Saturday 29 June 2013

Short Story Saturday: The Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead is the next anthology to come from Pandemonium Fiction, due to be published this October. Amongst its TOC is a short story by Yours Truly, with one of the weirdest titles I've ever given to a tale...

Egyptian death and the afterlife: mummies (Rooms 62-3)

But don't let the title put you offer. After all, here's what my editor Jared Shurin had to say about it: "This is a lovely story." Yes, you read that right. Lovely.

I'm not known for my 'lovely' stories, so maybe you should check out my tale of a mummy, eternal love and the curse of immortality.

And while we're on the subject of Mummies and their curses, check out the mystery of the moving Egyptian statuette.

No, not this Mummy.

Friday 28 June 2013

Gamebook Friday: La Nuit du Loup-Garou

Howl of the Werewolf is now available for all you French gamebook fans - published as La Nuit du Loup-Garou - and look at what a beast it is!

If you have been caught out by Howl of the Werewolf going out of print in the UK and you read French, then why not grab yourself a copy of La Nuit du Loup-Garou instead?

Il faudrait être insensé pour franchir les frontières du Lupravia, pays battu par des vents d'une froideur extrême, aux lugubres forêts, aux landes noyées de brouillard, hanté par les âmes des morts sans repos. Et pourtant c'est ce que vous devez faire. Attaqué par une meule de loups, et cruellement mordu par le plus monstrueux d'entre eux, vous voilà frappé d'une terrible malédiction dont l'origine ne peut se trouver que dans ce pays maudit. Sans doute avez-vous déjà mené à bien nombre de quêtes plus périlleuses les unes que les autres. Mais soyez bien conscient que si vous échouez dans cette nouvelle aventure, la bête qui sommeille maintenant en vous ne pourra résister à l'appel du Loup Garou. Vous avez jusqu'à la prochaine pleine lune!

Thursday 27 June 2013

Steampunk Thursday: The VSS Awards 2013

Just in case you didn't clock the post I made over the weekend, the Victorian Steampunk Society Awards 2013 are now open for nominations, so please consider the following...

9 out of 10 for Time's Arrow from Starburst Magazine: "This is a pun-fuelled, fun-filled romp for people who like wearing the colour brown and decorating everything they own with cogs."

The Eloquent Page: "Who knows where steampunk-ninja Jonathan Green will take Ulysses Quicksilver next, I can’t wait to find out."

Thank you. :-)

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Warhammer Wednesday: Mission Games Workshop - Maidenhead

Last Friday took me to Maidenhead and so I dropped by the local GW store.

There I was met by Luca, an enthusiastic fan of all things Black Library-related. We chatted about favourite books and authors, and naturally got onto the subject of my own stories.

Luca is currently challenging his regulars to create a miniature from any BL product that doesn't already have a dedicated mini of its own. This phenomenal piece is store regular Graham's take on the Daemon Engine from Nick Kyme's audio drama Fireborn.

And here is just a small part of Luca's own inquisitorial Warhammer army.

Luca did threaten to use one of my books for inspiration for a future modelling project. So who knows? Maybe in a few months' time I'll be posting about that on a future Warhammer Wednesday...

Monday 24 June 2013

Thought for the Day

"Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style."

~ Matthew Arnold*, British poet and cultural critic.
* Is it just me, or does Matthew Arnold look a little like one of our lizard overlords?

Sunday 23 June 2013

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow for Best Novel

The Victorian Steampunk Society Awards 2013 are now open for nominations, so please consider the following...

9 out of 10 for Time's Arrow from Starburst Magazine: "This is a pun-fueled, fun-filled romp for people who like wearing the colour brown and decorating everything they own with cogs."

The Eloquent Page: "Who knows where steampunk-ninja Jonathan Green will take Ulysses Quicksilver next, I can’t wait to find out."

Saturday 22 June 2013

Short Story Saturday: Ten Things Every Writer should Know

Courtesy of Nicola Vincent-Abnett...

1 - Write! Stop for nothing! He who hesitates is lost! You are not an editor, so do not tinker! You are a writer, so write, fast and urgently! If you heed no other piece of information from this list, heed this. In fact, go away, right now, and write. That’s exactly what I’m tempted to do.

2 - Read. This is a fuel-in, fuel-out game. If you do not read, you will not have words in the tank when it comes to writing. Having said that, when you are writing, do not read fiction, and if you read fiction while writing, steer clear of reading fiction in the genre, style or thematic pool that you’re writing in. Contamination by influence is an embuggerance.

3 - Be exuberant! You have a bigger budget than any film maker on the planet, so use it. Of course, if you don’t need the budget, or want it, use that to your advantage, too.

4 - If the spirit moves, move with it. If you become successful as a writer, there will come a time when you simply have to have the discipline to sit in a chair, more-or-less full-time, and write. It can be done. I do it, the husband does it, and lots of our friends and acquaintances do it. We all still have days when the spirit moves us, and we relish them. We also work for a living just like everyone else, and feel nostalgic for the days when writing was our beloved hobby. So, if writing is still your hobby and your first love, write when the spirit moves, because it’s the best feeling in the World, and one that many an aged, jaded writer regularly hankers after.

5 - Never ignore an idea. Never think you’ll remember an idea, because it was so good you couldn’t possibly forget it. You will forget it! Write it down! Do it now! I still don’t have the kind of discipline the husband has for this. He carries a notebook everywhere and uses it diligently. I do my best, but still lose about a third of the ideas I generate. Thank heavens I generate so many!

6 - Listen to the voices in your head. OK, so I have mental health issues, but this shit is still real. When a character starts talking to you, when you start to hear his voice, that’s the good stuff. Some stories write themselves, too. There’s a reason for that. It isn’t because you’re actually going mad (well, OK, for some of you it might be), it’s because you’ve put in the hours, you’ve got the experience, and you’ve relaxed into the job. Your mind and body know what they’re doing, and they’re doing it. Enjoy! It’s the kind of grown-up, real-writer equivalent of the spirit moving, and it’s heavenly.

7 - Find a way to research that doesn’t swallow up half your life. I know people who should be writers who are, in fact, researchers, and it frustrates the hell out of me. I employ rule number one, and write through, leaving blanks or keywords where I need to look something up or do more research. I research only small amounts of necessary source material, nothing anecdotal or supplementary, and I never, ever immerse myself in research. If you can’t concisely answer your question on a post-it note then you’re asking the wrong question.

8 - Write first for yourself. Write the stories that you would like to read. It doesn’t matter whether you write what you know, or whether it all comes straight out of your imagination, it should appeal to your own senses and sensibilities. If you write what you imagine an audience wants, or, worse still, what you imagine will sell by the shed-load, you’re asking for trouble.

9 - While you are writing, every word belongs to you. Once your work is published, not a single word belongs to you. Every reader is paying your mortgage; he can think whatever the hell he likes about the work that he has paid for, and all that remains for you to do is smile.

10 - Remember, always... The point of the writer is the reader!

Friday 21 June 2013

Gamebook Friday: It was 20 years ago today...

Or thereabouts.

Yes, it was twenty years ago this month that Spellbreaker, my first ever Fighting Fantasy gamebook, was released upon an unsuspecting world.

And what am I doing today? Writing the definitive history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Who'd've thought it?

If you fancy a trip down memory lane, you can still pick up a copy (of the Wizard Books edition) here. As as today is the Longest Day, you'll have plenty of time to read it too. ;-)

Thursday 20 June 2013

Steampunk Thursday: Steampunk Doncaster

So, last weekend I was in Doncaster for the town's inaugural Steampunk festival, cunning called Steampunk Doncaster.

As you might expect, there was all manner of steampunkery fun to be had over the course of the weekend and all manner of traders in attendance. As well as author readings and writing workshops, there were steampunk model photo sessions, leather crafts, a temperance bar, rayguns, and (of course) tea!

I was great to catch up with old acquaintances - including Meg Kingston, as well as Tom and Nimue Brown - and to make new ones, each if he had already met on Facebook. One of these was Rod Gillies, who puts my attempts at creating Lego versions of my stories to shame!

Rod Gillies reads from his new novel Neptune Rising.

 Richard - landlord of the Temperance Bar.

 It was good to see some familiar faces. Here Emma introduces her son to the delights of Pax Britannia.

Mr Green and Mr Brown, creators of Clemency Slaughter and the Legacy of D'Eath.

On the Saturday I read an extract from Time's Arrow (the most recent Ulysses Quicksilver adventure) and took part in a Q'n'A session as well. On the Saturday night a whole group of us** made our way into town for a bite to eat and something to drink after a very busy day, before heading to the BB Black Dog gig at Cask Corner.

I was also kept company over the course of the event by Archimedes the parrot, who received far more attention than I did and had many more photographs taken. (You can see more photographs of the event here.)

It just remains for me to say thank you to Craig, Candice and Tony for all their hard work in setting up the event and making sure it ran so smoothly and to Laura for looking after me so well (especially on the Saturday night). Special mention should also go to Rod Gillies (for the stove pipe hat) and Tom Brown (for the original painting of Yours Truly in Victorian attire).

Here's to next year's event, which will be even bigger and better than this year's!

* What is the collective noun for a group of Steampunks? An Anachronism?

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Warhammer Wednesday: Mission Games Workshop - Doncaster

I was in Doncaster over the weekend for the town's first Steampunk festival. As is my wont, on the Friday afternoon, I popped into town to visit the local GW store.

Manager Ciaran was most welcoming, allowing me to take these photographs of the store's fantastic miniatures and dioramas. The Dark Talon attacking the Heldrake has to be one of my favourites and might just end up making it into a short story at some point...

Tuesday 18 June 2013

The Second Annual Victorian Society Steampunk Awards

The Victorian Steampunk Society has, from its formation, recognised excellence in the world of Steampunk. At this year's Weekend at the Asylum (a.k.a. Asylum V) the VSS will make their awards for works released in 2012.

Nominations come from the general public with the shortlist being drawn from these nominations. Awards will be made following a popular vote of all AVSS members attending The Asylum. (Even if you're not attending the Asylum yourself this year, you can still suggest a nomination.)

Last year, two of my books were eligible for nomination. This year it's just the one - Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow, in the Best Novel category. Just so you know...

"Some wonderful twists, cracking prose and of course a storyline that just keeps you gripped."
~ Falcata Times

Tie-in Tuesday: More Moshi Monsters

News from Spider Eye Animation, in Cornwall...

Monday 17 June 2013

Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013

With one event down, it's time to tell you about the next public appearance I have coming up.

I shall be one of the guest authors/part of the Steampunk posse taking part in the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013 in London this summer. (There's a handy countdown clock at the top of the right hand sidebar.)

From the official press release:

As well as including the core elements of traditional science fiction conventions like literature and film, Nine Worlds seeks to broaden the scope of geekery to include many aspects of popular science and technology, while dispensing with the whole celeb photo and signing machine that turns many sci-fi events into all-day queuing marathons. As co-organiser Ludi Valentine explains, “Our guests are the writers, and creators, and scientists, the people who make awesome things happen, people with amazing stories to tell, and cool stuff to show you.”

To find out more about the event, follow this link.

Thought for the Day

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
~ Mark Twain

Sunday 16 June 2013

Steampunk Doncaster - Day 2

I shall be appearing at Steampunk Doncaster again today, so why not stop by my stand and pick up a copy of my latest Pax Britannia novel Time's Arrow? Or you could always have a go at Mr Green's Marvellous Steampunk Tombola instead.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Steampunk Doncaster - Day 1

I shall be appearing at Steampunk Doncaster today, giving a reading and taking part in a Q&A session from 1.00pm - 2.00pm. So if you're in the area, why not stop by and say "Hi!" to Archimedes and myself?

Friday 14 June 2013

Steampunk Thursday moves to Friday: International Steampunk Day 2013!

14 June is (or was) H G Wells' birthday, and as Mr Wells is one of the godfathers of the Steampunk movement, 14 June is International Steampunk Day.

And it just so happens that tomorrow is the start of Steampunk Doncaster*. In the lead up to the UK's newest Steampunk event, I wrote a guest post for Craig Hallam's blog**.

If you are going to Steampunk Doncaster, maybe I'll see you there...

* Anybody'd think they'd planned it that way.

** Craig Hallam is the organiser of the Litarium element of Steampunk Doncaster.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Feel better with Feelgood's!

If you're coming along to the Litarium at Steampunk Doncaster this weekend, you could pick up some of Dr Feelgood's Tonic Stout Fudge! Yes, you read that right - fudge! That you can eat! It's been made especially for me for this event by Empire Edibles, so make sure you grab some early before it all sells out!

Gamebook Friday moves to Thursday: Spellbreaker and Curse of the Mummy

A couple more reviews of some of my early gamebooks for you today. First we have Mark Lain's recent review of Spellbreaker (my first published book).

"Spellbreaker is on the whole a very good book and would probably have been viewed as a potential series classic had it been released during its heyday as it has lots going for it, in particular brilliant handling of theme and atmosphere... Certainly a much better debut than most of the other FF guest authors managed to put together."

To read the whole review, follow this link.

And then there's Marsten Eccleston's playthrough of Curse of the Mummy.

"The structure of this book is nicely different from the usual 'go kill the evil wizard' type, instead giving you more the feeling that you're exploring a new region of Titan with a new history to it. In short, it's a first-rate book, clear to see why it earned a wizard reprint."

To read the rest of the playthrough, click this link.

To buy either book (or any of my other Fighting Fantasy titles for that matter), go here.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

YOU ARE THE HERO - so have your say!

A round-up of YOU ARE THE HERO related-things (in case you haven't read them elsewhere already)...

Tomorrow I'm meeting with Geraldine Cooke, the editor who originally commissioned The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. If you were me, what would you like to ask her about Fighting Fantasy? Let me know!

I'm also commissioning some brand new artwork for the book by legendary movie concept artist Iain McCaig. If you were me, what would ask him to draw for YOU ARE THE HERO?

And lastly, I'm having some custom dice made for backers, but should the YOU ARE THE HERO logo replace the 1 spot or the 6 spot? Have your say today!

Cthulhu Wednesday: Dreaming In Darkness

13 June 2013 is a very special date in the Lovecraft calendar: it marks the launch of Dreaming In Darkness, a collection of four Lovecraft-inspired novellas, at the World Horror Convention in New Orleans.


“…for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come…” 
Shakespeare, Hamlet

Project creator John Prescott said; “I wanted to do a novella collection for a while with some other writers. I saw a piece of art a year or so ago and just fell in love with it. I knew there was a story buried there somewhere. I forgot about the piece for a while, and when I saw the piece of artwork that graces our cover the ideas meshed and fell into place pretty quick. I have worked and shared stories in anthologies with the three other authors that are in this collection. I knew they had the same strong interest in Lovecraft as mine, so it wasn’t a hard decision to ask them if they were interested in the project. Thank goodness they were and that  they all agreed to it. After reading all the novellas in our collection I feel that this book can and should sit comfortably in any horror fan’s special Lovecraft section on their bookshelf.” 

Each writer – two Americans and two from the UK - brought a unique spin on the themes of cosmic horror, madness and despair, so prevalent in Lovecraft’s fiction.

by Jonathan Green

“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… 

“The Legend of the Lambton Worm caught my imagination from the very first time I came across it in Carey Miller’s A Dictionary of Monsters and Mysterious Beasts when I was about 8 or 9 years old,” says Green. “I think this was in part because the illustrator had naively drawn the worm itself as a giant earthworm rather than in the form of a dragon, as it should have been. But that image stuck. 

“I have incorporated elements of the legend in my work before – most noticeably in my very first book Spellbreaker (1993) and more comprehensively in the short story Conqueror Worm (2009). This isn’t the first time I’ve incorporated the worm into the Cthulhu Mythos either. What you have in The Serpent’s Egg is effectively a sequel to an as yet unpublished story called The Scottish Patient. Perhaps one day you will be able to read both together, but only time – and the whim of dark gods – will tell.” 

Dreaming In Darkness will be released as a hardback book at the World Horror Convention with full-colour illustrations of each story from artist James Powell. It will be available from the Journal Stone vendor booth as well as online from all major outlets, and eBook versions will be available for all platforms the following week.