Sunday 31 January 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu - 24 hours to go!

It's been a long journey, but it's almost at an end. Click the image below to find out more.

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu - 36 hours to go!

With just a day and a half left to run on the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter, now's the time to add a little something extra to your pledge.

Maybe a set of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu postcards, or a caricature by Nicole Wykes...

Maybe a set of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu art prints...

Maybe a portrait of yourself in a suitably Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu setting and situation...

Maybe an exclusive Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu T-shirt...

But whatever you decide to do, make sure that you tell everyone you know to back the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter too.

Thank you.

Saturday 30 January 2016

Short Story Saturday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu roster of writers

You may have heard me mention Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu, my next anthology as editor, on this blog occasionally over the last month or so.

You may even have visited the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter page yourself and perhaps even watched the video listing the names of so of those involved.

But maybe you'd also like to know what the writers on the roster are working on for the anthology. Well here are a few hints...

Michael Carroll gives us his take on Romeo and Juliet.

Jonathan Oliver revisits the start-crossed lovers but in a very different, modern context.

Josh Reynolds, Guy Haley and John Reppion give us a trio of tales that feature the Bard himself.

Ian Edginton and James Lovegrove, both inspired by the same legendary stage direction, take things in two very different directions.

C L Werner takes on Henry V and the cosmic horrors of the Cthulhu-verse.

Adrian Tchaikovsky revisits Hamlet in Something Rotten.

Andrew Lane tackles Shakespeare's most famous Roman play, Julius Caesar.

Adrian Chamberlin brings out the horror in the Tragedy of Richard III.

Pat Kelleher brings his exacting scholar's eye to King Lear.

And Scottish writer Graham McNeill reinterprets Shakespeare's infamous Scottish Play.

As well as all that, we also have Jan Siegel, Danie Ware and Nimue Brown bringing us Shakespearean Cthulhoid poetry, and there are even more stories yet to be announced!

So what are you waiting for? If you haven't backed the project on Kickstarter already, now is the time to do so!

Friday 29 January 2016

Why Steampunks should back the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter

There are just three days left to run for the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter, but why should fans of Steampunk stories (such as my Pax Britannia novels) back the project?

Well, how about because the anthology will feature brand new short stories by SHARKPUNK contributors, Royal Occultist writer Josh Reynolds and Young Sherlock Holmes scribe Andrew Lane?

And don't forget, everyone who backers the Kickstarter will receive a bonus short story digital download.

So don't delay, and back the Kickstarter today!

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu - 5 days to go!

There are just five days left to run for the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter, but why should you back the project (if you haven't done so already)?

Well, how about because the anthology will feature over a dozen brand new short stories by the likes of NYT best-selling authors James Lovegrove and Graham McNeill? Or because it will feature brand new poetry by Jan Siegel and Danie Ware?

Some of the stories have already been written, including Adrain 'Shadows of the Apt' Tchaikovsky's Something Rotten, which involves a very dark re-telling of Hamlet, and A Madness Most Discreet, a Lovecraftian re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet by 2000AD's Michael Carroll.

And don't forget, everyone who backers the Kickstarter will receive a bonus short story digital download.*

So don't delay, and back the Kickstarter today!

* And if that's not enough, you could also bag yourself a Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu T-shirt.

Monday 25 January 2016

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu - 1 week to go!

The Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter campaign concludes one week today, at 1.00pm GMT on Monday 1st February 2016. And that means there's just one day left to add your social media muscle to the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Thunderclap campaign.

So don't delay - get your pledges in today! And add your voice to the unholy choir that will be broadcasting news of the Great One's coming to the world.

Thought for the Day

Margaret Atwood’s Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

1. Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
2. If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type. 
3. Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do. 
4. If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick. 
5. Do back exercises. Pain is distracting. 
6. Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off B. 
7. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up. 
9. Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
10. Prayer might work. Or reading ­something else. Or a constant visualization of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Short Story Saturday: Why it is vitally important you lend your social media support to the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Thunderclap campaign.

What is Thunderclap? Thunderclap is the first crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together.

How does it work? If you reach your supporter goal (we need 100), Thunderclap will blast out a timed Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr post from all your supporters, creating a wave of attention.

Who's using it? From passionate individuals with a message to share, to organizations such as The White House, Levis and the United Nations.

It won't cost you a thing - all you have to do it let Thunderclap link to your Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr account, which will then post a one-time message to your account on January 27 at 12:00PM EST - but it could make all the difference as to whether the genre mash-up anthology of the year funds or not.

The thing is, Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu is currently funded, but until the Kickstarter ends at 1.00pm GMT on February 1 people can still pull out. If one of our higher level backers pulls out, the project will no longer fund. So, as you can imagine, the next week could potentially be a very stressful time for me and everyone who is contributing to the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu anthology.

So what we need is to spread word of the project to other potential interested parties, and the best way to do this is via Thunderclap. And with your support that could be in the region of 200,000 people! Even if only 0.1% of those people reached go on to back the project, that would still be another 200 backers (more than there are already backing the Kickstarter at the time of writing this update).

As well as giving the Kickstarter a much-needed boost to help it cross the finish line in eight days' time, if it raises enough money the book will be illustrated throughout, so by supporting the Thunderclap campaign, even if you've already supported the Kickstarter, you could help ensure that the anthology is the best book we can produce.

So don't delay - sign up to the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Thunderclap campaign today! And while you're at it, why not add an exclusive Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu T-shirt to you backer pledge?

Talking of social media support, Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland could do with some more reviews on Amazon. ;-)

Thank you.

Several years after the events of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Alice finds herself back in Wonderland and called upon to save the world of playing cards and talking animals from the increasingly deranged Queen of Hearts. But all is not as it first appears in the fluctuating dream world and soon Alice is battling to save herself from the nightmare that is rapidly overtaking the realm. 

In Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, YOU decide which route Alice should take, which perils to risk, and which of Wonderland's strange denizens to fight. But be warned - whether Alice succeeds in her quest or meets a dire end as the nightmare escalates will be down to the choices YOU make. Are you ready to go back down the rabbit-hole?

Thursday 21 January 2016

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu and the 2000AD Thrillcast

If you're a fan of 2000AD (like me) then you really should be listening to the monthly podcast, or rather, Thrill-cast.

This month PR droid Molch-R interviews not only GAME OVER contributor Michael Carroll, but also Stickleback-creator Ian Edginton. And what's even better than that is that both Mike and Ian are writing stories for the forthcoming Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu anthology.

So, if you're a fan of their comics work, you really should back the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter and check out their utterly awesome prose as well.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Tie-in Tuesday: Public Lending Right loans - 2014/2015

It's rather appropriate that this particular blog post about my PLR earnings for the last year should appear on a Tie-in Tuesday, since the books that boost my income the most, thanks to PLR, are tie-in titles.

It turns out this is my ninth year of doing this, so here's the list of my top ten most library-loaned books for July 2014 - June 2015 (with last year's placings in brackets):

1. (2) Monstrous Missions (Feb 12)
2. (5) The Great Moshling Egg (Dec 13)
3. (3) Zack Binspin (Mar 13)
4. (1) The Night Before Twistmas (Sep 12)
5. (4) The Horror of Howling Hill (Mar 08)
6. (6) Moshi Music Stars (Jan 13)
7. (7) Crisis on Coruscant (Jan 10)
8. (8) Stormslayer (Sep 09)
9. (12) What is Myrrh Anyway? (Oct 08)
10. (9) Moshi Monsters: Moshipedia (Nov 13)

5 Moshi Monsters titles, 2 Doctor Who titles, 1 Star Wars title, 1 Fighting Fantasy gamebook, and 1 non-fiction book.

My most borrowed Fighting Fantasy gamebook was clearly Stormslayer, and my most borrowed Pax Britannia novel (or rather omnibus) was The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus Vol.1.

Monday 18 January 2016

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu at SF Signal

The very kind people over at SF Signal allowed me to write a piece about the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter and you can read it for yourself here.

Thought for the Day

“I couldn't live a week without a private library - indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.”
~ H P Lovecraft

I know the feeling.

Friday 15 January 2016

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu - New Add-ons Added!

If you back the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter, you don't only get the chance to own a very special limited edition of the genre mash-up anthology of the year, you also get the chance to buy some very special add-ons.

First of all there's the set of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu postcards by Nicole Wykes...

Then there's the chance to have yourself immortalised as a caricature by the very talented Ms Wykes...

And then there's the chance to have your portrait painted by the amazing Kate Burmak (a.k.a. Ekaterina Maximovich)...

Sunday 10 January 2016

Thought for the Day

“From our positions as individual creators, whether of fiction or non-fiction, we authors see a landscape occupied by several large interests, some of them gathering profits in the billions, some of them displaying a questionable attitude to paying tax, some of them colonising the Internet with projects whose reach is limitless and whose attitude to creators’ rights is roughly that of the steamroller to the ant.

“It’s a daunting landscape, far more savage and hostile to the author than any we’ve seen before. But one thing hasn’t changed, which is the ignored, unacknowledged, but complete dependence of those great interests on us and on our talents and on the work we do in the quiet of our solitude. They have enormous financial and political power, but no creative power whatsoever. Whether we’re poets, historians, writers of cookery books, novelists, travel writers, that comes from us alone. We originate the material they exploit.”

~ Philip Pullman

Saturday 9 January 2016

Short Story Saturday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu and the BFS Awards 2016

22 days from now, the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter will conclude at 1.00pm GMT on Monday 1st February.

We are currently £1,400 from the initial funding goal, with 120+ backers, but, as they say, the more the merrier!* Once we reach the initial goal we will then unlock the first of the Stretch Goals, which will be to produce some awesome artwork for the book.

Over 400 people backed my first successful Kickstarter. Over 200 backed Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland. Seeing as this is going to be a book featuring mash-ups of Shakespeare's greatest plays and H P Lovecraft's most terrifying creations, I would hope we could attract more backers than those two other projects put together, but it relies on people helping to spread the word and let other potential backers know that the project is currently live on Kickstarter.

In other short story news, the British Fantasy Awards 2016 are currently seeking suggestions for the long lists. If you look, you will notice that both SHARKPUNK and GAME OVER are on the list for Best Anthology, and that the short stories featured within all feature under the Best Short Story category.**

Whether any of them get any further than the long list remains to be seen, so watch this space...

* The same goes for Amazon reviews!

** Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland also appears under the Best Fantasy Novel, but I doubt it will get any further than that. There isn't a category for Best Adventure Gamebook. Maybe there should be...

Monday 4 January 2016

Thought for the Day

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." 

~ Agatha Christie

Friday 1 January 2016

Happy New Kickstarter!

Currently live on Kickstarter is my latest crowdfunding project - Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu!

Shakespeare's greatest plays clash with H P Lovecraft's most terrifying creations in the genre mash-up of the year!

Imagine if it had been William Shakespeare, England’s greatest playwright, who had discovered the truth about the Great Old Ones and the cosmic entity we know as Cthulhu, rather than the American author H P Lovecraft.

Imagine if Stratford’s favourite son had been the one to learn of the dangers of seeking after forbidden knowledge and of the war waged between the Elder Gods in the Outer Darkness, and had passed on that message, to those with the eyes to see it, through his plays and poetry.

Welcome to the world of Shakespearean Cthulhu!

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu is an anthology of short stories featuring tales that are a mash-up of the Cthulhu Mythos and Shakespeare’s most popular plays - as well as the world in which he lived - written by some of the top genre authors in the business, to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, on 23rd April 2016.

There is no better time to produce such a book as this, and that is why we need your help in spreading the word now! The Kickstarter will conclude one month day, at 1.00pm GMT on Monday 1st February 2016.