Monday 29 February 2016

Thought for the Day

"If you don't have conflict or a challenge, you don't have a story." 
~ Tom Kellner

Sunday 28 February 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu, partial table of contents

Readers anxiously awaiting the arrival of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu in bookstores later this year will be pleased to hear that I have already received eight out of the fifteen stories that will be appearing within the pages of the anthology, along with the bonus short story that will be going out to backers. The majority of those stories are at the revision stage, or have already been passed as final, which is not bad considering that the deadline for the delivery of the stories isn't until the end of the month.

The completed tales that will be appearing inside the anthology include...

Something Rotten
by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Exit, Pursued By...?
by James Lovegrove

by Jan Siegel

A Tiger's Heart, A Player's Hide
by Josh Reynolds

Star Crossed Lovers
by Jonathan Oliver

A Madness Most Discreet
by Michael Carroll

Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Graham McNeill

All future potential BFS Award winners, I'm sure you'll agree. And if you don't, Cthulhu will be having words with you...

... probably along the lines of ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.

Saturday 27 February 2016

Short Story Saturday: The British Fantasy Awards 2016

Just to let you know that voting for the British Fantasy Awards closes at the end of the month, which is Monday. You can see the suggestions list of eligible titles here, and if you peruse that list you'll notice that both my short stories anthologies SHARKPUNK and GAME OVER are there in the Best Anthology category, while the short stories that appear within in them are in the Best Short Story category.

You are eligible to vote what makes it through the the shortlist if you're:

a) a BFS member
b) attended FantasyCon 2015
c) are attending FantasyCon 2016.

But after that, it's over to the juries; if they decide there's been an egregious omission they'll add it to the list, then deliberate (as happened with YOU ARE THE HERO last year).

If you're eligible, please vote if you can. Not necessarily for any of the above (although that would be nice) but just to make sure you have your say. As Simon Bestwick, whose story The Face of the Deep from GAME OVER is eligible in the Best Short Story category, says, "Take part. The more people do, the fairer the selection process will be, and the more meaningful the award."

Friday 26 February 2016

Happy 39th Birthday, 2000AD!

Today, 2000AD is a grand 39 years-old! I those almost four decades, it has become a mainstay of British comics, and a pop culture icon. I have also been fortunate enough to have been published in the comic, just once, before Christmas last year.

I wasn't a comic that I had written, but it was a story featuring cultural icon Judge Dredd himself. That's right - I've written for 2000AD before, and I've written comics before, but I have never had a comic published inside the pages of 2000AD.

Despite being 44 years-old myself, that is still a writing achievement I would like to unlock. And who knows, maybe 2016 could be the year it happens.

The one time I have actually been published within the pages of 2000AD was in last year's bumper Christmas issue.

But for the time being, Happy Birthday, 2000AD! And to celebrate, why not head over to the 2000AD online shop and grab yourself a birthday bargain? (I'm after the Aquila graphic novel, myself.)

Gamebook Friday: SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK

Just a quick reminder, for all you gamebook fans out there, that you should tune in to Radio 4 at 8.00pm on Saturday and listen to the following...


In 1982, a publishing phenomenon began with the first appearance of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. It would be the first of a series that would sell some 17 million copies in 30 different languages. Which (JK Rowling notwithstanding) might sound unlikely for a set of children's books involving wizards, goblins and elves.
What was it that set them apart? They were part of a much wider literary innovation known as interactive fiction. You don't merely read them, page by page, cover to cover. You were asked to make decisions all the way along about what would happen next, where you would go, who you would even fight, which page to turn to. And you often had to keep a notebook and pair of dice close to hand while doing so. You might fail along the way and have to start again (or more likely you'd keep your finger in the previous page until you were satisfied you'd made the right choice). Essentially, they were puzzle books.
This sort of text based adventure would make its way very quickly into the digital realm as a very important early genre of computer game.
Naomi Alderman charts the rise and rise of the interactive story, from its beginnings in obscure avant-garde French literary groups through to the virtual worlds of modern video games, and the cult literary form today of Interactive Fiction.

Monday 22 February 2016

Thought for the Day

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest fear is fear of the unknown."
~ H P Lovecraft

Sunday 21 February 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: London Super Comic Convention 2016

Yesterday I attended the London Super Comic Con, held at London's Excel Centre. Whilst I was there I met up with a number of people who will be of interest to fans of Fighting Fantasy, 2000AD or even Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu.

Andi Ewington, the mastermind behind the comic book prequel to Ian Livingstone's Freeway Fighter was there, along with his self-published comic Overrun...

Ian Edginton, renowned 2000AD comic scribe and Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu contributor, was also there, promoting the fantastic Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds graphic novel...

Brian Bolland, famed 2000AD artist and the man behind the cover of Steve Jackson's Appointment with F.E.A.R. was there...

And I also ran into Gavin Mitchell, who is pencilling, inking, colouring and lettering Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars all by himself...

Who drew me this...

You can see more photos of my day here.

Friday 19 February 2016

Gamebook Friday: Odds and Sods

A few things to post about today, and all of them somehow gamebook-related.

Last week I went here...

And did this...

For this.

I have also recently joined the International Wizard of Oz Club...

And I also set up this Facebook group to start to spread the word about the forthcoming comic book prequel to Ian Livingstone's 1985 Fighting Fantasy gamebook Freeway Fighter...

Monday 15 February 2016

Thought for the Day

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

~ Toni Morrison, novelist

Friday 12 February 2016

Gamebook Friday: Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland reviews

1,576 people have liked Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Facebook page, 284 joined the Facebook group, and 238 people backed the Kickstarter​. It currently has 20 reviews on Amazon.

Keep 'em coming people! After all, if we sell enough copies maybe I'll be able to get started on my next re-imagining of a classic later this year.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Nothing says I love you like...

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland
A dark, steampunk re-imagining of a Victorian classic.

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.

The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus Vol. 2
The dark heart of the empire exposed!

In his ongoing adventures in the services of Queen and Empire, Ulysses Quicksilver – hero and dandy – begins to uncover the corruption and decay in his beloved Britannia. This worthy tome collects three tales of desperation: Evolution Expects
Blood Royal
Dark Side

You Are The Hero
A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.

Part history, part celebration, You Are The Hero chronicles more than three decades of Fighting Fantasy. This mighty tome will appeal to anyone who ever wiled away a washed-out summer holiday with only two dice, a pencil, and an eraser for company.

Tie-in Tuesday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu*

I received a rather curious email from Kickstarter yesterday. It read:

"Just wanted to drop you a line to say we really love your project, Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu!
We love it so much, in fact, that we featured it on our blog today."
Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu was fortunate enough to be promoted by Kickstarter during its run, being a Project They Love, and featuring on the Publishing projects page. My first thought was, it's all well and good giving the project a plug now, but it funded a week ago. Then I clicked on the link...

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu has featured on Kickstarter's 'The First 100,000 Funded Kickstarter Projects in 100 Numbers' blog post. Check out #73-#75 on the list:

In other words, out of the 100,000 projects funded via Kickstarter so far, Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu has been singled out for individual attention. Not bad, I say. Not bad at all.

* If Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu isn't tie-in fiction, then I don't know what is!

Monday 8 February 2016

Thought for the Day

"Success is 1% talent and 99% hard work." 

~ Albert Einstein

Friday 5 February 2016

Gamebook Friday: Herald of Oblivion on Steam

My Warhammer 40,000 gamebook Herald of Oblivion, which was turned into an app by Tin Man Games, is now available on Steam, where it has been receiving plenty of thumbs-up, which is nice.

This one made me smile and reminded me of a review I read recently of the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Colouring Book which claimed it was a story book because it had some words in it (probably less than 1,000 in all, so a pretty undemanding story book).

However, my favourite review is probably this one...

You can download Herald of Oblivion for the device of your choosing here.

Monday 1 February 2016

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu has funded on Kickstarter!

Thank you, to everyone, who has backed the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter, blogged about it, retweeted my tweets, liked my Facebook posts, and generally supported the project.
The Kickstarter ran for 43 days and in the end attracted 219 backers, raising 126% of its original funding goal, meaning that it will include some illustrations. 

We didn't quite make the second Stretch Goal, but once the dust has settled I will have another look at the figures and see what I can do.
Now the hard work really begins, for the contributing authors and myself at least, but the good news is that a number of stories are already finished. 
But for now... To sleep, perchance to dream...
"The rest is silence." ~ Hamlet, Hamlet.

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu - 6 hours to go!

There really isn't long left to back the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter, so what are you waiting for? Pledge your support now!

Thought for the Day

“The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good – in spite of all the people who say he is very good.”
~ Robert Graves, English poet, novelist, critic and classicist

Don't forget - you have until 1.00pm GMT today to back the Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu Kickstarter!