Friday 30 June 2017

Gamebook Friday: Fighting Fantasy Fest 2

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 is the 35th anniversary celebration of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks that is taking place at the University of West London, in Ealing, on Saturday 2nd September 2017. And you could be among the attendees!

Early Bird tickets are only on sale until midnight on Sunday 2nd July after which time Adult tickets will increase in price from £35 to £45 each. Also available to pre-order are event-exclusive Adventurer's Backpacks, which include a limited edition t-shirt, lanyard and tag, and A4 art print.

As well as Guests of Honours, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, you will also be able to meet a host of creators involved in the creation of your favourite adventure gamebooks, including authors Marc Gascoigne, Jamie Thomson and Peter Darvill-Evans, artists Malcolm Barter, Alan Langford and Tony Hough, and cartographer Leo Hartas.

There will also be all manner of companies demoing their games on the day - including Arion Games, publishers of Advanced Fighting Fantasy Second Edition, and Nomad Games, creators of the new Fighting Fantasy Legends game - as well as numerous traders, such as Otherworld Miniatures, Scholastic UK, Snowbooks, and DMB Games.

My new book, YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, will also be launching at the event.

So don't delay, grab a bargain Early Bird ticket and Adventurer's Backpack today!

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Authors for Grenfell

If you are interested in owning a copy of the very rare, cloth-bound Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland collector's edition and the hardback collector's edition of The Wicked Wizard of Oz, and would like to do your bit for charity in the process, please check out my auction lot on Authors for Grenfell.

Signed collector’s edition gamebooks by Jonathan Green and illustrated by Kev Crossley.

ITEM: Signed collector’s editions of the ACE Gamebooks Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland and The Wicked Wizard of Oz, written by Jonathan Green and illustrated by Kev Crossley.

DETAILS: Jonathan will sign and personalise a hardback copy of each of the choose your path adventure gamebooks Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland and The Wicked Wizard of Oz, dedicated to you or the person of your choice. You will also receive one set of collectible Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland playing cards and a set of The Wicked Wizard of Oz playing cards.

The auction ends at 8:00pm BST tonight, Tuesday 27th June., and also includes lots donated by m'colleagues Ian Livingstone and Gav Thorpe.

Monday 26 June 2017

Thought for the Day

"I keep an antique hourglass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups, and some quick stretches. I find this helps keep the blood - and ideas - flowing."
~ Dan Brown

Saturday 24 June 2017

Short Story Saturday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu

Today, 24th June, is Midsummer's Day. A year ago today Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu had yet to be published and I was teasing backers of the original Kickstarter with details of Tim Bayley's bonus story Lovecraft's Labours Lost...

Friday 23 June 2017

Gamebook Friday: It was 24 years ago today...

For some reason, I have 23rd June stuck in my head as the date my first ever gamebook (and my first ever book, for that matter) was published. I may be wrong, but that's how I remember it.

I had been commissioned the July before* and wrote the book over the summer of 1992. I used my advance to buy an Amstrad word processor so that I could type up the manuscript from my hand-written version!

I also have vivid memories of visiting the Puffin offices in London and meeting commissioning editor Richard Scrivener, who gave me my first copy of Spellbreaker**. I also remember visiting WHSmith in Leamington Spa, around the 23rd June, and seeing the book on the shelf in a shop for the first time. I lost track of time as I perused the shop copy and ending up getting a parking ticket!

And now, today, 24 years later, the covers for the brand new edition of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks have been revealed. I wonder if Spellbreaker will end up joining them...

* So it will soon be the 25th anniversary of that momentous event in my life.

** Unfortunately I later lent that particular copy to someone and never got it back - something I still regret doing to this day...

Monday 19 June 2017

Thought for the Day

"To be a poet is a condition, not a profession."
~ Robert Frost

Saturday 17 June 2017

Short Story Saturday: Available Now and Coming Soon!

Available now...

Clockwork Cairo
Edited by Matthew Bright and published by Twopenny Books (June 2017)

A brand-new anthology of Egyptian-themed steampunk stories that will take you on adventures from the steam-powered souks of Cairo, to the clockwork bazaars of Alexandria and the shadowy mysteries of the pyramids.

Includes a brand new Ulysses Quicksilver Pax Britannia short story, Worthless Remains.

You can pick up your copy of Clockwork Cairo here.

Coming soon...

Edited by George Mann and published by Titan Books (August 2017)

Once again, famous associates of the Great Detective - clients, colleagues and, of course, villains - tell their own stories in this collection of brand-new adventures. Meet Lucy Hebron years after Holmes's only ever failed deduction; follow your nose down the streets of London with Toby the Dog; join Mrs Hudson on her first ever case; greet an ambassador from Mars alongside Lord Holdhurst; and confess your sins to your cellmate, Professor James Moriarty…

My own contribution to this anthology is Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Bodmin, as related by Sir Henry Baskerville.

You can pre-order your copy of Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes here.

Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago: Tales of the Lost Isles
Edited by Joseph A. McCullough and published by Osprey Games (October 2017)

The Ghost Archipelago has returned. A vast island chain, covered in the ruins of ancient and otherworldly civilizations, the Archipelago appears every few centuries, far out in the southern ocean. At such times, pirates, adventurers, wizards, and legendary heroes all descend upon the islands in the hopes of finding lost treasures and powerful artefacts. A few, drawn by the blood of their ancestors, search for the fabled Crystal Pool, whose waters grant abilities far beyond those of normal men. It is only the bravest, however, who venture into the islands, for they are filled with numerous deadly threats. Cannibal tribes, sorcerous serpent-men, and poisonous water-beasts all inhabit the island ruins, guarding their treasure hordes and setting traps for the unwary.

This book of fiction collects all-new stories set in the Ghost Archipelago, including my own A Nice Little Nest Egg.

You can pre-order your copy of Tales of the Lost Isles here.

Friday 16 June 2017

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz - the first reviews!

The Wicked Wizard of Oz has been out for a couple of weeks now, and on top of that the original Kickstarter backers have started to receive their copies. As a result, the book has already received a number of reviews on, and I'm very pleased to report that they are all 5-star reviews.

Here's what people have been having to say about my latest ACE Gamebook...

"I've played a few of Jonathan's books such as Howl of the Werewolf and Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland so I knew this book would be well written. The first thing that strikes you is just how big the book is. It's a whopping 850 sections long. No wonder though, seeing as you can play through the book as any of the 6 characters! I've played through as Dorothy, the Lion and the Tin Woodman so far and each story varies more than enough to make playing through the book as each character worth while. You won't get the feeling that "you've done all this before"."

"Having received a preview copy of Wicked Wizard and played it , I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Being an Oz fan, I loved this dark dieselpunk version of the Land over the Rainbow! The gameplay was suitable absorbing using either dice or playing cards. Also, being able to play as different characters from the original stories gives this game book great re-playability! Finally the illustrations are beyond awesome..."

"First impressions: it looks beautiful and it's a huge book - so lots to look at and enjoy and lots to and have fun with. It''s been a long time since I last had a choose your own path adventure book but this was a wonderful reintroduction to the genre - easy to follow and to play. Well written and engaging storylines. I love being able to play the different characters. Have played several times in the 24 hours I've had it and have had a completely different experience each time. Highly recommended!"

"Once again Jonathan Green hits the bulls-eye with this incredible gamebook. Take what you think you know about that famous "land over the rainbow" and prepare for a trip into adventure. Journeying through the land of Oz you get to choose which of the famous Oz characters you wish to play - all of whom start in different places and have their own specific strengths and weaknesses. Never a dull moment, this adventure gamebook will keep you gripped from start to finish - and the best bit is you can then swap characters and explore a different path through Oz."

You can pick up your copy of The Wicked Wizard of Oz here.

In other gamebook-related news, my Kickstarter backer copies of Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars graphic novel arrived yesterday, and they are a glory to behold. I especially like the FF pin badge.

 The Wicked Wizard of Oz ACE Gamebook, alongside Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars graphic novel.

You can order your own copy of The Trolltooth Wars here, or you can pick one up at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 in September.

Thursday 15 June 2017

Steampunk Thursday: Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes

Anyone who has read my Ulysses Quicksilver Pax Britannia novels, and has even a basic knowledge of the literary adventures of Sherlock Holmes, will know that the latter in some part informed the former.

Coming out this summer is my first published Sherlock Holmes short story. It's called Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Bodmin, and appears in Titan Books' Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes, edited by m'colleague George Mann.

The premise behind the anthology is that each story is told by one of Holmes' associates, in my case Sir Henry Baskerville, the poor put upon subject of the murder plot in The Hound of the Baskervilles (which is one of only four Sherlock Holmes novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

The following is taken from the book and explains why I chose Sir Henry to be the narrator of my tale.

Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes is published at the end of August and you can pre-order your copy here.

Monday 12 June 2017

Thought for the Day

"When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometres or swim for fifteen hundred metres (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. Writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity."

~ Haruki Murakami

Friday 9 June 2017

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz Gamebook Companion

The Wicked Wizard of Oz was only released on Monday but it has already garnered some glowing reviews.

If you are currently playing through the book, or contemplating doing so, you may find The Wicked Wizard of Oz Gamebook Companion of interest.

This new app allows you to keep track of your stats and items without needing to have a pencil and paper close to hand. It even lets you conduct battles without ever actually rolling a dice.

Created by Mark Stoneham, The Wicked Wizard of Oz Gamebook Companion is only available for iOS and is available from the App Store now.

Monday 5 June 2017

New Book Day - The Wicked Wizard of Oz!

The Wicked Wizard of Oz is a portal to another world - the world of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

In The Wicked Wizard of Oz you take on the role of the one of the protagonists of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and undertake a new and perilous quest as you find yourself called upon to save the world once more.

Hunted by the Wicked Witch of the West's winged monkeys and joined by her friends – the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion – Dorothy sets off for the Emerald City. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, will you uncover the secrets of The Wicked Wizard of Oz?

YOU decide which route to take, which perils to risk, and which of Oz’s strange denizens to fight. But be warned – whether you succeed in your quest or meet a dire end, somewhere over the rainbow, will be down to the choices YOU make.

Are you ready to return to Oz?

You can purchase your copy of The Wicked Wizard of Oz here.

You can download the official The Wicked Wizard of Oz Gamebook Companion, by Mark Stoneham, here.

Join the fun playing through the opening passages of The Wicked Wizard of Oz on Twitter tonight - simply search for #WickedOz.

And, coming soon...

Thought for the Day

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
~ Dr Seuss

Sunday 4 June 2017

The UK Games Expo that was and the Book Launch that wasn't

I got up at 5:00am on Friday to head to the NEC Birmingham, to get set up for the UK Games Expo. Having negotiated the increased security there, I finally got into Hall 1 at around 8:00am. Having unloaded the stuff from my car, I went in search of my delivery of books, the publisher Snowbooks having paid over the odds to get a consignment of The Wicked Wizard of Oz to the venue in time for the weekend. And that was where it all began to go wrong.

No one knew where my books were, although they were supposed to have been delivered before noon on the Thursday. I was sent to another hall, but they weren't there. I spoke to the trade liaison who confirmed he had not signed for a delivery. In the end, I contact Emma Barnes at Snowbooks to ask if she could help from her end, which she promptly did.

I turned out that the books hadn't been delivered at all. Despite having been collected from the printer in Denmark on Tuesday, and having been in the UK since Thursday, they were still sitting in some TNT depot in Dartford. I was then informed that they had been put in a van and were on their way.

It wasn't ideal, not having the books there for the start of the Expo, but it didn't feel like an unsalvageable situation at the time. Sure, I would lose the sales from the Friday-only crowd, but I would simply launch The Wicked Wizard of Oz on the Saturday, which is the busiest day of the UK Games Expo after all. I still didn't actually know when my books would arrive, so spent the rest of the day constantly updating the TNT tracking website on my phone, but all I got was that they were still in transit.

Come 6:00pm, Hall 1 closed, and - my books still not having arrived - I went to Ian Livingstone's talk (which you can read more about on the official Fighting Fantasy blog). At the end of the talk, at 7:00pm, I went back to Hall 1 to ask if my books had arrived in the interim, which they had not. I had little choice but to head to my hotel and hope that my stock would be waiting for me the next morning at the NEC.

I awoke uncharacteristically early on Saturday morning, just after 5:00am, anxiously wondering where my books were and, updating the TNT website again, discovered they had been logged as being at the Birmingham depot at 1:43am. (The books had been dispatched at 3:00pm on Friday, when they were allegedly racing to the NEC. Taking over 10 hours to transport the books is not 'racing' in my book. It's a 3 hour journey from Dartford to the NEC.)

At least, I thought naively, the books were be on the first van out of the depot and will be delivered soon after I arrive at the NEC, if not actually already waiting for me at my stand.

I arrived, there were no books. Emma Barnes was on the case again and, after being kept on hold for a long time, spoke to a lady at TNT who told her that they only do deliveries up to lunchtime on Saturday, and now the books would likely be delivered on Monday - after the UK Games Expo was over and I was back in London. Not only would I not have stock to sell at the event, the consignment included the books I need to send to backers of the original The Wicked Wizard of Oz Kickstarter.

In a last ditch effort to get hold of the books, Emma emailed photo ID of me to the Birmingham depot (as I did not have my photo ID with me, as last time I checked you don't actually need a passport to visit the Midlands), I took what documentation I had to prove that I was at the NEC (as you would need to have proof of your address if you were picking up a missed delivery to your home), and I set off on the 30 mile round trip into Birmingham to the TNT depot. I was told that if I got there before 2:00pm I would be able to collect my books. Emma was confident that since they knew I was coming, and since TNT had messed up so badly, that they would wait for me.

I arrived at 1:55pm to finds the gates to the depot closed. Having spoken to a security guard, he said he would talk to the contact I had been given at the depot. AT 2:01pm, the gates opened and a car drove out. The man in the passenger seat first tried to tell me that I should have arrived before 1:00pm. As I argued my case, he informed me I should have been there before 2:00pm and now the warehouse was locked up and I would not be able to collect my books. So not only did I not have my books, I also missed two of the busiest hours of trading of the whole UK Games Expo.

Emma tried the TNT call centre again, only to find that it had closed, and despite numerous tweets by myself to @TNTUKOfficial I received no response whatsoever.

Having, quite frankly, lost the will, I returned to the Expo and, having sold out of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, with nothing to sell on the Sunday, I packed up and went home.

During Emma's phone call with the lady at TNT she was told that the company had opened a new hub in the UK this week, that the picking line didn't work, that their IT systems had crashed, that there were 10,000 parcels stuck and undelivered, and that they were not going to offer compensation. It is this last part that infuriates me most of all.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I probably lost somewhere in the region of £1,000 in sales because of not having The Wicked Wizard of Oz to launch at the UK Games Expo. I was also out of pocket because I had four banners made for the event (and shipped at a premium level to get them on time), I had a T-shirt made for the event (and shipped special delivery), and I was out of pocket for a night's stay at my hotel. And it is wasn't just me - Snowbooks are out of pocket now too.

But most of all, my professional reputation has been affected, and I don't know what price I would put on that. Advertising, months in advance, that I would be launching a new book at the event, and then not having the book and having to actually turn potential customers away was galling. (At a con as big as the UK Games Expo, someone may only walk past your stand once, so if you miss a sale then, you've missed it for the whole weekend.)

Looking back, I wonder, if I'd checked my emails sooner, maybe I could have got to the depot on time, except that I was at a con, selling my books, not at home on my laptop being pinged by hotmail. And at the end of the day, the trip to the depot was a trip I should never have had to make. It was TNT's responsibility to get my books to me. They failed to deliver them on Thursday, they then failed to deliver them on Friday, and made absolutely no effort to deliver them on the Saturday.

Everyone else involved busted a proverbial gut to make sure everything was ready for the The Wicked Wizard of Oz launch at the UK Games Expo, including Kev Abbotts, who designed the bookmarks and banners, Ivory Graphics, who printed the playing cards, Route1Print, who printed the banners and had them delivered to my hotel so that I would have them in time, Awesome Merchandise, who printed the bookmarks and art prints, and, of course, Norhaven, the book printers in Denmark, and Snowbooks, both MD Emma Barnes and publisher Tik Dalton, who went above and beyond to make sure the launch was a success. But we were all let down by TNT couriers.

Somebody asked on Facebook whether it was the venue's fault, due to increased security in the wake of the terror attack in Manchester, but it categorically was not. Yes, there was increased security, but the staff at the NEC were never anything less than polite, helpful and accommodating, as were the UK Games Expo staff and volunteers.

Thanks must also go to Sheila, Gareth, Simon, and Ian Livingstone, who helped keep an eye on my stuff when I was racing around Birmingham. And I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to chat to people like Fil and Paul of All Rolled Up, Joe of Osprey Games, and the guys at Cubicle 7, but after the two days I'd had, I just wanted to get home and draw a line under the whole debacle.

The banners made for the UK Games Expo (but which didn't get a showing there), designed by Kevin Abbotts and featuring the awesome artwork of Kev Crossley.

I have to say that the UK Games Expo remains one of my favourite cons, and I fully intend to be back next year, with The Wicked Wizard of Oz in tow this time. Thank you to everyone who stopped by my stand to say hello, to ask me to sign stuff (including, in one case, some very rare copies of Spellbreaker, Knights of Doom and Curse of the Mummy) and to buy my books, and it was a pleasure to meet so many of my Kickstarter backers - and Kev Abbotts especially - I'm only sorry if I wasn't in the best of spirits when we met,

You can see some of the photos I took while I was at the event here, and here's to UK Games Expo 2018!

Friday 2 June 2017

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz launches this weekend at the UK Games Expo 2017

From today, Friday 2nd June, until Sunday 4th June, I shall be at the UK Games Expo, where The Wicked Wizard of Oz, my new ACE Gamebook, is being launched.

As well as the book, I shall have The Wicked Wizard of Oz playing cards for sale, and art prints of Kev Crossley's portraits of the main characters.

On top of that, if you buy The Wicked Wizard of Oz over the launch weekend, you will receive a rather special gift...

You will find me at stand F11, along with Mercia Books, and from Friday to Saturday, Ian Livingstone CBE.

Do stop by and say hello, and don't forget to pick up a signed copy of The Wicked Wizard of Oz while you're there. ;-)

Click to enlarge.

Thursday 1 June 2017

Steampunk Thursday: Clockwork Cairo

Clockwork Cairo, the inaugural publication from Twopenny Books, is published today.

Edited by Matthew Bright, this brand-new anthology of Egyptian-themed steampunk stories, will take you on adventures from the steam-powered souks of Cairo, to the clockwork bazaars of Alexandria and the shadowy mysteries of the pyramids.

The table of contents includes a brand new Ulysses Quicksilver Pax Britannia short story, by Yours Truly, called Worthless Remains.

You can pick up your copy of Clockwork Cairo here.