heard the news that best-selling British horror writer James Herbert has died at his home in Sussex.

I've enjoyed reading his novels over the years (I discovered Herbert before I discovered Stephen King) as well as various adaptations of his stories on both the big and small screen. And then last year, at FantasyCon 2012, I found myself standing next to him in the bar at the Royal Albion Hotel.

I was about to speak to him when I suddenly became overwhelmed by fanboy shyness. He didn't appear to be in particularly good health, and I decided not to bother the great man. Today I find myself joining with all those who have been inspired by his books over the years in mourning his passing.

You always regret the things you don't do.

It's worth reminding yourself of that fact every once in a while.

James Herbert
(8 April 1943 – 20 March 2013)

Warhammer Wednesday: Shadows Over Sylvania - the first review!

I'd not read a review of Shadows Over Sylvania before reading this one. It's by Joe Warren and appeared over on the Fantasy Book Review website.

Joe has lots of lovely things to say about the bloodiest gamebook I've ever written, but here's a particularly choice morsel to feast yourselves on:

"Quite often with game books the adventure itself either feels too short or agonisingly long with endless foes to face. The danger is that the adventure then feels like a trudge through the book. With Shadows Over Sylvania this was not the case. The adventure kept my interest throughout the story and the narrative was engaging and interesting to the end."

Joe also makes mention of Karl Richardson's fantastic illustrations:

"The illustrations by Karl Richardson were also awesome representations of the horrors that await the adventurer."

Like this one, you mean?

So, in summary?

"9/10 - A great game book with enough options and interesting story line to mean it is revisited many times."

Thanks, Joe. :-)

You can order your copy of Shadows Over Sylvania direct from the Black Library here.

Monday 18 March 2013

Thought for the Day

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."

~ Edgar Allan Poe

Sunday 17 March 2013

Dark Heart - A Collection of Short Horror Fiction

Just before Christmas, I released my first collection of short horror fiction Dark Heart in both eBook format and the still more traditional processed tree carcass paperback version.

So, in classic Blue Peter-style, here's one I made earlier. But if you'd rather own Dark Heart in eBook form, then follow this link.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Short Story Saturday: The #1 Horror Anthology of 2012

That's what this reviewer calls World's Collider, the mosaic novel/short story collection brainchild of editor Richard Salter, and who am I to argue?

"The stories themselves will both terrify and thrill horror fans, describing mankind's struggle to survive the onslaught of demonic entities spilling into our world from the rift."
You can pick up a copy of World's Collider (if you haven't done so already) here.

Friday 15 March 2013

Gamebook Friday: Foreign Edition of the Spider God

When Temple of the Spider God was released for Android devices it was also released in French for French-speaking Android users.

I think (and if anyone knows differently, please let me know) that Temple of the Spider God - or, rather, Le Temple du Dieu Araignée - is the 6th gamebook of mine to be translated into French, and it's received some pleasing reviews.

Here's one from the French app store:

"Le système de jeu est très simple mais permet de jouer rapidement sans que les combats s'éternisent. Les défis sont bien équilibrés, sans donner l'impression que vous vous en sortirez haut la main. Ll'histoire compte plus de 500 paragraphes, permettant de nombreux choix et variations. Et la maquette personnalisable permet de trouver chaussure à son pied en termes de confort de lecture. Bref, si vous aimez les livres dont vous êtes le héros, cette collection est pour vous."

One of the bits I particularly like (in English this time) is this:

"The challenges are well balanced, without giving the impression that you will come out with flying colours."

Just to remind you, the following Fighting Fantasy titles (all written by me) are also available now in French (or will be soon).

Thursday 14 March 2013

Steampunk Thursday: Pax Britannia Reviews

A couple more reviews for you today, found on the Internet...

Time's Arrow

Originally published as part of the three-part literary experiment where readers themselves were asked to decide where the plot will go next, Time's Arrow collects all the instalments in one handy package. Now, reading it all together, I can't help but wonder how amazing is the fact that the story works at all, let alone so well. It serves as the best testament you will ever need to the skill of Jonathan Green as a writer. [Read the whole review here.]

The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus

Green writes action like no one else I have ever read. He sustains the longest action sequences without losing momentum, without ceasing to make sense, or it in any way becoming dull. This impressed me. There are moments of total poetry in his writing, and some grim humour. Here is an author who knows how to relish the moment when an unspeakable thing tears a victim into little pieces. Oh yes, did I mention the monsters? There are monsters. People die. [Read the whole review here.]

Wednesday 13 March 2013

13 - Unlucky for some?

Forget what you might have heard already, today - 13th March 2013 - marks the true start of the Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath Kickstarter.

Artist Tom Brown, publisher Ian Whates, and myself, want to bring you the tale of Miss Clemency Slaughter, her ill-fated family, and the legacy of Lord Daedalus Drummond D'Eath that awaits whoever is lucky (or unlucky) enough to inherit in the end. But we can only accomplish this task with your support, via Kickstarter.

We have a host of wonderful rewards on offer, including original artwork, invitations to a launch party, signed books, and bespoke jewellery. Bids start at only £2 and there's even going to be a digital version of this macabre picture book, as long as we achieve our funding goal of £7,500.

So now it's up to you. Please 'Like' our Facebook page, pledge your support via the Kickstarter page, and then tell all your friends via the medium of social media - and not just today, but every day! That's how we'll draw in the new backers we'll need to make this project happen.