Monday, 22 May 2017

International Biodiversity Day

Today is International Biodiversity (and World Goth Day, and International Sherlock Holmes Day) and you don't get much more biodiverse than sharks, cthulhoid horrors from the Elizabethan era, and dinosaurs!

Thought for the Day

“Self editing is the path to the dark side. Self editing leads to self delusion, self delusion leads to missed mistakes, missed mistakes lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews are the tools of the dark side.”

~ Eric T Benoit

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Freeway Fighter signing at Forbidden Planet, London

Yesterday, Saturday 20th May 2017, fans of comics and gamebooks gathered at the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London for the signing of the very first Fighting Fantasy comic, Ian Livingstone's Freeway Fighter, published by Titan Comics.

In attendance were writer Andi Ewington, artist Simon Coleby, letterer Jim Campbell, variant cover artist (and original cover artist for the Freeway Fighter gamebook) Jim Burns, creator of the original adventure Ian Livingstone, and Yours Truly, since I edited the comic.

Signing pre-orders in the back room at Forbidden Planet.

Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks were also available for fans to pick up and have signed at the event, as were copies of my Pax Britannia novels.

The fans gather for the signing, including the usual suspects.

Two fantasy legends were reunited for the event - the original Freeway Fighter cover artist and author, Jim Burns and Ian Livingstone.

It was a special day for me too, because I got to meet Jim Burns for the first time, having interviewed him for the original YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.

Jonathan Green, author and editor, with Jim Burns, artist.

You can see more photos from the signing here.

Ian Livingstone's Freeway Fighter has been very well-received and you can read reviews of it all over the web. And of course Issue #2 goes on sale next month and is available to pre-order now, while the variant covers for Issue #4 have also been released.

Cover A by Simon Coleby & Len O'Grady - Cover B by Ben Oliver - Cover C by Tazio Bettin & Luis Guerrero

Friday, 19 May 2017

Gamebook Friday: Freeway Fighter signing at Forbidden Planet, London!

Tomorrow, Saturday 20th May 2017 from 1:00-2:00pm, many of the creative team behind Ian Livingstone's Freeway Fighter, published last Wednesday by Titan Comics, will be visiting the Forbidden Planet Megastore in London to sign copies of the very first Fighting Fantasy comic.

Joining writer Andi Ewington, artist Simon Coleby, original gamebook cover artist Jim Burns, letterer Jim Campbell, and author of the original Freeway Fighter gamebook, co-creator of the FF series and co-founder of Games Workshop, Ian Livingstone, will be Yours Truly, since I worked as editor on the title. Having edited three short story anthologies (to date) this is my first professional comic-editing gig and it's been a lot of fun to work on.

As well as being able to pick up various variant cover editions of the comic, at the Forbidden Planet signing Freeway Fighter fans will also to be to buy two limited edition Jim Burns giclee prints (each one £29.99, 18" x 24"), signed by Jim Burns and Ian Livingstone. These will only be available at the event and will not be available later from the Forbidden Planet website afterwards!

The event is bound to be very busy, so make sure you start queueing early, may your STAMINA never fail, and maybe I'll see you there...

Thursday, 18 May 2017

SHARKPUNK cover artist at Forbidden Planet this Saturday!

This Saturday, Simon Coleby - the ace artist behind the SHARKPUNK  cover - will be at London's Forbidden Planet Megastore, on Shaftesbury Avenue, from 1:00-2:00pm, signing copies of Ian Livingstone's Freeway Fighter comic.

Also in attendance will be the selachian anthology's editor, Jonathan Green, and it is rumoured that Alec Worley, who wrote Sharkcop 2: Feeding Frenzy, will also be attending the event.

So if you're in London on Saturday, and maybe planning on attending the signing already, don't forget to bring along your copy of SHARKPUNK to get that signed too!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Happy 117th Birthday to L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

On this day, 17th May, in the year 1900 - which just so happened to be a Thursday - L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published for the first time, making his world famous children's book, and classic of American literature, 117 years old today!
And to celebrate the occasion, here's a sneak peak at the character paintings that will be adorning The Wicked Wizard of Oz collector bookmarks, courtesy of illustrator extraordinaire Kev Crossley.

Freeway Fighter the Comic - Launch Day!

Andi Ewington first approached me about working on the Freeway Fighter comic with him last summer. As well as coming on board in an editorial role, the plan was that I would run a Kickstarter to fund production of the comic, Andi having already assembled a team of veritable comic talent to help turn his script into a piece of glorious sequential art, including artist Simon Coleby, colourist Len O'Grady, and letterer Jim Campbell.

However, before I could get underway with setting up the Kickstarter, Andi got in touch to say that Matt Mastracci had come on board as executive producer*, providing the financial backing which meant we wouldn't need to crowdfund the comic after all.

Then began the process of creating the comic, from refining the script - making sure it worked as both a comic and a Fighting Fantasy product, linking back to the original Freeway Fighter gamebook by Ian Livingstone - to Simon producing the art, which was then coloured by Len and finally lettered by Jim Campbell.

As things currently stand, Issue #3 is well on the way to being finished, with work having already begun on Issue #4 and its variant covers.

The next piece of good news was when Andi revealed that he Matt and Ian had been in talks with Titan Comics who would being coming on board as publisher, which brings us to this very day, when Issue #1 of Ian Livingstone's Freeway Fighter goes on sale for the very first time. It includes an exclusive introduction by Ian Livingstone himself and a letters page featuring letters by some very well-known figures within the world of comics indeed.

If you're in or around London on Saturday (20th May 2017) why not pop along to the Forbidden Planet Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue from 1:00-2:00pm, when the creative team behind the Freeway Fighter comic - creator Ian Livingstone, writer Andi Ewington, artist Simon Coleby, original cover artist Jim Burns, and editor Jonathan Green - will be taking part in a mass signing.

Maybe I'll see you there...

* And all because he read about Andi Ewington's dreams of publishing a Freeway Fighter comic book in YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Thought for the Day

“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.”

~ from The Lost Princess of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, born on this day in 1856.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Thought for the Day

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

Friday, 5 May 2017

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz

This week I've been checking over the typeset manuscript for The Wicked Wizard of Oz, which will be launching in four weeks' time at the UK Games Expo 2017. The cover has also been finalised, and here it is, featuring Kev Crossley's artwork.

Backers of the original The Wicked Wizard of Oz Kickstarter, who pledged to receive the WIZARD reward dice and playing cards, will doubtless also be intrigued to see these...

Did you know...?
On 5th May 1919, L. Frank Baum suffered a stroke and the following day he slipped into a coma. However, he briefly awoke and spoke his last words to his wife, “Now we can cross the Shifting Sands.” Baum died on 6th May 1919 and was buried in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. His final book, Glinda of Oz, was published posthumously on 10th July 1920.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Thought for the Day

“As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out.”
~ Mark Twain

Friday, 28 April 2017

Gamebook Friday: The Resurgence of the Printed Word

Apparently sales of printed books have grown for the first time in four years, lifted by the adult colouring book craze and 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, as eBooks suffered their first ever decline.

Now, I wouldn't want to claim I had anything to do with the resurgence of printed book sales, but it just so happens that both Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland and the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Colouring Book would have been counted among those sales. And for anyone who enjoyed the first colouring book, there is now a second one available.

We wouldn't want the sales of traditional printed books to slide again in 2017 now, would we? So, with that in mind, make sure you place your pre-order for The Wicked Wizard of Oz, which will be out very soon, also from Snowbooks.
And while we're on the subject of gamebooks, it's not too late to place a Late Pledge for YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, which is slowly starting to take shape.

Gamebook Friday: Fighting For Your Fantasy

Justin McCormack has been systematically playing through my Fighting Fantasy gamebooks on his Fighting For Your Fantasy blog and has now tackled all of them.

His playthroughs make for very entertaining reading. If you would like to sample his words, and my adventures, simply click the appropriate link below.


Knights of Doom

Curse of the Mummy


Howl of the Werewolf


Night of the Necromancer

Monday, 24 April 2017

Thought for the Day

“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

~ James A Michener

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Happy Deathday, Mr Shakespeare, and World Book Night 2017

Tonight is World Book Night, an occasion which always falls on the anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. (It's also quite possibly the anniversary of his birth, but there isn't an extant record of that, whereas there is one of his death.)

With that in mind, might I suggest you place an order for Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu this evening, or if you've already got the book, read one of the short stories contained within? After all, they're very good.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Shakespeare Saturday: Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu has been out a while now, but in case you have yet to come across it yourself, it's an anthology of sinister short stories that merge the Bard's most famous plays with H P Lovecraft's most horrific creations.

And as it's the 401st anniversary of Shakespeare's death tomorrow, here's a little something I put together.

You can pick up a copy of Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu here.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Gamebook Friday: JG at the UK Games Expo 2017

Six weeks today I shall be attending the UK Games Expo 2017, where I shall be launching The Wicked Wizard of Oz, my new ACE Gamebook, which was crowdfunded via Kickstarter last year.

Last year, Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland received a very warm response from the expo-goers so I'm hoping The Wicked Wizard of Oz will be equally well received this year.

You will find me at stand F11, along with Mercia Books. Do stop by and say hello, and do pick up a signed copy of The Wicked Wizard of Oz while you're there. ;-)

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Steampunk Thursday: Abaddon Books Open Submission Month 2017

They did it in 2012 and 2015, and now they're doing it again in 2017. That's right, Abaddon Books are opening for submissions for the month of May.

If you fancy your novella or novel joining the same stable that publishes the Pax Britannia series, follow this link to the Abaddon Books' website where you will find everything you need to know about submitting to and writing for Abaddon Books.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Warhammer Wednesday: Audio Week 2017

I received a promotional email from the Black Library on Monday that rather took me by surprise. Apparently, this week is Audio Week 2017, and the story - or rather, two stories - serialised for the occasion are Eye of Night and Hand of Darkness by m'colleague Gav Thorpe. Here's the blurb for the two stories:

Now the funny thing about these stories, and the reason for me being prompted to write this blog post, is because the Eye of Night and Hand of Darkness are two creations of mine, even if I only really came up with the names*.

From 1994-96, after leaving university, I moved to Nottingham to become a freelance writer. It was then that I started working for Games Workshop, in a freelance capacity, writing colour text and short stories for the Warhammer Armies books and Warhammer 40,000 Codexes**. During that time I contributed words to the Epic 40,000 game as well as Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves and Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves, and Codex: Tyranids, Codex: Angels of Death, and Codex: Chaos.

It was whilst writing the interlinking stories that appeared through Codex: Chaos that I came up with the aforementioned Eye of Night and Hand of Darkness. The connected tales related the invasion of the planet Purgatory by the forces of Chaos, and at the end Inquisitor Horst discovers that the Hand of Darkness has been taken from its hiding place beneath the planet's crust.

In my mind, the Eye of Night and Hand of Darkness were powerful weapons, although unspecified, and GW took those ideas and ran with them*** when they created the backstory for the game Battlefleet Gothic, placing the alien artefacts at the heart of the story, a story which Gav is clearing continuing now.

It will be interesting to see what he does with those powerful weapons of antiquity next.

* Which, let's face it, aren't that original!

** I know it should be Codicies, but GW call them Codexes.

*** And it's not the only time this has happened.

Warhammer Wednesday: Black Library eBooks

Black Library are pushing their eBooks at the moment. Although I've not written anything for BL for some time now, some of my short stories and novels are available, either individually or as part of various eBook bundles.

If you fancy downloading an Imperial Fists vs Necrons short story, or a Kislevite mercenary novel, then follow this link to the Black Library website and take it from there.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Thought for the Day

"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."
~ Mark Twain

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Friday, 14 April 2017

Gamebook Friday: YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 Late Pledges

It's almost two weeks since YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 funded on Kickstarter, but if you missed it - or you want to add to an existing pledge - it's not too late to add a Late Pledge.

If you put in a Late Pledge you will gain all the benefits of someone who backed the original Kickstarter. For example, any physical copies of YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 will be hardbacks. You will also receive the prints that come with the £20 Gargoyle reward level and above, and if you back at the £50 Calacorm reward level or above you will also receive a pair of custom-made dice.

So don't delay - get your Late Pledge in today!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Thought for the Day

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try."
~ Beverly Sills, Operatic Soprano

Monday, 3 April 2017

Thought for the Day

"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make."
~ Truman Capote

Sunday, 2 April 2017

YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 - Late Pledges

If you missed the Kickstarter for YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2, or couldn't afford to back the project during its run, have no fear - you can still put in a Late Pledge*.

Here's what you need to do if you would like to make a Late Pledge to the Kickstarter:

  1. Look through the list of reward levels below and select the one you would like.
  2. Look through the list of add-ons and decide if you would like to add any of these to your pledge.
  3. Add the cost of any add-ons to the cost of the reward level you have selected, finally adding the correct postage for your country, to calculate the total amount you will need to pay.
  4. Email, making the title of your email 'YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 Late Pledge' and listing the reward and add-ons you have selected, along with the amount of money you will need to pay, including postage. I will then get back to you with details of how to make your payment via PayPal.

Please note - you can find out more about precisely what comes with each reward level by visiting the YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 project page here.

(No postage required)

 (No postage required)

(No postage required)

(Post and packing: UK £5 - European Union £10 - Rest of World £15)

(Post and packing: UK £5 - European Union £13 - Rest of World £18)

(Post and packing: UK £5 - European Union £13 - Rest of World £18)

(Post and packing: UK £5 - European Union £13 - Rest of World £18)

 (Post and packing: UK £5 - European Union £13 - Rest of World £18)

 (Post and packing: UK £12 - European Union £33 - Rest of World £35)

  (Post and packing: UK £12 - European Union £33 - Rest of World £38)

   (Post and packing: UK £12 - European Union £33 - Rest of World £38)

  (Post and packing: UK £12 - European Union £33 - Rest of World £38)

Just 2 remaining!
  (Post and packing: UK £12 - European Union £33 - Rest of World £38)

  (Post and packing: Free in the UK or if included with another reward - European Union £5 - Rest of World £7)

(Can only be included with the £20 Gargoyle reward or above)

 (Can only be included with the £60 Gark reward or above)

  (Post and packing: Free in the UK or if included with another reward - European Union £10 - Rest of World £20)

* Probably until the end of May. I will inform everyone when Late Pledges are closing.