Sunday 31 July 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: Less than 2 weeks until the official Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu launch

Two weeks yesterday sees the official launch of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu at Forbidden Planet in London, on Saturday 13th August at 1.00pm (GMT).
Register your interest in attending now on Facebook.
Register your interest in attending now on Facebook.
We already have a number of authors and artists who have confirmed that they will be attending, including Andrew Lane, Ian Edginton, Adrian Chamberlin, James Lovegrove, Ed Fortune, Malcolm Barter, Tony Hough and Neil Roberts. So keep spreading the word and maybe I'll see you in two weeks' time.
While we're gearing ourselves up for the official Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu launch, behind the scenes we're also busy preparing all the rewards that will be going out to backers, including T-shirts, art prints and the eShort Lovecraft's Labours Lost
But most exciting of all is that we are expecting delivery of the paperback by the end of the week. Once the books have been checked in at the distributors they will then be sent out to backers. Fingers crossed that they arrive on time!
So until next time...

Friday 29 July 2016

Gamebook Friday: Official Fighting Fantasy Colouring Books - YOU are the Colourist!

Now available from Snowbooks, are the first four Official Fighting Fantasy Colouring Books!

The adult colouring book craze has been gaining momentum over recent months, but you have never seen a set of colouring books like these before.

A4 format, they feature the black and white line art from the FF gamebooks The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, The Forest of Doom, Deathtrap Dungeon and City of Thieves, by the fantasy art legends Russ Nicholson, Malcolm Barter and Iain McCaig. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain also features the cover art of Martin McKenna.

The books are available to buy from here in the UK, and from here in the US.

Sunday 24 July 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: Shall I compare thee to an Elder Thing?

Last Shakespeare Sunday, I previewed the last of the 15 stories that appear in Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu. But it's not only short stories that are to be found within this rather wonderful cover...

Shakespeare wasn’t only a playwright, he was a poet as well, most famous for his 154 sonnets, and so Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu also features two Lovecraftian-themed sonnets. 
First there's Nimue Brown’s What Dreams May Come, and then there's Danie Ware’s The Green-Ey’d Monster. Both form a fitting tribute to the Bard of Stratford whilst at the same time honouring Lovecraft’s literary legacy.

Don't forget, the official book launch of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu will be taking place at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London on Saturday 13th August between 1 and 2pm, and you can register your interest here.

Friday 22 July 2016

Gamebook Friday: YOU are the Colourist!

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone present

Fighting Fantasy Colouring Books

Fighting Fantasy gamebooks have sold over 17 million books worldwide, in over 30 languages. YOU were the hero in stories such as Deathtrap DungeonThe Forest of Doom, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and City of Thieves, fighting monsters and foes with a pencil, two dice and an eraser. And now –

Bring your favourite wizards, monsters and fantastic settings to life, colouring the original emotive illustrations by artists Iain McCaigMalcolm Barter and Russ Nicholson.

About the authors

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone co-founded iconic games company Games Workshop in 1975, launching Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer in Europe. They co-authored The Warlock of Firetop Mountain,which was published in 1982, and went on to write over 20 titles in the best-selling Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. Ian became Executive Chairman of Eidos in 1995 where he launched global video games franchises includingLara Croft: Tomb Raider andHitman. Steve became a Director of Lionhead, the award-winning video games studio best known for developing Fable.

About the illustrators

Russ Nicholson is an illustrator of Fantasy, well known for his contribution to the Fighting Fantasy series, including the first such book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. He has also produced illustrations for Games Workshop publications, including White Dwarf Magazine, and more recently has worked with Le Grimoire, Scriptarium, and Tin Man Games, amongst others.

Malcolm Barter studied Illustration & Design at Ipswich School of Art. He has freelanced in Publishing, Editorial & Advertising, notably illustrating Ian Livingstone’s classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook The Forest of Doom. His recent work has included more Fighting Fantasy, having been tracked down and lured back by French publishers in 2013.

Iain McCaig is an award-winning artist and one of the most sought-after conceptual designers working in the entertainment industry today. His work includes the landmark designs for Queen Amidala and Darth Maul, for Lucasfilm, as well as several Fighting Fantasy covers, and the internal illustrations for the seminal City of Thieves and the bestselling Deathtrap Dungeon.

Martin McKenna has illustrated covers and internal illustrations for twenty-two of the Fighting Fantasy series from Puffin Books/Wizard Books. He also produces concept and production art for computer games, and film and television productions, which have included the BAFTA-nominated The Magician of Samarkand for the BBC and Gulliver's Travels for 20th Century Fox.

About the books

Available 28th July 2016  |  297 x 210 mm | Published by Snowbooks

Available worldwide from,, and all good bookshops

9781911390039 • The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Colouring Book • £9.99, $14.95 • paperback
9781911390046 • The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Colouring Book • £25, $40 • hardback

9781911390053 • The Forest of Doom Colouring Book • £9.99, $14.95 • paperback
9781911390060 • The Forest of Doom Colouring Book • £25, $40 • hardback

9781911390091 • Deathtrap Dungeon Colouring Book • £9.99, $14.95 • paperback
9781911390107 • Deathtrap Dungeon Colouring Book • £25, $40 • hardback

9781911390077 • City of Thieves Colouring Book • £9.99, $14.95 • paperback
9781911390084 • City of Thieves Colouring Book • £25, $40 • hardback

Pre-order at

Sunday 17 July 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: Pat Kelleher - The Terrors of the Earth

The last story to be previewed from Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu is Pat Kelleher's The Terrors of the Earth. I first met Pat when we were both working for Abaddon Books, the imprint for which I created the Pax Britannia steampunk series and Pat wrote the No Man’s World trilogy.
Pat and I got chatting about Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu back at Edge-Lit last year, when I was there promoting my first short story anthology SHARKPUNK. Pat has taken King Lear as the inspiration for his story, The Terrors of the Earth, and here's an extract...

Gazing out through rheumy eyes at his three daughters, gathered courtiers, nobles and servants, Great Leyh’r, son of Bladud, son of Lud, King of the ancient Isle of Albion, sat throned in Troynovant’s Great Hall.  
Outwardly, he bore the stately manner of a King of Albion. Inside he howled like a man condemned, beating at the confines of his cell, unable to escape his fate; a fate thrust upon him by Divine Right of Succession and the Blood of Albion that ran in his veins. He had seen some fourscore years, threescore of those upon the throne of Albion, the previous score in the company of his father, King Bladud, and his dark obsession, of which the rule of the kingdom was but the least of it. 
Leyh’r felt the ineffable yoke of his office press down upon him like the years on his back that weakened his sinews, agued his bones and misted his sight. If he could bear it a little longer he might yet do some good, even though he must still carry the heavier portion of that burden alone toward death.

Pat Kelleher is a freelance writer. He served his time writing a wide variety of TV licensed characters, across a bewildering array of media, has several non-fiction books to his credit and a collection of children’s stories published by Bloomsbury. His No Man’s World series of pulp sci-fi novels is published by Abaddon Books, along with his Gods and Monsters e-novella,Drag Hunt. He also worked on Sniper Elite 3, the latest in the video game series from Rebellion and has short stories published by Tickety Boo Press and the award-winning Fox Spirit Books.

Friday 15 July 2016

Gamebook Friday: Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland

As it's Gamebook Friday, I thought it appropriate to share some recent reviews of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland with you.

"I don't even play adventure games books as a rule but I liked this one: the story is very strong (creepy!!) and the images are fab. Lots of twists and turns so I cheated (I'm sure this is very bad form) and read all sorts of possible options without even rolling the dice. I'm bad, I know but it was too tempting which just shows how well written it is! Very enjoyable."

"Thoroughly entertaining, ‘Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland’ is highly imaginative whilst keeping to the flavour of the original."

It's also interesting that one reviewer had this to say about the book:

"Personally I’m not generally a fan of adventure gamebooks written in the third person feeling that it loses some of the interactive immersion offered by being written in the second person. In this case, though, it keeps that feel of the original source material and maintains that lightly ironic sense of humour that permeates Carroll."

This is something I'm battling with at the moment with The Wicked Wizard of Oz, which is currently in the planning stages; do I write it in the third person, as in Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, or do I write it in the second person? Decisions, decisions...

Thursday 14 July 2016

Steampunk Thursday: Time's Arrow

Happy Bastille Day, to all my French readers - and there are a few, thanks to my Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and some of my Warhammer novels, having been translated into French.

As it's Bastille Day, and as it's Steampunk Thursday, it seems only right to plug the eighth Ulysses Quicksilver adventure to date, Time's Arrow. The whole story takes place in France - Paris to be precise - and even features a steampunk King Kong.

According to one reviewer, "the wonderful spark of Jonathan Green's writing still shines through and you have to love his wonderful use of tried and tested tropes in a way that just sings like a melody when in his hands."

You can pick up a copy for yourself here.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Dr John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I's pet sorcerer

Did you know that today is the birthday of Dr John Dee - alchemist, cosmologist, mathematician, occult philosopher, and occasional adviser to Queen Elizabeth I?

John Dee's life reads like a work of the most incredible fiction, and it has certainly inspired many authors over the years. Only last year I read Phil Rickman's The Bones of Avalon, which casts Dee in the role of sleuth, sent to solve a mysterious murder in the town of Glastonbury.

Dee also appears in John Reynolds' A Tiger's Heart, A Player's Hide, which will be published in about a month's time in my new short story anthology Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu.

And Dee will also be making an appearance in a story of my own, hopefully within the next year...

Monday 11 July 2016

Thought for the Day

"I'm only really alive when I'm writing."
~ Tennessee Williams

Sunday 10 July 2016

Shakespeare Sunday: Exeunt

As you will already know, if you have been following these weekly Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu updates, three of the stories that appear in the anthology are set during William Shakespeare's lifetime. 
The first of these is Josh Reynolds’ A Tiger’s Heart, A Player’s Hide, which is set during the summer of 1592, when an outbreak of plague resulted in the closure of all of the theatres in London. The second is Guy Haley’s A Reckoning, which takes as its inspiration the circumstances surrounding the murder of Shakespeare’s friend, and fellow playwright, Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe in a tavern brawl in Deptford, in 1593. And the third is John Reppion'sExeunt.
The story takes place towards the end of Shakespeare’s life, in 1616, and here's a taster...

The night outside was cold and wet. The sky just as blank and lifeless as it had seemed through Fletcher's grimy window. William hurriedly fastened his cloak and set off at a pace along the narrow, busy street. He felt old. In his very marrow, his heart, his mind. Old and weary.
Why had he even returned to London this time? What hold did this filthy city have upon him that he could not be content to leave it behind once and for all? He should be in Stratford with Anne. She was alone in the house now, Judith married and gone only one month ago, and yet here he was.
Mud and shit sucked at the wrinkled leather of his boots as he stamped along. He did not need to think about where he was going, his feet knew the way. He walked on, lost in thought, oblivious to those he passed, many of whom recognised him and some of whom he should have recognised himself.
At the mention of Hamnet it had been as if a great sorrow sunk deep within had risen and burst to the surface of William's being. Sorrow and guilt too, for he had not been with the boy at the end. Had not seen nearly enough of him in his short life.
Tears were on his cheeks once more but they were almost indistinguishable from the sooty, spattering drizzle which fell over all.
No, that was not right. Though it had been John who had spoken Hamnet's name, the boy's spectre had already been summoned by William's own thoughts and words.
How had John known though? Could the answer be that he was indeed a true friend? A man who knew William's sadness and understood how he had suffered. He said he had not meant to wound him, and yet –
William squelched to a halt at a gateway off Borough High Street. He shoved the gate inward with a painful creak which felt like it emanated as much from himself as the straining hinges. Arranged around three sides of the yard beyond were the higgledy–piggledy buildings of The Tabard Inn – a hostelry which had been in business for more than three centuries. Despite the rain there were some whose merry-making had spilled out into the court, several taking advantage of the yards darker corners to satiate those urges and appetites drink so often provokes.
Upon entering The Tabard, William was immediately accosted by a party of theatre-folk. He knew a few by sight, only one or two by name, yet felt no inclination to decline their insistent invitation. Indeed, he had more or less counted on as much. His cup was kept full, food ordered and eaten. Either they would pay for the pleasure of his company, or else he would be left with a hefty bill to settle. He did not much care which. Their inane, self-important jabbering was a welcome distraction from his earlier vexation and the renewed rawness of his sorrows. He laughed when they laughed, slapped their backs as they did his, until at last, in his cups, he stood upon the table and bellowed a toast.
“Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should, with joy, pleasance revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!”
A roar of approval. The meaning and origin of the speech lost on almost all present. William, wobbling on the table-top, laughed then coughed until his eyes watered.
“And now,” he cried “I must piss!”
A roar even louder and more exultant.
Out in the yard Shakespeare planted his feet firmly and sent forth a golden arc, frothing a puddle until upon its surface was a head worthy of an ale. Triumphant, he looked to the sky. The rain had ceased, the clouds dispersed, and the heavens were now filled with stars.
“Will.” The voice came from across the yard, little more than a whisper.
Adjusting his breeches, William peered into the shadows. A figure slowly melted into existence out of the darkness near the gateway. The man looked familiar, Shakespeare realised. He had passed him in the street on his way to The Tabard. He had been there among the drinkers in the tavern too. A young man with flowing locks, his cheeks bare, upper lip and chin adorned with but a teenager's growth of hair. The face was one he knew of old. 
John Reppion
John Reppion

John Reppion was born in Liverpool, England in 1978. His writing career began in 2003 when he collaborated with his wife Leah Moore on a proposal for a six issue mini-series entitled Wild Girl. The proposal was accepted and the series was published by Wildstorm in 2004/05.
Since then the duo have written many classic characters including Doctor Who (in The Whispering Gallery with artist Ben Templesmith), Sherlock Holmes (in two original mysteries for Dynamite Entertainment), and Dracula (their adaptation of which is now on several university reading lists).
John’s interests in fortean phenomena, esoterica, folklore, philosophy, theology and horror have led to his writing articles and reviews for numerous magazines and periodicals including The Fortean TimesStrange AttractorThe Daily Grail and SteamPunk Magazine. 2008 saw the release of his first full length book 800 Years of Haunted Liverpool, published by The History Press. His Lovecraftian Liverpool tale On The Banks of the River Jordan was published in 2014 in Ghostwoods Books’ Cthulhu Lives! anthology.

Don't forget - the official book launch of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu will be taking place at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London on Saturday 13th August between 1 and 2pm! 
You can register your interest in the book launch and signing here, at the Facebook event page for the book launch. You can also let all your friends know about the event by sharing the event on your own Facebook page.