Friday 31 July 2020

Gamebook Friday: NEVERLAND - Here Be Reviews!

When a new book comes out I excitedly/anxiously check for any reviews, but I often forget to check

Recently I happened upon NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! on and discovered these rather pleasing reviews...

"If you are wanting to give modern gamebooks or choose-you-own adventure style books a chance, this is a great one to get started with."

"The characters aren't exactly like the book and movies that we've enjoyed and loved before. Rather, they are a twist on the classics. The story is enjoyable, with many options, twists, and turns. You might encounter Giant Serpents and Sabre-Tooth Tigers, or Saurian Lizards and a Colossal Crocodile."

"The actual writing is so imaginative and the artwork is amazing. Definitely recommend all of Jonathan Green’s adventure gamebooks."

"J. M. Barrie's fantasy world is re-imagined by Jonathan Green through a "mixed fantasy" lens with an RPG bent. The book provides re-playability since each of the four characters available for selection provide different perspectives and play-styles, and each with a unique ending. A recommended read especially for gamebook aficionados, though if you are not familiar with other works by the author, then you clearly aren't a gamebook fan."

You can buy your own copy of NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! on here, and on here, and a signed copy direct from the author here.

Monday 27 July 2020

Thought for the Day

"Life is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn't."
~ Neil Gaiman

Monday 20 July 2020

Thought for the Day

"Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy."

~ Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Warhammer Wednesday: Humble Warhammer Bundle 2020

The Age of the Imperium is at hand in Humble Bundle's newest bundle!

Guide mankind (or their foes) in games like Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Collection, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, and Blood Bowl 2 Legendary. Plus, your purchase will support SpecialEffect and a charity of your choice!

One of the games that comes as part of the most basic level is my very own Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion, so this is probably your very last chance to get hold of Tin Man Games' app adaptation of my Path to Victory gamebook.


So don't delay - download the Humble Warhammer Bundle 2020 today!

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Beowulf Beastslayer LIVE!

This evening, at 7:00pm, Beowulf Beastslayer (my fourth ACE Gamebook) is going to be the subject of a live readthrough by Ken Boyter of The Bottled Imp.

So if you've ever wondered how Beowulf Beastslayer plays, check out the Event page here on Facebook, and don't miss the chance to pick up a signed copy of the adventure too.

Monday 13 July 2020

Thought for the Day

"After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world."
~ Philip Pullman

Saturday 11 July 2020

ACE Gamebooks are coming to North America

I have exciting news. If you love interactive adventure gamebooks and you live in North America, you will be pleased to hear that from this autumn Winged Hussar Publishing will be publishing ACE Gamebooks in the USA and Canada.

Here's the full statement that appeared on Winged Hussar's Facebook page today:

Winged Hussar Publishing is happy to announce they have signed an agreement with Jonathan Green to publish and distribute ACE Gamebooks in the US and Canada though Simon & Schuster starting in the Fall of 2020.

ACE Gamebooks is a series of gamebooks created by Jonathan Green and published by Snowbooks in the UK since 2015. A feature of the titles in the series is that they take classic works of literature and give them a dark twist, often combining steampunk elements. Some of the titles take inspiration from more than one work of classic literature, such as NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!, which uses elements of both J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and Wendy and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Other titles will include: Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, The Wicked Wizard of Oz, Beowulf Beastslayer, 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, Dracula - Curse of the Vampire.

The first book released will be Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland starting in the Fall.

Look at our websites and for more information when it is available as well as special offers on books and gaming.

Friday 10 July 2020

Gamebook Friday: Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland

The other day I stumbled across this review of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, originally posted back in August 2018, on Nerds Like Me:

"What particularly drew me to the book was the art – illustrated by Kevin Crossley, the art is luxuriously detailed, and deliciously dark to fit the subject matter, but it manages to skilfully mimic the illustrations from the classic releases of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland whilst changing small, sinister details to bring it in line with the tone of the book. These are very pretty books, inside and out...

"Story wise, this is a little Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland meets that horrifying Return to Oz movie, but where Burton’s Alice seemed cagey of going too dark and seemed flimsy because of it, Green charges head first into the bleak and grim and the book is so much better for its commitment to the tone. It’s incredibly sinister, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers, but it’s the kind of sinister that gives a sort of pleasurable chill as you read – and the ante is upped because if you make the wrong choice then you could very well find yourself dead. There’s a higher level of involvement and thus a high level of investment...

"Rating: 5/5 – this is a perfect example of a expertly-crafted game book. Even aside from the complexity of constructing a normal Choose Your Own Adventure book, the added game mechanisms could easily have catapulted this into a jumbled mess, but instead it works so well and runs so fluently that it really is an exceptional example of its genre."

If you've not picked up Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland for yourself yet, you'll be pleased to hear that it is back in print and that you can buy a signed copy direct from the author.

People who missed out on the original Kickstarter have been making the most of the opportunity to secure a signed copy for themselves, which you can do here...

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland - Back in Print!
(£13 including UK P&P)
520 section ACE Gamebook
Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland bookmark

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Warhammer Wednesday: Inferno! classic reprints

Black Library have released the next batch of classic Inferno! reprints. Each issue is a facsimile of the original magazine, available to print on demand for two weeks only, and you can purchase them as a single collection that will get you issues 26-35!

The period covered by this collection just happens to be the time when I was at my most prolific, in terms of making contributions to Inferno! magazine. Of these ten classic issues, six contain short stories or comic strips by Yours Truly, and they are...

Inferno! #26 - Firestarter! – Necromunda short story

Inferno! #27 - The Nagenhof Bell – Warhammer short story

Inferno! #28 - The Executioner’s Tale – Warhammer comic strip

Inferno! #29 - Bad Medicine – Necromunda short story

Inferno! #32 - The Miner’s Tale – Warhammer comic strip

Inferno! #34 - Mark of the Beast – Warhammer short story

To order the collection of ten issues*, or just the edited highlights, follow this link.

* These issues are available to order until 6:00pm GMT on Saturday 18th July 2020.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Tie-in Tuesday: Robin of Sherwood back on ITV4

Some of you may remember that back in 2016 I wrote a novelisation of the unmade Robin of Sherwood TV movie The Knights of the Apocalypse.

If you're a fan of the seminal '80s sword and sorcery TV series, or even if you've never seen a single episode before, you might be interested to know that the show is being repeated, from the beginning, from 13th July on ITV4.

Happy Deathday, Sir Arthur!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world's foremost consulting detective, died 90 years ago today, on 7th July 1930.

Unsurprisingly, my own work has been influenced by his in more ways than I can count, but most obviously there is the character of Ulysses Quicksilver, from my Pax Britannia steampunk novels, the elements of The Lost World that appear in NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!, and of course my contribution to the anthology Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes, edited by George Mann and published by Titan Books, entitled Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Bodmin.

Monday 6 July 2020

Thought for the Day

"That's the thing about writing. It's all doubt. Doubts about plot, story, character etc, let in every other doubt, the real doubts, about yourself, your very self."
~ Russell T. Davies

Friday 3 July 2020

Gamebook Friday: What I learnt from running 6 gamebook crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter

If you check out the About page on this website you will see, under the simple rules and indisputable truths, "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience? Well that comes from bad judgement."

So for today's Gamebook Friday blog post, I am going to discuss how experience with previous Kickstarters has guided me, or encouraged me to adapt, when running new Kickstarters. To date I have run 14 crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter, but for this piece I am going to focus on the six ACE Gamebook Kickstarters.

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland (ACE Gamebook #1)
This was my third Kickstarter, but it was the first time I had tried crowdfunding a gamebook, and a gamebook that wasn't connected to a pre-existing series or that made use of a known ruleset.

What I learnt...

  1. Properties that are out of copyright can provide you with a very fertile creative field to plough.
  2. Use a tripod when recording yourself for a Kickstarter video.
  3. People are more likely to support a project if it is strongly connected to an existing popular brand.
  4. I should have bought many more copies of Shadows Over Sylvania before it was removed from sale.
  5. A well-known brand can have global appeal.
  6. Gamebook readers really have had enough of mazes!
  7. Chooseco, who publish the Choose Your Own Adventure brand, really don't like you using the phrase 'A Choose Your Path Adventure Gamebook' on your book and will threaten legal action.

The Wicked Wizard of Oz (ACE Gamebook #2)
After Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland was published, people asked if I was going to write a sequel, which got me thinking about which other classics of children's literature would be suitable subjects for gamebook adaptation. As it turns out, quite a lot.

What I learnt...

  1. Just because a brand is popular in the US doesn't mean it will have the same following in the UK.
  2. Having bonus content contained within the book that is only intended for Kickstarter backers only annoys people who buy the book via conventional outlets after it is published. (I have since made the Oz bonus material available here.)
  3. Allowing readers to play as one of six different characters means writing a lot of extra sections.
  4. Readers want a meaty story. Just because you've written a lot of different scenes, doesn't mean that on a single playthrough a reader will get to enjoy many of them, so narrative design is key.
  5. Proofreading is vitally important. Don't let anything go to print until you have checked the final layout of the book. (You can download the errata for The Wicked Wizard of Oz here.)

NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! (ACE Gamebook #3)
Having learnt from my mistakes with The Wicked Wizard of Oz, I made sure that there was no game content that was reserved solely for Kickstarter backers, and I made sure that everyone's adventure would be a satisfying experience, and not too brief, no matter which character you played as.

What I learnt...

  1. Drawing your own maps might be fun, but painting them is a whole other matter.
  2. Make sure you have all your physical rewards ready before you start sending out book rewards because...
  3. People really appreciate it if you send out high level rewards first, or at least at the same time as everybody else's. And yet, all too often these are the ones that get sent out last.
  4. It is very hard to get people to write and post Amazon reviews. (185 backers on Kickstarter, 13 review on, 3 reviews on
  5. People can get funny when you change the cover design of a series.

Beowulf Beastslayer (ACE Gamebook #4)
This was a book I had been wanting to write for a long time, but in that time my approach to the adventure had changed quite dramatically. It was not as long as NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! or The Wicked Wizard of Oz, but it was still probably my most ambitious published gamebook to date.

What I learnt...

  1. Not everyone will appreciate you going to the trouble of writing in an epic, poetic style, if all they really want you to do is rehash past glories.
  2. People who back gamebook projects in general aren't all that fussed about miniatures.
  3. Having a celeb give you a cover quote for your book is really cool.
  4. Having the original illustrator of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain illustrate your book is really really cool. (It pays to approach the masters. After all, what's the worst thing that can happen? They might say no. Then again, they might say yes.)
  5. External Pledge Managers can be useful.
  6. Teachers don't like to have to pay for teaching resources.

'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas (ACE Gamebook #5)
I have a long held fascination for the history and legends of Christmas. (I even wrote my History A-level extended essay on the origins and history of the Christmas carol.) I am particularly fond of Krampus, the Germanic Christmas Devil, and so it was, I suppose, inevitable that one day I would write an adventure gamebook featuring the anti-Santa as the Big Bad.

What I learnt...

  1. If you can afford it, commission some art before launching the Kickstarter, so that people can buy into your vision for the gamebook right from the start.
  2. Greyscale computer-generated art can work in an adventure gamebook.
  3. If you write a book tied very strongly to a particular event, or time of year, do not expect strong sales all year round. But on the plus side, you have the perfect occasion to promote your gamebook every year.
  4. Obscure European folklore may mean that your book finds a new market elsewhere, outside of the UK.
  5. While external Pledge Managers can be useful, sometimes it's quicker, cheaper, and easier to do it yourself.
  6. If your book is thin enough, it can be sent through the post as a large letter rather than a small parcel.

Dracula - Curse of the Vampire (ACE Gamebook #6)
This is the ACE Gamebook that, as of writing this blog post, I am still in the process of writing. I am sure I will learn a lot from this one too but for the time being here's...

What I learnt...

  1. If you can, and you are confident the Kickstarter will fund, start writing the book before running the crowdfunder; people will be more likely to back your project if there is a sample of it that they can try out for themselves.
  2. Don't just promote your Kickstarter to your target audience. For example, someone who loves vampires, and is a member of a Gothic-themed Facebook group, might have played gamebooks in their youth but is unaware they are still in print. So spam up those Gothic groups as well as the gamebook and RPG ones.
  3. People love the idea of playing as the Bad Guy.
  4. It's worth offering people the chance to place a Late Pledge.

What other things should you bear in mind if you are planning a crowdfunding project of your own?

You need to keep promoting your project. Kickstarter is not an effective promotional platform. You are the platform; Kickstarter is merely the means to collect people's pledges.

Timing is important too. Apparently the best times of year to run Kickstarters are March and October, which are both far enough away from the two big spending periods of people's lives annually - Christmas and the summer holidays.

Budgeting is vitally important. Bear in mind that you will spend a lot of time simply promoting and fulfilling your project, let alone creating the finished product. If you're happy to do that for free, fine, but it you want to be paid for your time you will need to factor it into your budget. To help keep costs down, where possible offer digital rewards rather than physical ones. And always include a contingency fund! There's always some unexpected cost that will crop up before the day is done, and if you don't actually need it, then that's your reward for running a successful and efficient Kickstarter.

Once your project has funded, keep people up to date with your progress on said project - once a month is enough - even if it is only to tell them that there is no news; at least that shows your backers that you haven't forgotten about them. And if you project is going to be delayed, the sooner you can let backers know the better, and keep updating them. Don't go quiet on them.

But the most important thing I have learnt from crowdfunding gamebooks (and other things) is this: under-promise and over-deliver. Too many Kickstarters come unstuck because project creators do the exact opposite - they over-promise and under-deliver. If you think it will take you nine months to complete the project and deliver it, tell your backers it will take twelve, because you never know what issues might arise during that time. Worst case scenario, you deliver the book when you said you would. But if there aren't any setbacks, you'll get your rewards out early, and I've never had any backer complain because they received their books sooner than they expected.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Warhammer Wednesday: Heroes of Pariah

For one week only, the Black Library is celebrating the release of Psychic Awakening: Pariah with three collections of stories starring the three factions that appear in the book - the Space Marines, the Sisters of Battle, and the xenos architects of the Pariah Nexus, the Necrons.

The Necrons Bundle includes my short story But Dust in the Wind, along with eight others, a novella, and a novel - but the likes of Ben Counter, David Guymer, Nick Kyme, Cavan Scott, and Gav Thorpe. It is a collection that will immerse you in the ancient horror of the alien robot race – perfect for any aspiring Overlord or someone who wants to find out more about their Necron foes.

You can download the Heroes of Pariah: Necrons eBundle here.