Saturday, 31 August 2013

In Memoriam - Elmore Leonard

The US crime writer Elmore Leonard died on Tuesday 20 August 2013 aged 87. In his lifetime he wrote 46 novels but didn't write his first bestseller until he was 60*.

These are his three top rules for writing fiction (all of which I have broken in the past, the third one especially, and still do on a regular basis).

  • Never open a book with the weather.
  • Avoid prologues.
  • Never used a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.


Elmore Leonard
11 October 1925 ~ 20 August 2013


* There's hope for us yet!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Steampunk Thursday: A new review of Time's Arrow (of sorts)

Mr Kit Cox (a.k.a. Major Jack Union) sent me the most original review of one of my books I've ever received. And I'm rather pleased with it too. Enjoy...


You can order your copy of Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow here.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Warhammer Wednesday: How would you like to help edit White Dwarf magazine?

Editor of White Dwarf, Jes Bickham, is looking for an Assistant Editor to ensure that Games Workshop’s hobby magazine always hits the highest standards of editorial style, tone and direction, and that it remains permanently free of typos and grammatical mistakes.

Jes is the man who originally commissioned this article, which I am currently in the process of turning into a full-blown book!

If you think you'd fancy a crack at helping edit White Dwarf, you can find out more about the job and what's required here. But you'll have to hurry - applications must be received by midnight, UK time on Sunday 1st September 2013.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cthulhu Tuesday: Dreaming In Darkness - a 5 star review!

Dreaming In Darkness recently received a very detailed, and very pleasing, five star review on Amazon.com. Here are just a few choice comments:

The tales of H.P. Lovecraft have inspired generations of writers. Indeed, Lovecraft has become a genre unto himself, as have his mythos. Dreaming in Darkness represents the finest efforts of four great writers to inherit and increase Lovecraft's legacy by taking it in new directions. From New York crime scenes to the English countryside to the very outer regions of eldritch terror that spawned the Great Old Ones, Dreaming in Darkness is a tour de force of some of the best themes and tropes of the Lovecraftian genre with four novellas written in unique and uncompromising style...

Jonathan Green's "The Serpent's Egg" takes us into what we expect is familiar territory, with its treatment of the legend of the Lambton Worm. However, rather than revisit Stoker's Lair of the White Worm or the film of the same name, Green takes the reader for a spin through the tried and tested satanic cult genre. However, rather than dish up the same old bill-of-faire, Green injects enough originality into his story to make it well worth our while.

Our protagonist is a writer seeking to put a new twist on the legend of the Lambton Worm. While staying at the manor house of the Earl of Lambton, the would-be writer encounters an orgiastic cult seeming to approximate some horrid ritual from De Vermis Mysteriis (another title in Lovecraft's imaginary library of the occult) and his nights become plagued with bizarre visions.

The novella treats us to many of the thrills of occult fiction. There are dusty tomes in a stately library, nightly creeping about the English countryside, a romantic interest, and all manner of occult goings on. Green maintains an orderly narrative that lulls the reader into a state of complacency before dashing cold water in your face. In a horror novella, that effect is absolutely essential, and Green manages the changing rhythms of his plotline with marvellous aplomb.

Green also achieves a remarkable consistency throughout his work. From the drawing room to the grotto of the cult of Shudde M'ell (a nod here to Brian Lumley), we are treated to all manner and shade of suspense and excitement. Dennis Wheatley would have been proud...

It is clear that these writers have brilliant careers ahead of them, and I hope to read more of their dark and sinister offerings as time goes by.


You can read the whole review here, and purchase a copy of Dreaming In Darkness here.


Monday, 26 August 2013

SFX Book Club: The Haunting of Toby Jugg by Dennis Wheatley

The latest issue of SFX magazine (#239) is now out and includes a piece by Yours Truly, assessing the impact and importance of Dennis Wheatley's occult thriller, The Haunting of Toby Jugg.

So why not pick up a copy of the mag today and let me know what you think of my assessments and opinions?

Thought for the Day

"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible."

~ Arthur C Clarke

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Slaine: Book of Scars

If there's one comic book character I'd like to write in a gamebook (other than Batman) it would have to be 2000AD's Slaine. Slaine is back in the weekly at the moment with Book of Scars.

Here, Pat Mills' (Slaine's creator) talks about the enduring appeal of the Celtic Woad Warrior.


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Short Story Saturday: Merlin's Mother

I was watching Tales from the Royal Bedchamber recently on BBC4 when suddenly, part way through the documentary, the expert being quizzed about what royal beds were like in the Middle Ages whipped out the following picture.


Presenter Lucy Worsley was delighted and amazed asking of the nun, "Who's that?" The expert went on to explain that it was a scene showing the conception of Merlin the wizard. To read a different take on the same incident, check out my story Incubus in Dark Heart: A Collection of Short Horror Fiction.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Steampunk Thursday: The Ultimate Secret

The Ultimate Reich, the great enemy of Magna Britannia, the unwavering stronghold whose power extends from the depths of Africa to the outlands of Mexico, and even across the barrier of time itself. For more than half a century, the Führer’s empire has plagued the world, but thanks to the efforts of a brave handful, the Reich’s most terrible secret may be on the verge of exposure.

 Follow an Italian monk, a century-old Russian vampire, a couple of British analytical engineers, a pair of Welsh mercenary soldiers and one clever, resourceful Indian girl through a string of stories set across the world of Pax Britannia, showing corners of the globe never seen before and changing the balance of power forever...

Written by David Thomas Moore, this exclusive ebook novella will be available soon from Abaddon Books.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tie-in Tuesday: First Moshi Monsters Movie Announced

Mind Candy has announced the first ever Moshi Monsters movie, set for theatrical release in UK and Ireland on 20th December.

moshimovie300Universal Pictures International Entertainment will be the global distribution partner for the animation including Theatrical, Home Entertainment, Digital and TV distribution.
The animated feature Moshi Monsters The Movie is currently in production by Mind Candy in conjunction from Cornwall-based animation studio Spider Eye and will take viewers all over the Moshi world from Main St to the peak of Sillimanjaro.
Michael Acton Smith, CEO and creator of Moshi Monsters, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Universal Pictures International Entertainment on distribution of the first ever Moshi Monsters movie. This is our first foray into movies and Universal brings the expertise needed to ensure the best possible success. We can’t wait for Moshi to hit the big screen.”
Darran Garnham, chief business development officer for Mind Candy, added: “This strategic global relationship with Universal Pictures International Entertainment will open up the Moshi Monsters brand, characters and rich world to new fans and markets around the world. We are all incredibly excited.”
Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment, commented: “As distribution partners, we are very excited about working with Mind Candy to bring the global phenomenon that is Moshi Monsters to the big screen through Universal Pictures UK and deliver a multi-platform multi-screen experience to children everywhere.”

Hmm... I wonder if they'll be doing a novelisation of the movie, and, if so, I wonder who they got to write it... ;-)

Tie-in Tuesday: Police Telephone Box

Follow this link to Google Maps Street View and then click on the double arrow pointing at the Police Telephone Box.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Thought for the Day

"I don’t know who said it, but I will refute with my dying breath the notion that writers are paid to lie. It is my contention that we are paid to tell the truth... that we are paid to open our veins and bleed the truth if need be."

~ Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Sunday, 18 August 2013

How to write a book in three days

Three days? I thought NaNoWriMo was tough enough.

But that aside, fantasy and sci-fi author Michael Moorcock believes that you can a book 60,000 words long in three days. It takes some preparation but, according to Mr Moorcock, it is doable.

Would you be up for the challenge? Would I?

To find out what's required, follow this link. And if you do have a crack at it, let me know how you get on, will you?


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Short Story Saturday: Legends

Since the official announcement was made last weekend at the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013, I can now share the news that I am one of the writers who has contributed to Legends, an anthology of stories in honour of David Gemmell edited by Ian Whates.

My own story, Who Walks with Death, will appear alongside new original tales by the likes of Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay (with a story chronicling the origin of The Raven), Tanith Lee, Adrian Tchaikovsky (contributing a story in his Shadows of the Apt milieu), Juliet E McKenna, Stan Nicholls, Storm Constantine, Gaie Sebold and (hopefully) Tad Williams. I am quite excited about this.

The idea behind the anthology was that we create stories set in worlds of our own creation, but which keep the spirit of Gemmell's work in mind. It is being produced in conjunction with the David Gemmell Awards and will hopefully help raise some funds in support of the awards.

Legends: Stories In Honour Of David Gemmell will be launched at this year's Gemmell Award Ceremony, on the opening night of World FantasyCon in Brighton (Thursday October 31st). I'll be there. Maybe I'll see you there too.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Gamebook Friday: Thought for the Day

"Games are the most elevated form of investigation."
~ Albert Einstein


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Zombie Thursday

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Zombies are even better.

A one-off print for Yours Truly courtesy of a thoroughly decent bloke, Defoe artist Leigh Gallagher!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

David Gatward on Horror

"Horror changes us. Through events that can be anything from mildly troubling to truly, abnormally horrific, we as people change. By engaging with what horror fiction and film has to offer, we explore all the possibilities available. We put humanity to the test, push it to the limit and beyond. We see what happens when things don't go to plan, when bad things happen to good people, when evil wins. Not because we're sick and twisted, but because we are fascinated by human nature, and amazed by its endless courage and strength in the face of impossible odds."



Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Tie-in Tuesday: Avengers take on Dungeons & Dragons

So this is DeviantArtist The Durrrrian's high fantasy take on Earth's Mightiest Heroes. (The Durrrrian's version of the Big Bang Theory gang's pretty cool too.)







Deadlock crossed with Joe Pineapple from 2000AD's ABC Warriors, anyone?

And then there's their arch-nemesis Loki...


Monday, 12 August 2013

Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013

So, last weekend saw me attending the first ever Nine Worlds Geekfest in Heathrow, London. One of the organisers of this epic event was Jenni Hill, formerly one of my editors at Abaddon Books and now Commissioning Editor at Orbit Books, so it was strangely appropriate that the first familiar face I saw should happen to be hers. Jenni was running the books strand of the con, which was just round the corner (literally) from the Windsor Suite where the Steampunks were based and which was where I remained for most of the weekend.

It was great to catch up with old friends Kit Cox (a.k.a Major Jack Union), Jema Hewitt (Miss Emilly Ladybird), Claire Peacey of Empire Edibles, Ian Crichton (a.k.a. Herr Doktor), Jenny, Arkwright, Rob/Dave, Robert Rankin, Lady Raygun, Tinker, Lady Elsie, Jim Swallow, Gav Thorpe, Paco Jaen et al, as well as to make new ones. It was also a pleasant surprise to have Simon Singh and Kiruna Stamell drop by my stand during the course of the weekend.


It was a very packed weekend but some of the highlights for me were the panels (and not just the ones I was on with fellow Steampunk authors Toby Frost and Raven Dane) such as 'Steampunk 101' and 'Steampunk in the Media'. On the Sunday I even had a signing slot at the Forbidden Planet table with Stephanie Saulter, which was nice, and thanks to David Tallerman, Jobeda Ali, Graeme Flory, Jon Oliver and Ian Whates for all dropping by to show their support.


One of the best comments of the whole weekend came from Ben Smith, Publishing Manager at Abaddon/Solaris/Rebellion, who, upon arriving, thought there was a group cosplaying as air hostesses until he remembered the hotel was behind Heathrow airport. He was more than a little suspicious when a coach load of people cosplaying as OAPs turned up next.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hello, or who bought a book, or had a go on the tombola, and thanks to the organisers for putting together such a successful first con.

5 things I now know that I didn't know before attending Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013

1) Steampunk is sometimes referred to as Goths in Brown, or Downton Abbey with Meccano.
2) Steampunk in Germany is called Daft Punk.
3) You can buy an ebook on Amazon called Pax Britannia: The Secret War. This has nothing to do with me, Pax Britannia or Abaddon Books, and moves are being made to have it removed.
4) There is a net 10% drop in crime when Weekend at the Asylum occurs in the city of Lincoln.
5) Archimedes the Steampunk Parrot now has a rival.


You can see more photos from the event here, here and even here.

Thought for the Day

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”

~ C S Lewis
 
 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Nine Worlds Geekfest - Day 3

I shall be at the Nine Worlds Geekfest at the Renaissance Hotel in Heathrow, just outside London, again today. (You can find out more about the epic event here.)

I am attending as part of the Steampunk contingent, who will be based in the Windsor Room at the Renaissance Hotel. I shall be selling my books (and other wares, including beer-flavoured fudge this time!) as well as taking part in various other events over the course of the weekend.

Here's what I should be doing today, but as with all such events, timings are inevitably subject to change, so best to check the Nine Worlds website for the most up to the minute info and at the event itself, just to be sure.

Sunday 11 August
11.45am - 1.00pm - Meet the Authors - book readings and signing session featuring Yours Truly, Raven Dane and Toby Frost.
1.00pm - 2.00pm - Signing at the Forbidden Planet stand.

I shall look forward to seeing you there!



Saturday, 10 August 2013

Nine Worlds Geekfest - Day 2

I shall be at the Nine Worlds Geekfest at the Renaissance Hotel in Heathrow, just outside London, today. (You can find out more about the epic event here.)

I am attending as part of the Steampunk contingent, who will be based in the Windsor Room at the Renaissance Hotel. I shall be selling my books (and other wares, including beer-flavoured fudge this time!) as well as taking part in various other events over the course of the weekend.

Here's what I should be doing today, but as with all such events, timings are inevitably subject to change, so best to check the Nine Worlds website for the most up to the minute info and at the event itself, just to be sure.

Saturday 10 August
3.15pm - Steampunk & Fiction - a panel hosted by Yours Truly and featuring Robert Rankin, Raven Dane and Stephen Hunt. (Windsor Room)

I shall look forward to seeing you there!



Friday, 9 August 2013

Nine Worlds Geekfest - Day 1

At around 3.00pm today, the first ever Nine Worlds Geekfest gets under way at the Renaissance and Radisson Hotels in Heathrow, just outside London.

If you've not heard about this yet, (a) where have you been? and (b) you can find out more about the epic event here.

I am attending as part of the Steampunk contingent, who will be based in the Windsor Room at the Renaissance Hotel. I shall be selling my books (and other wares, including beer-flavoured fudge this time!) as well as taking part in various other events over the course of the weekend.

If you're there today, why not pop along and have a good at my fast-becoming legendary Steampunk Tombola?


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Steampunk Thursday: Come and meet the Steampunks

Tomorrow afternoon, at around 3.00pm, the first ever Nine Worlds Geekfest gets under way at the Renaissance and Radisson Hotels in Heathrow, just outside London.

If you've not heard about this yet, (a) where have you been? and (b) you can find out more about the epic event here.

I am attending as part of the Steampunk contingent, who will be based in the Windsor Room at the Renaissance Hotel. I shall be selling my books (and other wares, including beer-flavoured fudge this time!) as well as taking part in various other events over the course of the weekend.

Here are the current timings of specific Pax Britannia/Jonathan Green-related goodness, but as with all such events, timings are inevitably subject to change, so best to check the Nine Worlds website for the most up to the minute info and at the event itself, just to be sure.

Saturday 10 August
3.15pm - Steampunk & Fiction - a panel hosted by Yours Truly and featuring Robert Rankin, Raven Dane and Stephen Hunt. (Windsor Room)

Sunday 11 August
11.45am - 1.00pm - Meet the Authors - book readings and signing session featuring Yours Truly, Raven Dane and Toby Frost.
1.00pm - 2.00pm - Signing at the Forbidden Planet stand.

I shall look forward to seeing you there!



Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wasted Days

“What amazes me is that most days feel useless. I don't seem to accomplish anything-just a few pages, most of which don't seem very good. Yet, when I put all those wasted days together, I somehow end up with a book of which I'm very proud.”

~ Louis Sachar

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Big Question: What are you going to write about?

“So okay - there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You've blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ”
~ Stephen King

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Stories



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

~ Philip Pullman

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Courting Insanity

“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”
~ Franz Kafka


Friday, 2 August 2013

Nine Worlds Geekfest - one week to go!

A week today I shall be at the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013 in London. So why not drop by the Steampunk stand and say hello?

According to the current schedule I should be taking part in the following events at the following times.

Saturday 10 August
11.45am - Steampunk Authors: book readings and signings session.
3.15pm - Steampunk in Fiction

Sunday 11 August
11.45am - Steampunk Authors: book readings and signings session.
3.15pm - Steampunk in the Media

Maybe I'll see you there. To find out more about the event, follow this link.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Steampunk Thursday: Nine Worlds Geekfest

In case you missed my previous post on the subject, I shall be one of the guest authors/part of the Steampunk posse taking part in the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013 in London this summer. (There's a handy countdown clock at the top of the right hand sidebar.)

From the official press release:

As well as including the core elements of traditional science fiction conventions like literature and film, Nine Worlds seeks to broaden the scope of geekery to include many aspects of popular science and technology, while dispensing with the whole celeb photo and signing machine that turns many sci-fi events into all-day queueing marathons. As co-organiser Ludi Valentine explains, “Our guests are the writers, and creators, and scientists, the people who make awesome things happen, people with amazing stories to tell, and cool stuff to show you.”

To find out more about the event, follow this link.