Sunday 30 November 2014

Happy Saint Andrew's Day!

Ever wondered why Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland? Or why the thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland? How Scotch whisky is made, or why the Scots celebrate Hogmanay?

If so, then you need my Scottish Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Scotland the Brave.

Saturday 29 November 2014

Steampunks in Space - update

Having been really looking forward to attending this weekend's Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre in Leicester, unfortunately I have had to pull out due to ill health.

There are still plenty of other authors attending, including the inestimable Toby Frost and the incomparable Kit Cox, so if you are going along have a great weekend.

I'm hoping I might be able to attend next year (if they'll have me) and should be fighting fit by next Saturday in time for Dragonmeet 2014.

Friday 28 November 2014

Black Friday 2014

Black Friday is the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Of course, the sensible thing would be to do all your Christmas shopping here. ;-)

First off there's my brand new stocking filler Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts.

Then, for the gamer in your life, there's YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.

And if anyone you know is into Steampunk culture, or simply enjoys thrilling action-adventure-oriented page-turners, then you can't go wrong with my Pax Britannia series.

Happy shopping! :-)

Thursday 27 November 2014

Steampunk Thursday: Steampunks in Space

Just a quick reminder that I shall be one of the guests authors appearing at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre in Leicester this weekend (Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November 2014).

So if you're in the area, why not come along and say "Hi!" and pick up one of my Pax Britannia novels while you're there? After all, Dark Side is set in space as well as on the Moon!

You could also pick up a signed copy of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, or Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts, and get your Christmas shopping sorted too.

You can find out more about this splendid event here.

Monday 24 November 2014

Thought for the Day

"The ideas aren't the problem - it's choosing the ones to go with, and then getting the work done..." 

Saturday 22 November 2014

Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts

Available now from Snowbooks (appropriately enough) Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts is the perfect stocking filler for anyone remotely interested in how the Christmas we celebrate today came to be.

Why do we send cards at Christmas time?
When was there a Frost Fair on the River Thames?
Who is the real Father Christmas?
Why do people build snowmen?

All of these questions, and more, are answered within the pages of Christmas Explained. The book also features an A to Z of Christmas. So don't delay, pick up your perfect Christmas present today!

Friday 21 November 2014

Gamebook Friday: YOU ARE THE HERO gets a mention on

Last Sunday a piece appeared on about YOU ARE THE HERO, as the aforementioned TV show gets a mention in the latterly mentioned book.

To find out more, click this link. To buy YOU ARE THE HERO (which currently has 33 5-star reviews), click here.

Monday 17 November 2014

Thought for the Day

"All we have left are irony and sarcasm. And internet memes."

~ Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award-winning author

Friday 14 November 2014

Gamebook Friday: SciFiNow on YOU ARE THE HERO

"Must read now!"

That's SciFiNow's verdict on YOU ARE THE HERO. The reviewer also gives the book 5 stars, so what more do you need to know?

If you ever enjoyed wiling away an afternoon with a Fighting Fantasy gamebook, then you'll love YOU ARE THE HERO.

Lavie Tidhar's A Man Lies Dreaming, and Scott K Andrews' Timebomb are also reviewed in the issue and are also of 'Must read now!' status, so what are you waiting for? ;-)

Monday 10 November 2014

Sunday 9 November 2014

The History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks at the Kilburn Literary Festival

Last Sunday I gave a talk on the history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and how YOU ARE THE HERO (the book on the same subject) came to be, as part of the inaugural Kilburn Literary Festival.

It was great to make new friends and to see some familiar faces among the audience, including Magnus Anderson and The Forest of Doom illustrator Malcolm Barter (which was a totally unexpected, but very pleasant, surprise)! A special shout-out must go to Andrew and Jamie,

Andrew, Magnus and Jamie, listening attentively to my talk.

Another pleasant surprise, courtesy of Mr Malcolm Barter.

I knew I'd find a use for those books one day.

Thank you to Geraldine, Kayla and Maria who organised Kilburn LitFest, and here's to doing it all again next year.

Friday 7 November 2014

Gamebook Friday: YOU ARE THE HERO

There's a fantastic (and detailed) review of YOU ARE THE HERO on that I thought I would share with you. Here are just some of the highlights.

"The entire book oozes flavour. The images evoke a sense of atmosphere and - for me and no doubt other older fans of the series - a sense of misty-eyed nostalgia."

"The whole tome gives me plenty of pleasure from beginning to end. There were more than a few ‘Oh, yeah! I remember that!’ moments and plenty of material that makes me look at my Fighting Fantasy collection and want to add more to it."

"An excellent read that takes old gamers like me back in time, as well as being an incredibly interesting history lesson in the early days of gamebooks and British gaming for the regular hobbyist to enjoy. Highly recommended."

You can read the review in its entirety here, and you can pick up a copy of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, here.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Steampunk Thursday: More Pax Britannia Reviews

Unnatural History - 5 stars!

Unnatural History is the first book in the steampunk-flavoured alternative history series Pax Britannia. Author Jonathan Green has crafted a vision of contemporary Britain where Queen Victoria still reigns over a British Empire that covers a quarter of the world.

The police are staffed largely with automata, airships crowd the skies, and London Zoo's Challenger Enclosure is stuffed full of dinosaurs. Against this backdrop, dandy adventurer Ulysses Quicksilver is engaged to investigate an apparently routine break-in at the Natural History Museum...

The pace is quick, and the action exciting. Quicksilver is not a bulletproof hero, and gets thoroughly smashed up on a number of occasions. His principal ability appears to be his sheer dogged tenacity to get the job done even when battered to a pulp... This is an effortlessly entertaining pulpy read, and seems to be pretty much perennially free on Amazon Kindle. Do take a look, chaps.

Anno Frankenstein - 4 stars!

My first foray into the steam punk universe of Pax Britannia, but pleasingly the novel does not require you to have read the previous books, it stands well on it's own... An easy book to get into and a hugely enjoyable read and I will now be seeking out the further books in this series. Packed with action and adventure this is like a novel version of a 2000AD comic and I don't mean that in a bad way.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Dragonmeet 2014 - Saturday 6 December 2014

In just over a month I shall be attending Dragonmeet 2014 as a guest author. Gaming industry legends Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone will also be in attendance.

So if you're yet to pick up a copy of YOU ARE THE HERO, or if you just want to find out more about how the book came to be, buy a ticket today and I'll see you there.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Why I'm embracing NaNoWriMo again

As Chris Baty says on NaNoWriMo's very own blog, “Don’t be offended if you encounter some good-natured ribbing; the idea of writing a novel in a month deserves to be laughed at.”

I'm not sure I'm entirely down with with idea of NaNoWriMo these days. Writing a 50,000 novel (or should that be novella?) in a month is rather ridiculous, and, if achieved, should really just be the beginning of the process. How long will finishing it take? And what about rewriting? And how about submitting it to an agent or editor?

That said, this year I am embracing NaNoWriMo again. The reason? I'm juggling so many writing projects at the moment that I need something to help me order them all and make sure that daily progress is being made in all areas.

So, I shall be updating my NaNoWriMo project page on a daily basis, and I'll let you know how I get on at the end of the month.

Wish me luck!

Monday 3 November 2014

Thought for the Day

“Growing up, like rewriting, is simply admitting how clueless you were not so long ago.”

Sunday 2 November 2014

A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks - TODAY!

This afternoon I shall be taking part in the inaugural Kilburn Literary Festival, giving a talk about the history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and how YOU ARE THE HERO came to be.

We will be gathering from 2.00pm at the North London Tavern, and there's still time for you to grab a ticket here.

Saturday 1 November 2014

13 Halloween Horrors

Inspired by the warmest Halloween in recorded history? Fancy a little more horror-inspired reading? Then why not try one of these?

1. The Serpent's Egg
13 short horror stories, including the Cthulhu mythos novella The Serpent's Egg, available now!

2. Human Nature
The Whitby Mermaid has been stolen from Cruickshank's Cabinet of Curiosities and consulting detective Gabriel Wraith is on the case. But what does the theft of the mermaid have to do with the mysterious House of Monkeys? And what of the enigmatic criminal known as the Magpie? But there are worse things lurking under the moors outside Whitby than mermaids... David Cronenberg-style body horror in the world of Pax Britannia, including a highly warped version of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

3. Evolution Expects
More than ever before, the realm of Magna Britannia needs a saviour - a man like new Prime Minister, Devlin Valentine. But while London prepares for the launch of the Jupiter Station there are those who want this longed-for change to come about more quickly - people who are willing to give evolution a helping hand.

4. Blood Royal
St. Paul's Cathedral entertains a new congregation, one driven by its own unholy creed, while a coldly clinical killer is carving a name for himself across the city - a name that has been whispered upon the streets of Whitechapel for over a hundred years.

5. Anno Frankenstein
1943 ~ The Nazis are battling the empire of Magna Britannia, cooking up necrotic super-soldiers in the gothic towers of Castle Frankenstein. In the forests outside the castle, other forces are gathering, including Dr. Jekyll and the ladies of the Monstrous Regiment. But there may be other gothic monsters waiting in the hills around Darmstadt...

6. Spellbreaker
Rassin Abbey has guarded its arcane treasures for centuries. But when their Black Grimoire spellbook is stolen, the land of Ruddlestone is plunged into a crisis of epic proportions. Should the legendary Casket of Shadows be opened, the Infernal Beast will be unleashed to wreak its terrible carnage across the Old World. On the night of Shekka's Moon, scant days away, this will surely come to pass, unless YOU can retrieve the Black Grimoire in the nick of time... Witches, demons and devilry abound in my first ever published book.

7. Curse of the Mummy
Beware the Curse of Akharis! When an ancient tomb in the Desert of Skulls turns out to belong to Akharis, a legendary ruler from a previous age, YOU discover some of his followers are trying to return the evil pharaoh to life. Soon you will have to learn the true meaning of The Curse of the Mummy!

8. Bloodbones
Bloodbones lives! The dread pirate-lord Cinnabar, scourge of the twelve seas, terrorised the seafarers of the Old World in a bloody reign of terror until a brave adventurer put an end to his evil. But now Cinnabar is back from the dead, seeking revenge and with the dark powers of voodoo at his command. Only YOU can stop the pirate captain and his crew of bloodthirsty cut-throats.

9. Howl of the Werewolf
Lupravia is a cursed land. Only the foolhardy or insane would willingly pass beyond its borders and enter that benighted realm of predators, but enter you must after a vicious wolf attack sets you on the path to murder and madness. Steadily succumbing to the call of the wild and the beast within, YOU must seek out a cure to your condition before the next full moon. But how long can you survive in a land where the powers of darkness hold sway and all live in fear of the Howl of the Werewolf?

10. Night of the Necromancer
Death is not the end...Returning to your ancestral castle having been away fighting a crusade against the forces of darkness in the Mauristatian principality of Bathoria, you are struck down by a band of murderers within sight of home. Driven by the need to know why you have been killed, and on whose orders, YOU rise again as a ghost and set out to solve the mystery of your own murder.

11. Shadows Over Sylvania
YOU are the Vampire! A blood war has been declared between the life-leeching bloodlines of the cursed county of Sylvania. As a thrall of one of the bloodthirsty rulers of this benighted land, you will be forced to battle numerous enemies who would stand against you, both mortal and Undead.

12. Warlock's Bounty: Revenge of the Sorcerer
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!

13. Temple of the Spider God
Temple of the Spider God sees YOU uncovering the schemes of an horrifying spider-worshipping cult. Arachnophobes, beware!

A Man Lies Dreaming book launch

Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to be among those invited to attend the launch of Lavie Tidhar's astonishing new novel A Man Lies Dreaming, held at Hatchards of Piccadilly, London's (and by extension the UK's) oldest bookshop.

Lavie was in discussion with Jake Kerridge of the Telegraph and it was a truly fascinating, not to say entertaining, interview. Afterwards Lavie proved that he really is a proper writing by picking up a pen and writing things in people's books. Here's what he wrote in mine:

I'm going to cherish these words when Lavie's a Booker prizewinner
(which is surely only a matter of time).

I was great to catch up with Anne Perry of Hodderscape and Jared Shurin of Jurassic London, not to mention Jonathan Oliver of Solaris/Abaddon/Ravenstone Books. It's at occasions like this that I really appreciate only being a 30 minute Tube ride away from central London.