Friday 29 May 2020

Gamebook Friday: Alice's Nightmare in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic was the first country outside of the UK to have its own translation of my first ACE Gamebook, Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, and the reviewers there appear to love it just as much as anyone else. Here's what one reviewer had to say about the book:

Beware, but this is not a copy of the original Lewis Carroll Alice or some ordinary sequel. Jonathan Green allows you to decide where to go, what to think, what to eat or drink. Alice's Nightmare is a Gamebook...

Alice's Nightmare, although a little book, is definitely not fun for a train trip or an afternoon. It will offer you a new task in Wonderland and lots of ways to solve it. You can slip through the Empire quite deftly or turn an eleven-year-old girl into Conan and simply cut through the Wonderland with a crab shell in one hand and scissors in the other. It's up to you which way you try or if you end up playing them all. I definitely don't have them all behind me yet, but I still enjoy Alice's Nightmare... 

But what I do know is that Alice's Nightmare is one of the most successful gamebooks that have appeared in our country recently and is definitely worth reading.

The good news for Czech fans is that a translation of The Wicked Wizard of Oz is coming soon...

I should have been at the UK Games Expo this weekend, but as I'm not, I'm selling a limited number of signed ACE Gamebooks via my website. If you would like one, follow this link.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Warhammer Wednesday: #New40K

In case you haven't heard already, the big announcement from Games Workshop at the weekend was that a new edition* of Warhammer 40,000 is on the way. The news broke with this rather wonderful cinematic trailer.

What I personally found quite exciting about this is that the Necrons** are front and centre, which gives me the perfect excuse to plug two of my short stories that are available as digital downloads from the Black Library, seeing as how they both feature the ancient Necrontyr.

On an artificial world far from the light of any son, three sorcerers of the Thousand Sons emerge from a portal, Together, this trio will face ancient horrors – but the prize that awaits them is worth any danger, Long have these three sought the Godstar, piecing together its location from scattered scraps of knowledge. The immortal guardians of the place sleep, but it is not undefended, and the children of Prospero will pay a heavy price for that which they seek as they delve deep into the ancient mysteries of the necrons.

Investigating a distress signal from an ice-shrouded mining colony, Space Marines of the Imperial Fists find themselves outnumbered and surrounded by the soulless necrons. Facing impossible odds, the Imperial Fists struggle desperately to find a way to survive.

* The ninth!

** Or 'murder-robots' as I saw them described on the Warhammer Community website.

Monday 25 May 2020

Signed ACE Gamebooks for sale!

This Thursday I was supposed to have been travelling to the NEC to set up for the UK Games Expo, a fun three-day family gaming convention that is one of only two fixtures (along with Dragonmeet) in my annual event calendar. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the event has been cancelled for this year and is going online at the end of August.

So as an alternative to the UK Games Expo, I have set up a small online shop, selling signed paperbacks and hardback book bundles that all come with interesting exclusives. If you missed the original Kickstarters, you will not want to miss this sale.

So don't delay, check it out today!

Thought for the Day

“Generally speaking, I do not think that one should ever take another person's advice in the things of life that really matter, but follow the dictates of the still small something in one's innermost self.”
~ Rosemary Sutcliff

Saturday 23 May 2020

Short Story Saturday: SHARKPUNK the Audiobook

I've you've not yet picked up the audiobook edition of SHARKPUNK, the first short story anthology I edited, now is the perfect time to grab a digital download of the book from Circle of Spears for £17.99, plus get a 15% discount with checkout code STAYSAFE.

Sharks – the ultimate predators, masters of their watery domain, a world that is entirely alien and inhospitable to man. So many aspects of the shark are associated with humankind’s most primal fears. The tell-tale dorsal fin slicing through the water, the dead eyed-stare, the gaping jaws full to unforgiving teeth, the remorseless drive to kill and feed…

Inspired by such classic pulp movies as Jaws and Deep Blue Sea – as well as such ludicrous delights as Sharknado and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus – the stories contained within are rip-roaring page-turners and slow-build chillers that celebrate all things savage, pulp and selachian. Covering the whole range of speculative fiction genres, from horror and Steampunk, through to SF and WTF, these are stories with bite! Come on in. The water’s fine…

Pick up your digital download of SHARKPUNK here.

Friday 22 May 2020

Gamebook Friday: World Goth Day

Today is World Goth Day, so it's rather good timing that yesterday I finished writing Dracula - Curse of the Vampire from the point of view of the Vampire-Hunters. Of course, I still need to write the adventure from Count Dracula's perspective, as well as edit what I have already written, but I've already reached section 793 of the manuscript, having written over 161,000 words.

At that moment I am struggling to decide which scenes, characters and monsters I want to have illustrated by Martin McKenna. The problem is I want all of them illustrated but have to think about how to best use the budget I have for the book.

What would help is if people who didn't back the original Kickstarter placed a Late Pledge now, as any money raised in this way will help to boost the project's coffers. If you would like to place a Late Pledge, click this link.

Monday 18 May 2020

Dracula: Happy Publication Day?

Did you know that the play of Bram Stoker's Dracula was staged before the book was actually published?

Until 1968 it was necessary, under the terms of the Stage Licensing Act of 1737, and the Theatres Act of 1843, for all plays intended for public performance to be submitted to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office for approval and licensing. The script of the theatre version of Dracula, which Bram Stoker submitted to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office in May 1897, provides a fascinating insight into the world of the late-Victorian stage as well as offering a glimpse into the origins of Count Dracula and the way in which Stoker explored the dramatic potential of his characters.

The script for the play consists of a mixture of Stoker’s own handwriting and printed extracts cut and pasted from a galley proof* of the novel. Originally titled Dracula: or The Un-Dead, the play was hastily put together by Stoker in order to protect the dramatic rights to his book. By submitting the play to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office he was effectively ensuring he retained copyright over the characters and the plot of his novel in so far as their use on the stage was concerned. The performance itself, held on the morning of 18 May 1897 at the Lyceum Theatre, London, consisted of a dramatic reading carried out by members of the Lyceum’s resident company of actors. The novel was published eight days later on 26 May.

As was usual for copyright readings, playbills advertising the performance were only put up outside the theatre half an hour prior to the time the play was due to commence. Unsurprisingly, given the deliberate lack of advertising, only two people bought tickets to sit in attendance alongside the Lyceum’s backstage staff and crew.

The play comprises of a prologue and five acts, containing over forty scenes in total, and probably took six hours to read. Of those taking the roles in the play, the most famous was Edith Craig who took the role of Mina Murray. She was the daughter of the actress Ellen Terry and an important pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement in England.

To Stoker’s disappointment, the actor Henry Irving took no part in the production. Irving was widely considered to be one of Stoker’s inspirations for the Count, due to his dark, brooding charisma and his gift for playing other-worldly figures such as Mephistopheles from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust. Legend has it that when Stoker asked Irving what he thought of the play the great actor replied with a single word – ‘dreadful’.

Did you know...?
It's not too late to place a Late Pledge to Dracula - Curse of the Vampire. And if you're quick, you might even be able to get your portrait included in one of the gamebook's illustrations.

* A preliminary printing of a text on which authors, editors and publishers can add corrections and amendments.

Thought for the Day

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
~ C. S. Lewis

Saturday 16 May 2020

Short Story Saturday: The Doll's House

Available now from Green Man Books...

What horror dwells behind its peeling paint fa├žade and lifeless windows?

A young mother, struggling after the birth of her second child, starts to question her sanity when the appearance of an unwanted childhood toy rekindles unwelcome nightmares.

A chilling tale written by award-winning author Jonathan Green.

“Jonathan Green will make you lose sleep." ~

"Seeing the name Jonathan Green on a cover of a novel, for me, sells it instantly." ~

Download The Doll's House from Amazon now and read it for free via Kindle Unlimited.

The Con+3 Emergency Fundraiser

Last year I donated some prizes to the Con+2 online convention. This year's convention has been brought forward from October to now, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here's a wizard to tell you more...

The Butterfly Project is going the extra mile to provide basic necessities for the nearby slum districts during their COVID-19 lockdown. However, due to Ugandan laws The Butterfly Project is really struggling with this. Currently there is no one else supplying aid to these people, so the need for donations really is urgent this year.

To help raise money for The Butterfly Project people and companies within the gaming industry have donated prizes for the Con+3 giveaway. If you check out the sponsors page you will see that I have donated three ACE Gamebooks prizes.

Con+3 is running all this weekend, 16th-17th May, so make sure you check it out and find out how to take part here.

Friday 15 May 2020

Gamebook Friday: Happy Birthday, L. Frank Baum!

On this day in 1856, Lyman Frank Baum - who would one day write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - was born in Chittenango, New York.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a hit right from the start, the story of Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion capturing the public’s imagination.

It wasn’t long before there was merchandising associated with the book, a Broadway musical, a film, and eventually thirteen sequels, although the majority of these were written because of Baum’s money problems. A year after writing the sixth (and what was supposed to be the final) book in the series, The Emerald City of Oz, Baum filed for bankruptcy and resumed writing the Oz books to pay his debts.

All and all he wrote over 50 novels, 80 short stories, hundreds of poems, and at least a dozen plays.

And almost three years ago today, I sent the finished manuscript for my gameified take on his classic work of children's literature to Snowbooks ready for publication.

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 Gale 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?

Monday 11 May 2020

Thought for the Day

“I opened a book and in I strode. Now nobody can find me. I've left my chair, my house, my road, My town and my world behind me."
~ Julia Donaldson

Friday 8 May 2020

Gamebook Friday: Vampires - The Dead and the Damned

Unusually,* this week I put out the call on social media for people to tell me what they would like to read in this week's Gamebook Friday blog post. There were a significant number of responses** - everything from where do I get my ideas from to how my approach to Kickstarters has changed over the last 8 years - but the suggestion that piqued my interest came from Ian Reynolds on Facebook who wanted this post to be about "Anything to do with Horror and particular Vampires!"

Since I am currently writing a gamebook about a vampire, I thought it might be fun to go back and look at how vampires have been portrayed in my previous gamebooks. However, before we proceed, I should warn you that this post will include SPOILERS!

Still here? Then let's get started...

Bloodbones (2006)

A vampire bat made an appearance in my second published gamebook, Knights of Doom, but the first full-fledged vampire didn't turn up until my fourth Fighting Fantasy adventure was finally published by Wizard Books in 2006.

Bloodbones was originally commissioned by Puffin Books in 1996. At the time, the publisher was intending to reprint the gamebooks but having edited them all to be only 300 sections long, so that's how long Bloodbones was. However, when Wizard Books agreed to publish it ten years later, they wanted it to be the traditional 400 sections long, so I had to add some new material.***

I did make up some entirely new encounters, including the Rainforest Sprite and the vampiric pirate Jolly Roger. Here is his flag-draped coffin, as illustrated by Tony Hough.

Howl of the Werewolf (2007)

Only a year later, another vampire turned up - or rather, a vampiress - in my gothic horror gamebook, Howl of the Werewolf. This was the Machiavellian Countess Isolde, a.k.a. the Lady of Maun and the illustration of her and her Werebat flunky by Martin McKenna is still one of my favourite images from any of my books.

Temple of the Spider God (2011)

Jump forward four years to 2011 and I was busy writing my contribution to Tin Man Games Gamebook Adventures series of digital interactive fiction apps. This is probably one of the most classically 'fantasy' adventures I have written and one of the encounters contained within it involved an island that was ruled over by a vampire.

Shadows Over Sylvania (2012)

Shadows Over Sylvania, the only Warhammer gamebook I have ever written, is also the most blood-soaked gamebook I have ever written, and is chock full of vampires. The reason for this is that you actually get to play as a vampire and can even choose which vampire bloodline you are from. This ultimately brings you into conflict with the blood-sucking thralls of other vampire factions, most notably at the climax to the adventure.

Good luck getting your hands on a copy of this, if you don't already own one - they are as rare as vegan vampires.

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland (2015)

2015 saw the publication of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, which kicked off the ACE Gamebooks series.

In it, I re-imagined the well-known characters from not only Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventure in Wonderland but also Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. And when you have an antagonist called the Red Queen, it is not hard to imagine where I went with that...

Here she is, as illustrated by Kev Crossley.

Dracula - Curse of the Vampire (2021)

Which brings me to the book I am currently writing, Dracula - Curse of the Vampire. Dracula is the ultimate vampire story, and I'm hoping that Dracula - Curse of the Vampire. will go down in history as the ultimate gamebook re-telling of the ultimate vampire story.

In the adventure you can either play as one of the Vampire-Hunters who are trying to stop the blood-sucking Transylvanian warlord, or you can play as Count Dracula himself, and try to stop Professor Van Helsing et al. before they stop you.

Dracula - Curse of the Vampire is scheduled to be published next March. If you missed out on the original Kickstarter, you can still place a Late Pledge here.

And remember - the blood is the life!

* In fact I think it was the first time I've ever done this.

** Which may well form the topic of other Gamebook Friday blog posts in the future.

*** Or more accurately, in some cases, re-instated material.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

On the 101st anniversary of L. Frank Baum's death...

L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and numerous sequels, died on this day in 1919. He was buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. His final book, Glinda of Oz, was published posthumously on 10th July 1920,

Almost 98 years to the day that Baum died, I completed The Wicked Wizard of Oz, the second in the ACE Gamebooks series.

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 Gale 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?

Monday 4 May 2020

Thought for the Day

"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
~ C. S. Lewis

Friday 1 May 2020

Gamebook Friday: White Rabbits

Today is the first of May, and on the first day of the month people often say "White rabbits! White rabbits!"*

So in honour of the occasion, I thought you might like to see Kev Crossley's** new map of Wonderland that will appear in the fifth anniversary hardback of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland that is being published later this year.

If you're looking for something calming to do during lockdown, you could do a lot worse than check out the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Colouring Books, featuring lots and lots of Kev's artwork.

And in other ACE Gamebooks-related news, due to events such as the UK Games Expo being cancelled this year, I have some spare hardbacks of NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!, Beowulf Beastslayer, and 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas for sale. If you would like one (or more), drop me a line at

* Don't ask me why.

** Check out Kev's Batman-themed re-imagining of Alice and the Cheshire Cat here.