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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pax Britannia - the movie!



To find out more about the exciting steampunk world of Pax Britannia, click here.

A little light reading for Halloween

Not busy tonight? Then lock yourself away from the ghost and ghouls that will undoubtedly be prowling the streets, snuggled down in your favourite leather armchair beside the fire and indulge in a little light Halloween reading.

But what to read? Well, you do a lot worse than the Pax Britannia ghost story Vanishing Point which appears in the back of Leviathan Rising, available now from Abaddon Books.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Follow Abaddon Books on Twitter

You can now follow Abaddon Books via the ether-relayed magic of Twitter. To find out more, click here.

Writing - what's the point?

Came across this the other day:

It is almost reassuring to read Jonathan Green's Stormslayer and realize that he is still one of the most sadistic gamebook designers in existence.


It goes on... To read more of Mrs Giggles(!) review of Stormslayer
yourself, click here - go on, I dare you! Having read more myself I was reminded of this quote by the novelist Kingsley Amis:

If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.


So there. ;-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Forthcoming Events

There are a couple of events in November at which I shall be making a personal appearance.

The first is the Ealing Arts and Crafts Fair, where I shall be selling (and signing) copies of What is Myrrh Anyway? The fair is being held at St James' Church on Saturday 7 November, and I'll be there between 10.00am and 4.00pm, apparently in a marquee outside - so pray for good weather for me!

And then on Tuesday 10 November I shall be appearing at the Beyond Words Festival, at University College School from 2.30-3.30pm. I shall be talking briefly about the how I came to write What is Myrrh Anyway? and will then be hosting a fun - but challenging - Christmas quiz, as well as signing copies of my books. To reserve your ticket for this event, ring the UCS Box Office on 020 7433 2219.


Maybe I'll see you at one or the other? If you do pop along, say "Hi!" and tell me the blog sent you!

Fighting Fantasy at GamesFest 4 - update

More news regarding the GamesFest 4 event that I attended on Saturday as part of the Fighting Fantasy team, here at www.fightingfantasycollector.co.uk, and here on the official FF website.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fighting Fantasy at GamesFest 4

Just to report that I had a brilliant time on Saturday at GamesFest 4, a one-day convention encompassing RPG’s, Board Games, CCG’s, War Games, Comics, Books, Film & Video gaming.The organisers' aim was to create an informal event that enabled the enthusiast and casual gamer to sample the best the hobby has to offer, and they certainly achieved that. I got to speak to all sorts of people for a decent amount of time that is much harder these days at an event such as Games Day.


JG defacing another copy of Stormslayer

One of those people was Jervis Johnson, Games Workshop games designing legend. I also got to catch up with the guys from the Black Library, including Nick Kyme, Alex Davis, Graham McNeill and James Swallow. (Apologies to Richard Williams and Gav Thorpe for not managing to chat to them.)


One legend meets another - Graham McNeill gets his copy of Warlock signed by Steve Jackson himself

But the real reason I was there was as part of the team from Fighting Fantasy, which included Nick Sidwell from Wizard Books and another legend - Steve Jackson himself! It was great to see all these other luminaries of the business queuing to have their original copies of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain signed by Steve and tell him that that one book was the reason why they are doing what they do today. (And the same goes for me.)


Jonathan Green, Steve Jackson and Jamie Fry

I was also a great pleasure to meet so many fans myself and sign multiple copies of Stormslayer, Bloodbones and Howl of the Werewolf. But the biggest shout has to go out to Jamie Fry of www.fightingfantasycollector.co.uk. He turned up with a bag full of books for me to sign, including an original Puffin edition of Curse of the Mummy, which he tells me now it quite a desirable item these days! The man is a legend himself!

So, all in all, a great day was had by all and all that remains is to thank Nick for inviting me along and the GamesFest organisers for a very well organised con. Here's the GamesFest 5!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GamesFest 4

Just a quick reminder to say that I shall be at GamesFest 4, at the Watford Colesseum on Saturday 24th October, with the guys from Wizard Books, promoting the Fighting Fantasy series of adventure gamebooks.

And even better than that, Steve Jackson himself will be there in the morning to sign books and talk to fans.

To find out more, you can either check out the official Fighting Fantasy website or the dedicated website for GamesFest 4.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Art of Self-Promotion

For anyone considering the life of a freelance writer, bear this in mind; the writing is only one part of the job. You have to be an accountant (unfortunately), an agent (at times), but most of all you have to be your most ardent publicist. That, after all, is the reason for this blogs (and all the others). If you're not going to blow your own trumpet, it's unlikely other people are going to blow it for you(!).

So, with that in mind, this made me smile in a tired, knowing, ironic kind of a way.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Events occuring this weekend

Not events that I'll be attending, but ones featuring writing friends of mine.

First up there's Dan Abnett's tour of the Chaos Wastes (also known as Scotland). Click on the poster below to check details.


And then on Sunday 18 October 2009 at 5.30pm, Steve Jackson will be attending the Cheltenham Literature Festival and offering those Fighting Fantasy fans in attendance a unique opportunity to participate in an exciting audio Fighting Fantasy adventure. To find out more, click here.

A Glorious Dawn - Cosmos remixed



Melody Sheep's amazing musical tribute to two great men of modern science, the late Dr Carl Sagan and his cosmologist companion Stephen Hawking. Here they present A Glorious Dawn - Cosmos remixed. Almost all the samples and footage were taken from Carl Sagan's Cosmos and Stephen Hawking's Universe series.

Dr Johnson tells it how it is

"Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labour; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it."
Samuel Johnson (1709-84)

Dark Side

What's all this about? Well click here to find out.


Image copyright Rebellion developments (c) 2009, used here with permission, all rights reserved.

And the Geek shall inherit the earth...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What is Myrrh Anyway? at Ealing's leading Art and Craft fair

I will be at St James' Art and Craft Fair on Saturday 7 November between 10.00am and 4.00pm, selling - and signing! - copies of What is Myrrh Anyway? Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas.


Admission is free, so if you're in the area, why not pop along and say "Hello"?

Ever get the feeling someone's trying to tell you something?

Scanning the Interweb for reviews of my books the other day, I came across this review of Stormslayer by a certain Mrs Giggles.

I then dug deeper and uncovered a deep and lasting resentment of my work, combined with a bizarre masochistic streak as she(?) had read at least four of my gamebooks.


Well, from what I've read elsewhere, I would have to say that Mrs Giggles is in a vocal minority - of one! Her(?) criticisms of the book's structure smack of someone who made the wrong choices and went the wrong way and then blamed the book and the author for their own shortcomings. But never mind, there's always the next one - Night of the Necromancer - to get them really wound up all over again!

And remember, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Steampunk goes mainstream!

This is big news for all you steampunk fans out there. From today (until 21 February next year) the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford is hosting the first museum exhibition of Steampunk art.


From redesigned practical items to fantastical contraptions, the exhibition, curated by Art Donovan, showcases the work of eighteen Steampunk artists from across the globe. So expect ’steam-powered’ computer mice, clockwork hearts, brass goggles and the latest state-of-the-Steampunk-art eye-pod.

A whole host of special steampunk-themed events have been planned (including one for Christmas) and they start today (and are listed below). And don't forget, to get you in the mood, Abaddon Books currently have five steampunk adventures in the Pax Britannia series already published, with Blood Royal coming soon and more to follow after that in 2010.


Tuesday, 13 October 2009, 07:00 PM
Special Event:
Steampunk Curator's Talk

Art Donovan, curator of the current special exhibition gives his insider's view of the Steampunk movement and the story of the exhibition.


Saturday, 17 October 2009, 12:00 PM-04:00 PM
Family-Friendly Drop In: Lightning Strikes!

Discover the power of electricity, the story of lightning and make your own electric toy. This Family Friendly Drop In is suitable for children aged 7+.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009, 07:00 PM
Lecture:
Science and Technology in the History of Fashion

A public lecture by Sue Jenkyn Jones linked to the Steampunk exhibition. Sue Jenkyn Jones is course director for the MA in Digital Fashion Technology at the London College of Fashion. She is a consultant to the fashion industry and author of a number of books on fashion.


Friday, 30 October 2009, 12:00 PM-04:00 PM
Family-Friendly Drop In: Steampunk Big Draw

Draw alongside our exhibition of Steampunk objects inspired by Victorian design, and create some Steampunk art of your own! Probably the funkiest Big Draw ever!


Saturday, 07 November 2009, 02:00 PM-04:00 PM
Special Event: Steam Silhouettes

Have your visit to the Steampunk exhibition memorialised by an 'instant' silhouette portrait, the Victorian equivalent of the Polaroid. Steam Silhouettes will be created by Kathryne Beebe and Joshua Hatton. Free. No need to book.


Saturday, 14 November 2009, 02:00 PM-04:00 PM
Family-Friendly Workshop:
Tick-Tock Clockwork

Find out how a mechanical clock works and make a clockwork mechanism. This session is suitable for children aged 9+ and must be booked in advance - either by emailing museum@mhs.ox.ac.uk or calling 01865 277280. A voluntary materials donation of £5 is suggested.


Sunday, 15 November 2009, 02:30 PM-03:00 PM
Table Talk: Cheap and Nasty?

Stephen Johnston presents a typical Augsburg sundial of the 18th-century. Free. No need to book.


Friday, 27 November 2009, 07:00 PM-11:00 PM
Special Event: Gaslight - late night opening

The Museum's contribution to Oxford's annual 'Christmas Light Night' will include a late opening of the Steampunk exhibition, a family trail, performances of Victorian and Edwardian parlour songs, and a screening of Thorold Dickinson's film 'Gaslight' (the original version of 1940).


Wednesday, 09 December 2009, 07:00 PM
Special Event:
Steampunk Film Evening

Certain films have been inspirational for the Steampunk movement, while in turn it has inspired some contemporary film-making. This film evening shows a programme of cult and new Steampunk films. More details available here shortly.



Saturday, 16 January 2010
Special Event: Makers' Day

Steampunk is for all the imaginative makers out there! This day offers ideas, materials, advice and inspiration. It includes Steampunk Jewellery Workshops with Amy Surman (booking required: museum@mhs.ox.ac.uk/01865 277280), a Meccano workshop with the Henley Society of Meccano engineers, Stalls for buying makers' requisites, and one of MHS's signature events: an exhibition 'for sale'.


Saturday, 30 January 2010, 02:00 PM-05:00 PM
Special Event: Steampunk Live Manikins

An afternoon celebrating Steampunk fashion, ornament and jewellery, displayed by live manikins in the museum gallery. Come in your own steamwear - a chance to flaunt your favourite goggles.


Saturday, 06 February 2010, 02:00 PM-04:00 PM
Family-Friendly Drop In: Magical Movies

What did the Victorians know about the moving image? Find out by making your own magical movie toy. This Family Friendly drop-in is suitable for children aged 7-13.


Saturday, 13 February 2010
Special Event: 10/10 STEAM

The latest in the Museum's signature '10/10' days - open from 10 am till 10pm with a programme of talks, music, film and activities on the theme of STEAM.

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas

Looking for something a little different to give your loved ones this Christmas? Perhaps one of your family is a closet Dickens/Zombie horror fan. Well, if so, then I Am Scrooge could be the answer to all your Christmas gift-buying problems.

Following the example set by such modern classics as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter and Mr Darcy, Vampyre, it re-imagines Dickens' A Christmas Carol as a modern zombie apocalypse blockbuster.





Marley was dead. Again.

The legendary Ebenezeer Scrooge sits in his house counting money. The boards that he has nailed up over the doors and the windows shudder and shake under the blows from the endless zombie hordes that crowd the streets hungering for his flesh and his miserly braaaaiiiiiinns!


Just how did the happiest day of the year slip into a welter of blood, innards and shambling, ravenous undead on the snowy streets of old London town?


Will the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future be able to stop the world from drowning under a top-hatted and crinolined zombie horde?


Was Tiny Tim's illness something infinitely more sinister than mere rickets and consumption?

Can Scrooge be persuaded to go back to his evil ways, travel back to Christmas past and destroy the brain stem of the tiny, irritatingly cheery Patient Zero?


It's the Dickensian Zombie Apocalypse - God Bless us, one and all!


To buy your copy of I Am Scrooge, click here.

And if that wasn't enough for you, Alan Goldsher's Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion has been snapped by US publisher Pocket Books for publication in June next year, re-imagining Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison as zombies and Ringo Starr as a ninja in the latest addition to the publishing's hottest, and oddest, new craze: the monster mash-up.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Doctor Who - Decide Your Destinys

The 12 Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny titles published to date are now available as a bargain bundle.


If you're yet to discover the delights of the Decide Your Destiny gamebooks or my tie-in title The Horror of Howling Hill, why not pick one up here?

Juggernaut Redux

I came across this today...


It's another artist's interpretation of the Juggernaut from Stormslayer and you can see the influence of the movie Transformers in this version (which also inspired elements of the gamebook, as it happens).

And here's artist Stephen Player's original illustration from the book.


To comment on TheFoundingFields version at deviantART, click here.

The Return of the Interactive Fantasy Book!

Whilst trawling the Internet for reviews of Stormslayer, I came across this rather pleasing piece from the Birmingham Post entitled, 'Welcome return of the interactive fantasy book'.

To read the article - and its accompanying review of Stormslayer - click here.

Stormslayer - available at Harrods!

It's my birthday tomorrow - just in case you'd missed that little titbit of information - and as a birthday treat the family and I went to Harrods today. And I was very pleased to see the newly re-formatted Fighting Fantasy adventure gamebooks in Waterstone's inside the store.

I was so pleased, in fact, that I took a photograph.


If you've yet to discover the delights of Stormslayer, you can buy it here. And if you need any persuading, here's what other people are saying about it...

'I was pretty much blown away. Stormslayer snatches many of the rich ingredients from the original Fighting Fantasy titles, but bravely pushes the classic series into the next generation... 9/10' - Sci-Fi-Online.com

'Stormslayer is... another triumph of storytelling and design.' - Amazon.co.uk

'In the first of the new titles, Stormslayer, the hero... needs to harness the four Elements before going on a terrifying adventure into the kingdom of Femphrey... The first decision is made on page one... From then on in, it is your story. Mine featured Earth demons, skeletons, impenetrable landscapes and firewyrms. I battled enemies and thought hard about where I should go next. It was fun. The instructions in the book/game are easy to follow and there is something special about guiding the story yourself. Was I successful in my task? That would be telling – and, of course, your story will be completely different.' - BirminghamPost.net

Angry Robot Books UK Launch

Yesterday I spent a very pleasant hour or so at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London at the official UK launch of Angry Robot Books. Head honcho (and my old partner-in-crime) Marc Gascoigne was there, as was Triumff author (and me old Black Library mucker) Dan Abnett and his wife, ace editor, Nik Vincent. Had a great time catching up, briefly saw James Swallow and said 'Hi!' to Steven Savile.

It all seemed to go very well and I even bagged myself a Triumff poster.



Evidence that Dan Abnett really is a writer, with pen in hand...

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Path of the Freelance Writer

Michelle Lipton tells it like it is.

WARNING! After reading her post you may wonder why anyone would ever willingly choose to be a freelance writer.

But after the day my wife had at work today - she's a primary school teacher, by the way - it still seems like the better option to me.

NASA bombs the moon!

What is all this about? Has someone been reading the synopsis to my next Pax Britannia story Dark Side (coming in 2010)?

New Who Logo

Doctor Who, the series, returns to our small (or not so small) screens in 2010, with a new Doctor, a new show-runner and a new logo as well.


I, for one, love it!

Angry Robot launch

They've been around for a while now, but tomorrow those Angry Robots will officially stake their claim as the new masters of the world... Well, they'll be enjoying their official launch at Forbidden Planet in London at least.

So, if you're in the Big Smoke this weekend, why not pop along to the FP Megastore between 12.30pm and 2.00pm get your own copies of Triumff, signed by Dan 'The Man' Abnett himself, along with Winter Song by Colin Harvey and Kell's Legend by Andy Remic?

And I'll be there, lurking in the background, trying to nab my own free poster. ;-)

The British Fantasy Society's review of Evolution Expects

Just stumbled across this... a very pleasing review of my latest Pax Britannia novel Evolution Expects. (Should help spur me on with writing the next chapter of Blood Royal.)


PAX BRITANNIA: EVOLUTION EXPECTS
By Jonathan Green
Published by Abaddon Books, £6.99
Reviewed by Paul W. Smith

The latest in the alternative Earth Pax Britannia series, Evolution Expects takes us into a London where the population is under threat of a startling metamorphosis, a giant robot and masked vigilante, giving Jonathan Green further opportunity to expand on the futuristic vision of Britain the series has built up to date. We’re entering a world where the British Empire is still going strong with Queen Victoria on the throne for 150 years, retaining the rusting remnants of the industrial age alongside technical advancements. This is an Empire that’s increasingly stagnating and Londinium Maximum remains under an almost permanent toxic smog. Heroes and villains lurk amongst its vermin-infested streets.

Evolution Expects reintroduces Ulysses Quicksilver the dandified detective who’s is learning to cope with his newly transplanted ape’s arm, and Thomas Sanctuary, who’s now taken on the role of a masked jet-propelled vigilante dubbed Spring-Heel Jack. Their paths cross as they investigate the mysterious sighting of the Golem from Jewish myth and the shocking transformations that have befallen inmates in the Bedlam asylum, ordinary people that are now more insect than human. However, it becomes a race against time to solve the mystery before Prime Minister Devlin Valentine launches the Jupiter Station as an attempt to increase his popularity by cleaning up the city’s atmosphere. But already they have their hands full with gang warfare in the East End, and the alleged sighting of an old enemy, masterminding his latest scheme for domination.

This is a thoughtfully inventive tale where Jonathan Green relishes mixing Victorian Gothic with Sci-Fi adventure. His Londinium is a city which bears some semblance to our own reality but where scientific progress runs parallel with the over-extended trappings of the Victorian age. Giant robots and flying heroes co-exist alongside the opium gangs of Limehouse and the lunatics of Bedlam. There are nods to H.G. Wells and Conan Doyle, as well as to Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Bryan Talbot’s Luther Arkwright. Liberally sprinkled with dramatic set pieces and colourfully eccentric characters, Evolution Expects proves to be an entertaining read, with its own in-built rewards for readers of the whole Pax Britannia series to date, producing what amounts to an ongoing TV series in book form.

This volume also includes the satisfying short novella "Conqueror Worm". Set in 1797, it features the female secret agent, Cassandra Tyrrell, who rescues Sir George Sackville from highwaymen only to become embroiled in his family’s legend of the deadly Lambton Worm.

Writing blurbs

Writing the blurb for the back of a book - the bit a potential purchaser will read to see if they want to read the 90,000+ words inside - is a tricky business. I should know - I've written a fair few myself.

However, here's a classic example of how not to do it (i.e. by giving away most of the plot so the potential reader doesn't need to read any more), taken from the write-up for George Mann's next steampunk effort The Immortality Engine*.

Newbury has sunk further into his opium addiction, fueled in part by what he sees as Veronica's betrayal and his inability to confront her on the matter of her relationship with the Queen. However, when the body of a well known criminal turns up, Bainbridge and Veronica manage to track Newbury down, lounging in an opium den, and drag him out to help them with the case. Things are not as they at first seem. The body is clearly, irrefutably, that of the man in question, but whilst the body was in the morgue a crime has been committed that bears all the hallmarks of the dead man. The criminal is a compulsive (OCD), and they fear someone is committing copycat crimes. But Newbury is not sure. Somehow, the detail is too perfect for it to be a copycat. But how can a dead man commit a crime? Investigations draw a connection between the dead criminal and The Bastion Society, a group of rich society gentlemen with a shared fascination in the occult. On the surface these men appear to be nothing but amateurs and hoaxers, but it soon becomes clear that there are more sinister machinations at work behind the scenes. They are obsessed with the worship of the dead. And all the while, the dead man continues to commit crimes around the city. Eventually, it all comes back to Dr. Lucius Fabian, personal physician to the Queen and Head of the Grayling Institute, the place where Amelia Hobbes, the clairvoyant sister of Veronica, was installed at the behest of the Queen during the latter chapters of The Osiris Ritual. Newbury and Veronica pay a visit to the Institute, and are appalled to discover what has become of Amelia. She is lashed into a terrible machine which induces seizures, over and over, forcing her to predict the future for the good of the Empire. And more, the Institute contains secrets that could shatter the Empire. But the key to the mystery is here, also. For Fabian has constructed a machine that makes a facsimile of a person, weaving an exact copy of them in a tank. The machine is incomplete, however, and the copy lacks the spark of life. The hearts of these creations are still and dead. The plans for this machine have been stolen, however, and The Bastion Society have funded a machine to be built. The body of the criminal that was found is clearly not the original, who is still at large. But what do The Bastion Society want with these artificial cadavers? And how can Newbury and Veronica help to free Amelia from her terrible fate? And then the even bigger question - can they ever trust each other again? All of this - along with Newbury's opium addiction - will come to a head, and by the end, Newbury & Veronica's relationship will never be the same again.

* You know, the more I read about the books in this series, it's almost just as if somebody got hold of the world bible for Pax Britannia, when Abaddon Books first started accepting submissions for the series, and tried to second guess what I had in mind for that world. There are so many parallels and yet not as fully realised as the plots of the PB series. Coincidence, serendipity, sychronicity, tapping into a common zeitgeist... Who'd've thought it?

Probably the best job advert ever

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nathan Long on novel writing

Below you will find a link to a very informative video which explains how Gotrek and Felix writer Nathan Long goes about writing a novel.

Fighting Fantasy at GamesFest 4

Just to let you know that I shall be at GamesFest 4, at the Watford Colesseum on Saturday 24th October, with the guys from Wizard Books, promoting the Fighting Fantasy series of adventure gamebooks.

To find out more, you can either check out the official Fighting Fantasy website or the dedicated website for GamesFest 4.

Lost In Translation

If you've not seen these freaky film posters from around the world (but mainly Eastern Europe) for well-known movies, you're in for a treat. But be warned, some of them are not for the faint-hearted...

Monday, October 5, 2009

An early Christmas present

A parcel arrived this morning from the good old U S of A, containing a couple of copies of Christmas Miscellany, the American hardback edition of What is Myrrh Anyway? published by Skyhorse Publishing.


.
It's a very smart publication too, in full colour throughout and fully illustrated throughout.
.
Even if you've already got What is Myrrh Anyway? yourself, Christmas Miscellany would make the perfect stocking filler or under-the-tree-present for a loved one, so pre-order a copy today!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Come on now, don't be shy

Stormslayer's been out for nearly a month now and Evolution Expects even longer, but they've yet to garner any reviews on Amazon, that bookseller to the world. Both have received critical acclaim elsewhere, but it never hurts to have a few (no less than 3, please) stars up on Amazon.

Now, I am fully aware that this blog post might be a bit of a 'be careful what you wish for moment' but if any of you good folk feel like submitting a couple of lines explaining what you have enjoyed about recent publications of mine then please, go ahead. You never know, I might find some way of thanking you in the future.

Fingers crossed...