Thursday, 31 May 2012

Steampunk Thursday - 5 stars for Time's Arrow: Black Swan!

Part 2 of my eBook serialised Pax Britannia novel Time's Arrow has received another glowing review which I thought I'd share with you here.

Familiar events and characters... are recombined into new patterns. Like all good spies Ulysses finds a pretty girl to help him ... but is she more of a hindrance? Is our heroine really our villainess in disguise? This is the question people are being asked to vote on at the end of the second part, to be picked up in Time's Arrow: White Noise.

Jonathan has taken a relatively new idea: that you need to be engaged with your audience by making things interactive, and combined it with traditions of the chose your own adventure genre. We're given the main body of the story, but we get to chose how to interpret the events and thus set the course for the next section of the book. And it's hard; a fortnight after reading part two I have no idea how to vote.

You can read the full review here, and pick up your own copy of Time's Arrow: Black Swan here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Warhammer Wednesday: Oblivion cometh

"The Emperor commands us.
Dorn guides us.
Honour shields us.
Fear our name, for it is vengeance."

~ From the teachings of Rhetoricus


You are a veteran Space Marine of the Imperial Fists Chapter. Equipped with powerful Terminator armour and armed with the deadliest weapons that the Adeptus Astartes wield, you are a symbol of the Emperor's might. Trapped aboard the space hulk Herald of Oblivion and the only survivor of your squad, you must fight your way through the aliens and heretics that infest the star vessel and find a way to escape the horror and return to your Chapter.

Monday, 28 May 2012

JG at the UK Games Expo 2012

So this weekend I went to the UK Games Expo (again), this time as a guest of Tin Man Games. Neil Rennison (the Tin Man himself) and I were there to promote Gamebook Adventures but also to bask in the reflected glory of Tin Man having gained the licence to produce Fighting Fantasy gamebook apps.

Having battled the traffic (an hour and a half to get to Birmingham, half an hour to get into Birmingham!) I arrived just in time to miss the RPG designers' panel (featuring Sarah Newton and Ben Counter) but that was the only negative of the whole weekend.

Saturday saw a lot of traffic coming by the Gamebook Adventures stand, where the two games being demoed were Temple of the Spider God and Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106. Some people were curious about what we were (or rather weren't selling), some were Twitter followers making themselves known and there was a ton of Fighting Fantasy fans, excited that the premier 80s gamebook system was coming to digital platforms later this year. We were also opposite the Cubicle 7 table where Nick Robinson, author of the soon-to-be-released Judge Dredd Gamebook Adventure was helping out while Dom McDowell* showed off his latest Doctor Who games.

 The Gamebook Adventures stand in all its glory.

Other visitors to the stand included Eve Weaver and her husband Steve Cotterill (steampunk friends of mine and gamebook fans to boot), Andrew Kenrick of White Dwarf fame (who chatted to me about Path to Victory gamebooks), and Dean of the Ready Up gaming website.

However, the most pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment of the whole weekend was when Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone stopped by the stand to say hello, at the same time as Tony Hough, my collaborator on such FF classics as Knights of Doom and Bloodbones**.

Fighting Fantasy and Gamebook Adventures unite!

Tony Hough (artist) and Jonathan Green (writer), the creative team behind Knights of Doom and Bloodbones.

Tony and I then went along to Steve and Ian's talk about their Top Ten Games, which was as packed out and as entertaining as you would expect. I know the pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment of the whole weekend as far as Neil was concerned was when Ian announced to the crowd that Tin Man were going to be producing gamebook apps and bigged up Gamebook Adventures in general.

The talk was followed by a signing at the Arion Games stand where Graham Bottley was promoting the Crown of Kings expansion for AFF Second Edition. I seized my chance and made sure that Steve, Ian, Tony and myself all signed a copy of Bloodbones (another first!) leaving space of Martin McKenna to leave his mark some time in the future.

Gaming legends Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson sign Fighting Fantasy gamebooks for the fans at the Arion Games stand.

One of a kind!

The rest of the day passed in an excited blur and come the evening Neil and I retired to the Garden House for real ales and boar burgers, where we were joined by Nick and Dom. During the evening Dom and I talked about... Actually, I'm going to have to leave it at that for now, but you won't believe which well-loved property he would love to make a game of. ;-) (And I won't tell you what we all heard Angus Abranson announce to the world as we moved to the Strathallan bar after chucking out time at the Garden House.)

Nick Robinson and Dom McDowell test out the potential hit of the UK Games Expo 2013 as Neil Rennison looks on in wonder.

Sunday morning, bright and early, Neil and I were back on the GA stand where we met Vicki Paull, digital games artist, as well as Olivier Gavrois of Blue Flame Publishing, while I (apparently) slipped back into teacher mode when presenting Gamebook Adventures to games fans of more tender years. Oh, and I think I sold another gamebook idea. ;-)

Can you tell which one's the boss?

The very pleasant surprise of Sunday was bumping into Jake Thornton, writer and games designer, who stopped by the Mantic Games stand (just across from the GA booth). In case you don't know, Jake commissioned my first work for White Dwarf magazine back in the day***. It was great to catch up with him again, and I think Neil and I succeeded in persuading him to have a crack at writing a gamebook.

The rest of the day was a mixture of bacon baps, Diet Coke, signing FF books for slightly anxious-looking mothers and their more excited children, and being interviewed by G*M*S Magazine (who interviewed Neil and I at Dragonmeet last year).

Before you knew it we were deconstructing the set and deconstructing the weekend, and discussing plans for what would be launched by Tin Man Games at UK Games Expo 2013. So hopefully I might see some of you there.

And lastly, farewell to the Clarendon Suites. It's been fun, but the expo has steadily grown over the last few years so next year's it's going to be hello the Hilton Metropole!

* Congrats to Dom and Cubicle 7 for winning the award for best RPG for Airship Pirates!

** Soon to be released in French!

*** i.e. the mid-late 90s.

Thought for the Day

"Slowly, a bit at a time, a book is coming into being. It’s fun to watch and at the same time frustrating, because writing always happens slower than you want it to. I have all these exciting scenes in my mind. I want them written down. NOW! I want the story rolling along. I want to see how it all works out. And yet it is arriving in the only way stories do, one phrase at a time, over a period of minutes and hours and days and months."

Pure poetry, that tells you exactly how it is.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Short Story Saturday: Resurrection Engines

So this week I finished my short story for the soon-to-be-published short story collection Resurrection Engines, and sent it off to the anthology's editor Scott Harrison.

What makes Resurrection Engines different from other short story collections is the fact that each story within is a steampunk 're-telling' of a classic tale.

I say 're-telling' with parentheses in place because you can be sure they're not going to be simple re-tellings of the stories with just a few cogs and top hats added. Oh no.

You can find out more about the tales being told in the book here, including which classic tale I'm taking on.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Gamebook Friday Part 3: Some rather big news from Tin Man Games

Surely this has to be the biggest gamebook-related news item of the day.

Tin Man Games and Fighting Fantasy are sure to be the talk of the town* this weekend in Birmingham at the UK Games Expo where both will be in attendance. Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone will be there, talking about their favourite boardgames, and Neil Rennison - the Tin Man himself - will be manning a stand in the dealers' room too, along with Nick Robinson, author of the Judge Dredd Gamebook Adventure Countdown Sector 106, and Yours Truly.

So if you happen to be in Edgbaston this weekend, do stop by the Tin Man Games stand and say "Hi!"

Maybe I'll see you there...

And talking of Tin Man Games, to celebrate their BIG NEWS and ahead of the UK Games Expo, they've got a sale on!

* If that expression doesn't sound too dated!

Gamebook Friday Part 2: Beneath the City of the White Wolf

Gamebook-related news is clearly like London buses. You wait ages for any at all, and then several items turn up at once (or something like that).

This is what arrived in the post this morning.

Can't wait to read it, but for the time being I need to get back to the world of Warhammer myself and crack on with my Vampire Counts Path to Victory book Shadows over Sylvania...

Gamebook Friday: The Pirate of the Beyond

June 2012 sees the publication of Le Pirate de l’Au-delà, or rather the French edition of Bloodbones.

This is the most recent French translation of one of my gamebooks, the last being Knights of Doom (or rather Les Chevalier du Destin) towards the end of the 1990s, and I'm really excited to see what our Gallic cousins make of 'The Pirate of the Beyond'.

In other over-the-Channel-related news, Le Grimoire Publishing has opened an Art Gallery offering unique artworks by legendary gamebook artists Gary Chalk and Russ Nicholson for sale (including a number by Russ  from the FF universe).

You can find out more about Le Grimoire Publishing's endeavours here, and you can keep up to date with the release of Le Pirate de l’Au-delà here.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Steampunk Thursday: Black Swan voting now open

Details for how to vote for your preferred story ending to Time's Arrow: Black Swan are now up on Abaddon Books' Facebook page.

Basically it's like this. Once you've read the second eBook in the eBook trilogy that will ultimately become Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow, head over to the Abaddon Facebook page and post 'A' or 'B' after the status update that starts 'WHAT WILL COME OF OUR DASHING HERO NEXT?'

Or, alternatively, you can email your choice of 'A' or 'B' to

You have until 25 June 2012 to cast your vote.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

JG and the Worlds of Tomorrow

So last night I popped along to Foyles on Charing Cross Road for the Society of Authors and Kitschies event Worlds of Tomorrow: The Rise of Sci-Fi in Children's & YA Fiction.

I happened to arrive at the same time as Philip Reeve, who remembered me from the Steampunk Evening we both attended. Which was nice.

Whilst waiting for the panel to start (having dutifully taken my seat by 6.45pm as requested) I got chatting to Kirsty, a budding writer who, it turned out, has connections with the Big Green Bookshop where I did a reading only recently.

The panelists prepare.

On the panel last night were Steve Cole, author of the Astrosaurs books (amongst many other things), Kim Lakin-Smith, fellow steampunker, and Moira Young, whose debut novel Blood Red Road won the Costa Children's Book Award 2012. It was hosted by Philip Reeve (who is a very witty panel wrangler) and Sarah McIntyre.

Plenty was discussed - including why publishers shy away from Science Fiction, or whether they do at all; the fact that Philip used to think YA (as in Young Adult) Fiction was 'Ya!' fiction; how Steampunk is a by-product of SF, and is what the literary crowd did when they saw engineers writing Science Fiction; the fact that Moira Young used to be an opera singer, and that this has resonances within her writing style; that Doctor Who books are pushing other children's SF off the bookshelves in shops; why dystopian fiction is popular with 'Ya!' readers; that sub-categorising SF (which is a very broad church) helps sell it - but as is always the way, just as the discussion was getting particularly interesting (and a little heated), 8.00pm came around all too quickly and the panel finished so that we could all buy books and get them signed by those present.

I would have loved to have contributed my own thoughts on steampunk and the fact that most SF people (not just children) read is really fantasy, but Patrick Ness got in there first.

Sarah McIntyre and Yours Truly show off some of Sarah's books.

I also got to meet Steve Cole in the flesh, as it were, as well.

Whilst waiting to get some books signed myself, I caught up with Del Lakin-Smith and Jared Shurin, who commissioned a new story from me on the spot. Which was nice too.

My signed purchases. (One for me, and one for each of my offspring.)

All in all another great Kitschies and Foyles-inspired evening and I'm now looking forward to the next event on my calendar, which happens to by Kit Cox's book launch this Thursday.

Warhammer Wednesday - Mission: Games Workshop - Angel

On my way to the Kapow! Comics Convention on Saturday, I popped in to the Angel Games Workshop store. There I met manager Matt Flynn, who made me feel very welcome, and we chatted about everything from his store being in the latest issue of White Dwarf magazine to my forthcoming gamebook projects. (Yes, you read that right - projects.)

Don't forget, there's not long to go now until the release of Herald of Oblivion, my first Path to Victory gamebook. And just to whet your appetite, here's the teaser trailer once again.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Work in progress

I've been cracking on with Shadows over Sylvania today, my new Warhammer gamebook (as revealed by Christian Dunn here), and I thought you might be interested to see the latest pile of research material I'm utilising for this project.

Anyway, back to it. Those undead aren't going to massacre themselves!

Tie-in Tuesday: The Eternity Clock

Coming soon to the PS3 and PS Vita, Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock pits the Doctor and River Song against some of the show's most iconic monsters, both past and present, including the Cybermen, the Silurians, the Silence, and - of course - the Daleks.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

JG at the Kapow! Comics Convention

So here's a thing. Yesterday I met Gareth Edwards.

Gareth Edwards, writer and director of the sublime movie Monsters
and Jonathan Green, who writes about monsters.

Anyway, I was at the Kapow! Comic Convention in Islington, London, not working for once but as a punter. I'd not been to this particular con before so I was keen to see how it compared to others I'd attended.

I hadn't even made it through the doors into the convention centre when I bumped into SFX Magazine's Dave Golder, Rob Power and Amy Swapp (official photographer for the day). Which was nice.

Kapow! It was busy.

Inside the place was heaving. Fans had come dressed as all manner of comic book superheroes (including a lady Loki, lady Thor and lady Robin), there were comic artists drawing sketches, previews of forthcoming movies, celeb interviews on the SFX stage, Joe Quesada being interviewed on the stairs, people queueing to have things signed or to attend panels, and even some comedy wrestlers.

I caught up with Ben Smith and Keith Richardson of Rebellion (and chatted about the popularity of the Pax Britannia line and Pye Parr's awesome artwork), bumped into Ian Livingstone and his son, met Kevin Crossley (illustrator of the forthcoming Blood of the Zombies) in person, said "Hi" to other writery types (like Lou Morgan and Will Hill), and met the inestimable Dr Geof, at long last.

Kev Crossley.

Dr Geof.

I sat in on the Arkham City designers panel and also the directors panel, after which I got to meet Gareth Edwards.

Gareth Edwards, director of the forthcoming Godzilla reboot, and Jonathan Green, who was a massive fan of the Godzilla cartoon back in the late 70s.

I probably asked him the strangest question of the day, in hopeful anticipation of some awesome material for a forthcoming project, but unfortunately he couldn't help me (although he kindly said that if he could have he would have)*.

The moment Gareth signed his first ever piece of Godzilla merchandise, captured for posterity on my camera. Honestly. (Gareth pointed this out himself.) Another first for

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Colin Goudie, editor of Monsters, who I bumped into earlier in the day. He was very friendly and very generous with his time, and he didn't breach any NDAs. Promise.

I ended the day having a curry with Steve Yeowell and Chris Weston (two of my comic book heroes). Best line of the night had to be when Chris said, "I write my own stuff now. I can't be doing with writers... Oh my god, you're a writer, aren't you?" We then went on to discuss whether the recurrent themes in a writer's work could be boiled down to one word. Our conclusions were:

Garth Ennis - loyalty
Grant Morrison - self-enlightenment (or possibly transformation)
Ian Edginton - hoarding
Jonathan Green - faith

And before chucking out time (having been lost in Bloomsbury for half an hour or so) I was toasting Angus Abranson's good health at his 40th birthday party.

So all in all, a fantastic day.

And by the way, did I mention that I met Gareth Edwards?

Gareth Edwards, a very patient man, with Jonathan Green, a bit of a sad fanboy.

* In case you're wondering, I asked Gareth if he had ever read any Fighting Fantasy gamebooks as a child. He hadn't.

Crayon Dragon

Some lovely to start your Sunday...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Short Story Saturday: Stories of the Smoke

Since it's release in April, Stories of the Smoke has garnered a great deal of interest and some great reviews.

Disinformed chose my story Necropolis as one of their favourites saying this about the story: "A captivating and somewhat disturbing story."

Dreampunk.Me also liked the story, along with the rest of the anthology: "Stories of the Smoke truly is a literary feast–a fantastic sampler of cutting-edge storytelling, yes, but also a solid work that is both a unified vision of London and a swirling, kaleidoscopic voyage through and across a multiverse of Londons. Fans of Dickens, science-fiction and fantasy, London and/or all of the above might be the target audience, but even people who only fit into one or none of these categories might find themselves equally impressed by the scope and breadth of what brilliant modern-day fantasy such as this can say not only about one specific city or time in the past or present but about us, today and tomorrow."

Interestingly, Anne Perry (one of the editors of Stories of the Smoke) wrote about some of the most memorably Dickensian locations to be found in London today. Her list included Covent Garden and Seven Dials, which feature prominently in Necropolis.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Gamebook Friday: Blood of the Zombies

Another of the illustrations from Ian Livingstone's forthcoming Blood of the Zombies has been published on And here it is...

Attack Dogs by Kevin Crossley

Ian is also offering fans the chance to get their name in the book. If you Tweet your name with the hash-tag #BloodoftheZombies to @ian_livingstone by 1 June , it could be you!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Steampunk Thursday: The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus

I found this great review of The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus on Amazon Canada.

Quicksilver Strikes Gold

Picked up a copy of The Quicksilver Omnibus from a bookstore in Toronto. All I have to say is WOW. The world Green has created is breathtaking, his hero Ulysses Quicksilver is part Sherlock Holmes, with a dash of James Bond thrown in for good measure,and all the fictional characters from the Victorian past are mentioned or play a big part in the plots. I was never really all that interested in Steampunk. Night of the Morlocks proved to be a huge disappointment. So I was rather wary of picking up this volume. I am glad I did. Once again Abaddon Books has outdone themselves, when it comes to finding books to publish under their banner... 

May the Adventures of Ulysses Quicksilver never end. 


You can pick up your own copy of The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus here.

12 for '12 - Progress Report

Okay, so back at the start of the year I set out my 12 New Year's resolutions for 2012. I thought it was timely to let you know how I'm getting on. (Timely? You'll see why in a moment.) So here are my 12 resolutions again, with a status update for each one attached.

1) Read more books
Too early to really comment on this one. It's taken me ages to read a couple of books and then I've whizzed through others the same length. (This may say more about the pressures I've been under than the quality of the writing, although it was Dan Abnett's The Silent Stars Go By and Terry Pratchett's Snuff that I whizzed through.)

2) Buy fewer books
I've managed that. Far fewer visits to bookshops and far fewer packages arriving through the post from Amazon. Now I just need to stick to my guns.

3) Complete 12 projects
Now this is the interesting one. I wanted to complete 12 writing projects this year, whether they be novels, magazine articles or whatever, and on Tuesday I handed in number 12. That's right, I'm not even half way through the year and I've already finished 12 projects (although I've not written any complete novels yet).

For those of you who are interested, those 12 jobs consist of, 5 short stories, 3 children's books (for an up and coming brand), 2 magazine articles, 1 novella, and 1 gamebook app.

The challenge is now going to be if I can complete another 12 jobs before year's end. Already on the slate are 3 short stories, 2 novellas, 3 gamebooks (some of them apps), and various synopses and proposals to be written for various other things.

4) Write another gamebook App
Done. More news on that soon (I hope).

5) Get another Hammer & Bolter commission
Kind of done... I just need to write it now.

6) Get a comics commission
I've made no progress with this one at all.

7) Work up a new YA project
Certain people have shown an interest in me doing this and others have suggested it's something I should try, but again it's not something I've done anymore about just at the moment.

8) Reach 100 followers on this blog
Tick. Done. I'm actually up to 103 now. And keep 'em coming.

9) Try to get an agent
I've not even attempted to do anything about this yet. (Which is kind of connected to number 7).

10, 11 & 12) Use social media less (Facebook, Blogger and Twitter)
Hmm... I'm certainly planning my blogs more in advance, but I still frequent Facebook far too much. (And what is it with Facebook and cats?)

Twitter's an interesting one though. Strangely, I Tweet most often when I'm working. As my friend Lavie Tidhar says, it's just enough of a distraction when you're in the zone, giving you something to dip in and out of when you're slogging away at a chapter. Interestingly, if Lavie's Tweeting you also know he's working.

Lavie Tidhar - clearly not Tweeting

So there you go. That's how things stand at the moment. Three resolutions definitely completed/achieved, and another couple well on the way. Maybe it's time to review the rest.

Until next time... Oh, and enjoy Steampunk Thursday later on today. ;-)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Warhammer Wednesday: Review Round-up

Here's a round-up of various reviews of my contributions to the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes...

Sir Dagobert's Last Battle
"Jonathan Green's Bretonnian story was particularly impressive, exploring the fanatacism and exploitative nature of faith in the Old World in a very entertaining fashion."

The Dead and the Damned
"Now it is true this book has the feel of several short stories put together, but I felt they were nicely woven together, and played off each other well. It gives you a feel for the numerous adventures a band of sell swords would find themselves in. The characters actually had a way of growing on you... I really did like the adventures the band of mercenaries found themselves in, and I am looking forward to Jonathan Green's next book about this stalwart band."

"This was the first BL book that I read and it blew my mind, easily one of the best. Although old and possibly outdated it is easily one of my fave five and one that should be read!"

And Another Thought for the Day

"In the Good Old Days, Mister Moorcock could write about 45-50,000 words of what was then called "science fantasy" (Hawkmoon, Corum etc) and then have them published as a novel. In the Good Old Sixties, Dick novels ran 180-240 pages in paperback, and were among the best stuff produced in the field in half a century. Now of course ... 80-120,000 words minimum. If you can't be good, be BIG." 
~ Christopher Fowler, writer and novelist

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tie-in Tuesday: Monstrous Missions review

Last week I came across this fantastic review of Monstrous Missions (and other Doctor Who Children's Books) from The Bolton News.

Apart from the great value – having two books in one – these publications are excellent. 

They are easy to read, thereby encouraging the age range they are aimed at to take up reading for pleasure. Plus the pace is quick throughout. 

In fact, these stories are more like the TV episodes than most of the other novels that are being issued. 

The dialogue between the characters is more accurate, making it easier for the reader to visualise the story. 

It is also nice to have the occasional tale in which the Doctor is on his own (Horror of the Space Snakes). It’s not often that the Doctor is alone and it makes a refreshing change. 

For older readers, there is the added pleasure of the odd reference to previous adventures, even a nod to Jaws*, and especially in the case of Extra Time, some excellent historical fact. 

These books are obviously targeted at promoting the joy of reading amongst the younger fans of the show, and in my opinion are very successful at doing it. 

Such is the aforementioned pacing of the action, you really don’t want to put them down. 

In a word – superb.

You can read the whole review here, and pick up a copy of Monstrous Missions here.

* That's a direct reference to my story Terrible Lizards.

Write a Judge Dredd short story and win a Lawgiver

I know, I know... It's not Short Story Saturday, but I needed to pass this news on sooner rather than later...

The guys over at 2000AD are inviting writers to send in their short stories (no longer than 2,000 words each) about Judge Dredd. The winner will be published in the Judge Dredd Megazine and will also win a Mark II Lawgiver.

To find out more about this awesome competition, follow this link.