Sunday, November 30, 2008

The What is Myrrh Anyway? Advent Calendar

As I'm sure you already know, the period of four weeks leading up to Christmas is called Advent and in many households the days left until Christmas are counted down with the aid of an Advent calendar. But how did such a tradition come about?

Well, What is Myrrh Anyway? has all the answers, along with facts about Christmas turkey, Twelfth Night, mince pies and cracker pulling.

And during the month of December, the What is Myrrh Anyway? blog will have an alternative Advent calendar. Rather than opening a door every day to reveal a chocolate, if you log on each day you'll find a new Christmas-related post or festive fact.

So add the blog to your list of favourites and I'll see you there tomorrow...

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Friday, November 28, 2008

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Has finally been laid to rest. Confused? Well don't be.

Today I finished writing Christmas Past, the exclusive short story that will appear at the back of Human Nature, my next novel from Abaddon Books. It's a traditional festive tale of murder, mystery and mayhem and features, of course, dandy agent of the Crown, Ulysses Quicksilver.

And what's even more exciting is the fact that Human Nature can now go off to the printers and be out in time for a Pax Britannia book-signing at the Forbidden Planet store in London. I will of course update you regarding this event, via this blog, as and when I details have been finalised.

So, watch this space.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ealing 135 Group Christmas Fair

Apologies for the late notice on this one, but I shall be appearing at the Ealing 135 Group Christmas Fair this evening.

The event is being held in the Victoria Hall at Ealing Town Hall, Uxbridge Road, London, and runs from 8.00pm - 10.00pm.

As well as me, selling and signing copies of What is Myrrh Anyway?, my brand new book which answers all your questions about the festive season, you will also find a fabulous and unusual range of gifts and products, mostly hand-made. There's jewellery, hand-made baby clothes, toys, bags, ceramics, photo albums, home produce and loads more.

Mince pies and mulled wine will be available and there will also be a raffle, with all proceeds going to charity.

Entry is £1.00.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

News from Abaddon

The front page of the Abaddon Books website has been updated and features both Human Nature and Evolution Expects.

There's also exciting news from the Abaddon blog that 12 titles have already been commissioned for release next year, which is four more than this year!

So, if you're a fan of The Afterblight Chronicles, Tomes of the Dead, Twilight of Kerberos or Pax Britannia, 2009 is the year you've been waiting for!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

The perfect Christmas gifts!

Struggling to think of a suitable gift for the armchair genius in your home? Then why not have them testing the little grey cells on Christmas Day with a copy of the ever-popular Match Wits with the Kids?

And then, for the festively-minded there's What is Myrrh Anyway? which answers all the questions you've ever wanted to ask about the Christmas season, and some you haven't.

For the science fiction and fantasy fan in your family, why not try the Pax Britannia steampunk-action-adventure novels Unnatural History and Leviathan Rising?

And if you're looking for stocking fillers for the kids, you could do a lot worse than get them a few gamebooks - The Horror of Howling Hill, Howl of the Werewolf, Bloodbones, Curse of the Mummy, Spellbreaker - which will keep them occupied while you're getting Christmas dinner on the go. Or even Go, Go Crazy For Those Bones, for the younger GoGo's fan.

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Close encounters of a Dalek kind

Today - Sunday 23 November 1963 - is the 45th anniversary of the first ever airing of the first ever episode of Doctor Who!

And yesterday I took part in Doctor Who Day at Ealing Library, selling and signing copies of my Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny book The Horror of Howling Hill. Author Nick Griffiths was also there to talk about his book Dalek I Loved You and we were both upstaged by the presence of Dalek Kaan himself!

JG ready and eager to sign!

I had a close encounter with the Gold Dalek from the Cult of Skaro myself. The alien menace approached my table announcing, 'I detect books about the Doctor. The Doctor is the enemy of the Daleks.' And then started trashing my stock with its sink plunger. However, as soon as I turned my digital imaging recorder (my camera) on the monster, it was instantly subdued, screeching, 'Cheeeese!'

Close encounters of a Dalek kind.

(In a rather more surreal moment, later on in the day, I found myself enjoying a hot chocolate in the company of the Doctor's nemesis.)

So, all that remains is for me to say a big THANK YOU to Linda, Jane, Joyce and Christine of Ealing Library for having me along and making me feel so welcome, and of course to Dalek Kaan.


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Friday, November 21, 2008

There's nothing like promoting an event...

Seen sellotaped to the doors of Ealing Library:

Oh, and I'll be there too, by the way.

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Doctor Who Day at Ealing Library

Just to remind you... I will be at Ealing Central Library tomorrow, Saturday 22 November, taking part in their Doctor Who Day, selling and signing copies of my Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny book The Horror of Howling Hill.

(Did you know, over 100,000 Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny titles have been sold so far?)

I will also have copies of my new Christmas book What is Myrrh Anyway? available to buy.

You'll be able to meet a Dalek at 10.00am-12.00pm and 2.00pm-4.00pm, and also at 2.00pm author Nick Griffiths will be talking about his book Dalek I Loved You. There will be games, quizzes, and competitions to take part in as well.

So maybe I'll see you there...

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Acton Christmas Fair

Just to let you know, I will be taking part in the Acton Christmas Fair, on Saturday 6 December, from 11.00am until 6.00pm, selling and signing copies of my book, What is Myrrh Anyway?

If you happen to be in West London for the day (or don't live too far away) why not pop over to Acton Town Hall and say 'Hi!' or 'Merry Christmas!' or whatever else takes your fancy?

As well as a personal appearance by yours truly, as you browse the many market stalls, looking to make a start on your Christmas shopping with the all the arts, crafts and one-off quirky Christmas gifts (as well as more traditional holiday treats) that are on offer, you will be entertained by various choirs, carol singers, bands and buskers.
So why not come along? Maybe I'll see you there.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dan Abnett interviewed at Subrosa

If you're a fan of Dan Abnett's work, especially for Games Workshop - like me - then you should check at Polish website Subrosa's interview with the man himself. Click here to find out more for yourself.

You can also keep up to date with Dan's current projects and appearances via his own blog which you can link to from here.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Have you got yours yet?

Just like the perfect Christmas stocking, What is Myrrh Anyway? contains all manner of delightful surprises and delicious morsels of information. It demystifies the origins of Christmas and uncovers the truth behind such familiar festive traditions as carol-singing and cards.

If you've ever wondered how to cook the perfect roast turkey, what mince pies should really taste like, or why you are forced to endure the cross-dressing antics of a traditional pantomime every year, then simply open this Christmas cracker of a book and discover the answers to all those questions you've been too afraid - or embarrassed - to ask.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bye-bye, Bush!

So, Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States and the country's first black premier. And although I'll be glad to see the back of Bush (along with most of the rest of the world, I guess) there are some things about him that I'll miss - those wonderful 'Bushisms'.

Do you remember this one? "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." Or how about, "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

You can read of list of his 20 best faux pas here, but I think my favourite probably has to be this one:

"One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where I work

Inspired by the article in the Guardian about Writer's rooms (specifically that of Hunter Davies), which in turn reminded me of a post on David Bishop's blog some time ago, Ihave decided to reveal to the world my personal work space.

But first off, here's Hunter Davies' writing room...

... and here's where David Bishop likes to work.

And this is what I like to call my office, but which is, in reality, one end of our loft conversion guest bedroom.

I should start off by explaining that my desk isn't usually this tidy. However, I am between projects at the moment. Yesterday I finished going through my editor's comments on Human Nature, and later today I'm starting my next short story (which is called Christmas Past, at the moment).
On the desk itself, along with my laptop, is the copy-edited proof of Human Nature (my ninth novel), the synopsis for Evolution Expects (my tenth), various notes to do with Christmas Past, and a print-out of a synopsis for a project I can't talk about yet.
The books you can see are a mixture of my own and other useful reference books, that relate to the work I'm currently engaged in, along with the obligatory stationery items. There's also my inflatable Dalek and 2000AD subscribers' mug!
The ring binders stored to the left of my chair (as you look at the picture) are to do with the admin side of being a freelance writer, or contain notes from past projects or others still as yet to see the light of day. Then there's my stereo and CD collection.
The picture you can see on the wall above my desk is of a Black Templar Space Marine by Kev Walker and above the stereo you can just see the frame of another picture - this time, it's Adrian Smith's cover for Iron Hands. What you can't see (because I was standing in front of it when I took the picture) is Adrian Smith's original artwork for Magestorm which I now proudly possess. There are also more bookcases and more books. But then what would you expect of a writer's workspace?

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Serendipity and Coincidence strike again!

I was recently directed towards the following review, published in the Guardian, for George Mann's The Affinity Bridge.

The Affinity Bridge
Eric Brown
The Guardian,
Saturday September 6 2008

Steampunk is making a comeback, and with this novel Mann is leading the charge. Sir Maurice Newbury is an anthropologist at the Natural History Museum, perfect cover for his job as troubleshooting agent of the Crown. He and the demure yet resilient Miss Veronica Hobbes investigate the more bizarre and exotic threats to the Empire. This adventure includes murderous zombies, automatons and a villainous airship company. The setting is London as you've never seen it before, with bulbous dirigibles crowding the skies, steam wagons, and Queen Victoria kept alive by a mysterious medic known as the Fixer. An engaging melodrama that rattles along at a breakneck pace.

Steampunk making a comeback? Had it ever really gone away. The Natural History Museum? Agent of the Crown? Automatons and dirigible airships? Queen Victoria kept alive by mysterious medic means? An engaging melodrama that rattles along at a breakneck pace?

Sound familiar? Then you can understand my editor's concern, along with my own.

Here's the response I wrote to the letters page of the Guardian which, to the best of my knowledge, was never printed.

I was interested to read Eric Brown’s review of The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (The Guardian, Saturday 6 September) and was particularly intrigued by the line, ‘The setting is London as you've never seen it before, with bulbous dirigibles crowding the skies, steam wagons, and Queen Victoria kept alive by a mysterious medic known as the Fixer.’ Well, it’s certainly London as you've never seen it before, unless you happen to have already read Unnatural History, the first book in the Pax Britannia steampunk series published by Abaddon Books in 2007, of course!

Brown claims that, ‘with this novel Mann is leading the charge.’ Well, as another of those authors leading the charge, as it were, I thought that your readers might be interested to hear about an alternative steampunk series. Without doubt this sub-genre of science fiction has a loyal following, and one that is on the increase, so certainly the popularity of steampunk cannot be denied.

So if anyone tempted to pick up The Affinity Bridge after reading Brown’s review would like to read more adventures of this type, (set in the closing years of the 20th century with the British Empire still going strong, Queen Victoria kept alive by advanced steam technology and London re-imagined as a fantastical sprawling metropolis where dirigibles roam the skies, robot bobbies enforce the law and dinosaurs are on display in London Zoo,) then they could do a lot worse than check out Abaddon’s Pax Britannia novels. With three already published (Unnatural History, El Sombra, Leviathan Rising) and another – Human Nature – out this December, and more to come after that, they should provide more than enough steam-powered action to keep even the most die-hard fan happy until the New Year.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Green

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Zombies, zombies and more zombies... and a little Pax Britannia thrown in there too.

Yes, it's time to update you on all the news from Abaddon Books. Click here to find out more.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra

Irrefutable proof that Rosinni actually came from the East End, as demonstrated by this Cockney version of the William Tell Overture.

Thanks to Ralph for this one!

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Adrian Smith's Warriors of Chaos

The November issue of Games Workshop's White Dwarf magazine is out now and features the new Warriors of Chaos army book artwork on its cover. It's another brilliant piece by uber-talented artist Adrian Smith, who some of you may remember painted two of my Black Library novel covers (Magestorm and Iron Hands).

Inside you'll find more of his amazing artwork for the project (tasters of which you can see here). I only hope that there's more to come inside the army book itself.

If you want to view more of Adrian's astonishing art online, then click here.

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Elves Anonymous

Hi, I'm Findecáno Telemnar, and I'm an elf - apparently. To discover your Elvish name, click here.


Evolution Expects - the cover revealed

And a nasty piece of work it is too. Here, see for yourself...

Of course, when I say it's a nasty piece of work, I mean it's another fantastic piece of work from esteemed Abaddon artist Mark Harrison, but even I have to admit that the cover image is rather... well... unpleasant.

But that's nothing compared to what Mark's wife thought of it - and then my wife pointed out that I was the one who had come up with the image in the first place!

To find out more about the poor tortured soul who appears on the cover of Evolution Expects, you'll have to wait until April 2009, I'm afraid, when the fifth book in the Pax Britannia series will be released in the UK (the US release date is still to be confirmed).

And for those of you who've been paying attention to earlier posts, here's Mark's concept rough for the final cover design.

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