Thursday, 29 September 2011

FantasyCon Cometh...

First off an apology. I don't usually do these - I get tired of reading posts by writers apologising for not updating their blogs because they've been... er... writing - but today it's not without just cause.

I realise that I owe you a couple of posts - one about Games Day (which was awesome) and one about the House of Fear launch (which was equally awesome). And they will happen, but the thing is I've been rather immersed in my latest project (which is a good thing) and know that my time is limited because this weekend I'm off to Brighton for FantasyCon 2011.

I'll be there from Friday to Sunday, attending various panels that m'colleagues are on, attending The Big Solaris Book Event and the Dark Continents launch, and generally hanging out 'networking' in the bar. I may also stop by the dealers' room... see if there are any good deals to be made, and so forth.

Maybe I'll see some of you there. I you see me first do come over and say hello. Although, having checked out the list of 'professionals' attending the Con, I wonder if they'll actually be anybody else there at all...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Time's Arrow - Red-Handed

This is what's open on my laptop at the moment...

And I'm loving this too...

That's right, there's only two weeks to go until the first of three eBooks chronicling the latest of Ulysses Quicksilver's adventures hits Amazon's Kindle store.

To find out more, click here.

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow - 2 weeks to go!

That's right, two weeks today, the first part of my next Ulysses Quicksilver adventure Time's Arrow is released in eBook format.

Why is it coming out in digital form first? And why only the first third?

The answers to those questions lie here.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Pax Britannia on Rogue Blades Entertainment

For anyone who follows this blog, you might like to know that I've a guest post on Rogue Blades Entertainment's website today. It was written as part of the Home of Heroics series of blogs and you can read it for yourself here.

Happy Birthday, Mr Wells!

If Herbert George Wells was still alive he'd be 145 years young today. Born in Bromley, in Kent, in 1866, he was a prolific writer in many genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary. But he is now best known for his science fiction works, so much so that he is regularly referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction".

Of course it could be argued that he lives on today, through his work and the influence it has had. H G Wells' stories have certainly been an inspiration for my own work within the Pax Britannia universe - specifically The First Men in the Moon, in the case of Dark Side.

His seminal works must surely be The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, the latter having inspired composer Jeff Wayne, comic creators Ian Edginton and D'Israeli, master storyteller Alan Moore and - judging by the cover to his forthcoming The Great Game - Lavie Tidhar.

So I'd like to take a moment to raise a glass to "The Father of Science Fiction", wish him a Happy Birthday and say thank you. Science fiction and steampunk in particular wouldn't be what it is today without you.

And Steven Spielberg's take on H G's classic is on BBC 3 now. Coincidence? I'd like to think not.

Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow

The news has gone public at last. Today Abaddon Books announced its plans for Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow - the eighth Ulysses Quicksilver adventure - written by Yours Truly. And the buzz is already building.

Of course I've known about this for a while, but then it was my idea. And it seemed like such a good idea at the time...

But in all seriousness, I'm very excited about this project and can't wait to see how people react to the concept and what they make of Part 1 of Ulysses' French vacation. And as far as I'm aware, this is something of a first in the world of publishing, and one that makes the most of the e-reader revolution.

Just make sure you're along for the ride. It's going to be amazing!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

House of Fear - one week to go

So, if things go according to plan, about this time next week I should be amongst a line-up of authors (including the likes of Sarah Pinborough, Rebecca Levene, Stephen Volk, Adam L.G. Nevill, Christopher Fowler and Christopher Priest) waiting to sign copies of Jonathan Oliver's brand new anthology of horror stories...

The official Foyles launch will have just happened (kicking off at 6:30pm at the Charing Cross Road store) and I'll be looking forward to catching up with my writery friends at the Phoenix Club across the way afterwards. So if you're free next Tuesday (27th September) maybe I'll see you there too.

Tickets for the launch are free but have to be booked in advance via the Foyles website here.

Friday, 16 September 2011

24 hours in the Asylum

So, a week ago I headed up to Lincoln for Weekend at the Asylum, the UK and Europe's premier steampunk event. This was the third year it had been running and although it was my first visit, Pax Britannia had been there from the start, with guests at the inaugural event receiving either a copy of Unnatural History or Leviathan Rising as a gift.

I arrived at my hotel in good time and so headed off into Lincoln itself. The Asylum is located within the historic part of the town at the top of the hill. Close by are Bailgate, the Cathedral and the Castle. During the course of my walk I discovered that Steep Hill is aptly named and was delighted to see that the city was gearing up for a weekend of steam-themed goodness, with many shops bearing a sign that read...

I also encountered various ladies and gentlemen in elegant dress, looking like they had just stepped out of a Doctor Who Christmas special. By comparison, my 'Powered by Steam!' T-shirt looked like a very poor effort indeed.

Before I knew it, it was time to check in at the Asylum itself, ready to join the merriment surrounding the launch of Robert Rankin's latest novel The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age. It was here that I bumped into old steampunk friends Willoughby Chase and Herr Doktor*, and met a number of other first-timers, Esther, Vincent and James. My new friends had really entered into the spirit of the event, with Esther basing her look on the entirety of Alice in Wonderland, and it was several hours later that we parted company before we drank the bar at the Victoria Inn dry.

Fellow first-timers - James, Esther and Vincent.

Next morning I was up bright and early** ready to bring Pax Britannia to the masses when Weekend at the Asylum really got going in earnest. Major Tinker welcomed everybody in the Exhibition Hall and then proceeded to introduce all of us visiting authors to the indulgent throng. This was totally unexpected (at least on my part) but also totally brilliant because it really helped to break the ice. I was particularly pleased because Tinker referred to me as 'a Geek's Geek' which is probably the nicest thing anyone's said about me in a long while.

With introductions over, people started to visit my table - attracted no doubt by Pye Parr's fabulous banner - but before I knew it I was being author-wrangled upstairs to the Little Theatre to give a talk about my writing and the world of Pax Britannia, concluding with a reading from the forthcoming Time's Arrow and a Q&A session. The audience*** were most appreciative and included Wilf Lunn - yes, the Wilf Lunn from my TV childhood!

Wilf Lunn, the man himself - living TV legend and the original steampunk!

It was then back downstairs to flog my wares, with The Ulysses Quicksilver Omnibus selling particularly well. The rest of the day passed in a blur of fantastic costumes, appreciative fans, new converts, Penny Farthing races, chats other steampunk authors****, and River Song look-a-likes. My new friends stopped by to provide a bit of moral support and also looked after my stall for a while so that I might take a look at the art exhibition***** which featured pieces by Herr Doktor and Arfon Jones' stuffed Womble.

Mr Vincent Shaw-Morton and Miss R R Hood.

'Womblus Wimbledon Vulgaris', discovered by Professor Arfon Jones.

As the day's events drew to a close - which included a costume competition, won by a young lady in jodphurs wearing something akin to Spring-Heeled Jack's jet-pack - the steampunks departed to take part in a sanctioned Guinness World Record attempt****** and the hall was emptied in preparation for that evening's Empire Ball. I was released from the Asylum******* as, unfortunately, my twenty-four hours were up. It was time to head back down south, my mind a-whirl with fresh ideas and my heart lifted by a host of new friendships made.

This bottle of toffee vodka and absinthe lolly were both gifts - so my thanks go to Professor T Bottom and Miss Emilly Ladybird.

Oh, and having met Ulysses Quicksilver himself at the steampunk event at Kew Bridge Steam Museum, this time I think I met my Steampunk Muse!

I've enjoyed steampunk, in books and comics and on film, for the best part of twenty years or more, before I even realised what steampunk was. I've been writing steampunk for the last five, but I've never actually 'done' the whole steampunk scene.

But since returning from Lincoln I've noticed a change coming over me. I've started checking out Victorian frock coats online and have even bid on a pair of goggles on eBay. That's right - steampunk, like a Bengal tiger, has well and truly got my claws into me now. And I don't think it's going to be letting go any time soon...

PS - If you've not seen it already, my vlog about Weekend at the Asylum is available here for your viewing pleasure.

* 'Old' meaning I'd met them once before.

** One of these statements might not be entirely true.

*** Who made up for what they lacked in numbers with their attentiveness and the quality of their many questions.

**** Amongst those I met were Raven Dane, Sam Stone, David J Howe and Toby Frost of Space Captain Smith fame.

***** Which included Vincent's steampunk rendition of Miss R R Hood - which went on to win the Ruskin!

****** Greatest number of steampunks gathered in one place at the same time, I believe.

******* For good behaviour I believe, although I really rather wish I hadn't been.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Al Ewing on his un-love affair with Steampunk

A few days ago I posted a link to my guest post on Abaddon Books' blog that appeared as part of their Summer of Steampunk.

Well now you can read what Al Ewing thinks of Steampunk and why he's still perfectly happy dipping his toes in the alternative world of Pax Britannia's sea of potential possibilities.

And while we're on the subject of Al, here's the cover to his third El Sombra novel, entitled Pax Omega.

I'm sure you'll agree it's utterly fantastic. It's by top designer and art-bot Pye Parr and you can read about his struggle to nail the perfect cover image here.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Mr Hyde - I mean the Hulk - gets first reveal

If you've not read Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein yet I would suggest you look away now.

As River Song would say...




Still here? Okay, so either you've already read the book or you're not that fussed. You have been warned...

Right, so Marvel Studios have revealed the first full poster art for the Avengers movie and it features the third recent iteration of the Big Green Guy.

Now, as readers of the novel will already know, in Anno Frankenstein I re-invented the characters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. And when Jekyll becomes Hyde he has a habit of growing bigger whilst taking on a slightly verdigrised skin tone.

So when I saw the Avengers cover art I thought, "Hang on, that would make a rather cool Anno Frankenstein movie-style poster image."

And here it is...

The Greatest Steampunk Exhibition

I'm rather late getting round to posting these online, but here are the photos I took at the Steampunk Creators' Day at Kew Bridge Steam Museum, run as part of The Greatest Steampunk Exhibition, on the 25th June 2011.

The slideshow features the work of Major Thaddeus Tinker, Herr Doktor and others. Enjoy...

Rise of the Dinosaurs

As fans of the Pax Britannia series will no doubt already be aware, in that particular alternate steampunk universe dinosaurs are still alive and well at the end of the 20th Century. So if, like me, you're a fan of Sir Richard Owen - or Jurassic Park for that matter - then you'll probably enjoy two items of televisual entertainment that will be gracing our screens this evening.

The first is Planet Dinosaur (BBC2 8.30pm) and the second is Dinosaurs, Myths and Monsters (BBC 4 9.00pm). Click the links to find out more.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pax Britannia review round-up

Yes, it's that time again... I've been perusing the Aethernet and have come across the following reviews of my Pax Britannia titles.

For the Empire!

I'm a big fan of all things steampunk, so when I spotted this new series I had to give it a whirl. I'm glad I did; Jonathan Green has created an alternate universe that's great fun to explore.

Our hero, the dandy adventurer Ulysses Quicksilver, is both likable and engaging, and his indefatigable manservant Nimrod provides a pleasantly droll foil.

The real star is the world Green has created, though, and he throws literally everything at the story in his efforts to provide a ludicrously enjoyable reading experience. Amongst other things, we have robot policemen, escaped dinosaurs, rampaging monkeymen and ruthless terrorists.

It's a great start to what I hope will be a long running series, and anyone looking for a light, readable adventure story should check out Ulysses and his world.
(David Ford)

Good holiday read

Steampunk Victorian Britain in the late 1990s and all is not well. Despite advanced technology which has taken Britain to other worlds and the very bottom of the oceans and pretty much dominate all places in between, polluting them as they go, the country is just as socially stratified as it was a century earlier and there's been no Labour Party to introduce an NHS. However, we have our hero to protect the status quo as he fights against villains and monsters...

Still, this is all good fun even if I did want the upper crust hero to join the proletariat and start a socialist revolution. Heck, I'd settle for industrial reform and a national health service. Competently written with plenty going on and several young ladies aiming their low cut decolletage in the direction of our irresistible manly hero when the action briefly flags. Ideal for reading abroad when sitting in the shade of a beach umbrella with a chilled beer or an espresso (depending on taste) and pretending you're not watching attractive young women or men (depending on taste).

I'll stop this now before my fantasies carry me too far.
(Ian Williams)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Weekend at the Asylum 2011 - the Vlog

While you're waiting for me to update my blog regarding my experience of Weekend at the Asylum* I thought you might like to watch my latest Vlog...

* I know you're just counting the minutes until it's up there. I'm right aren't I? You're on tenterhooks and everything!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Released from the Asylum

So in the end I was let out again for good behaviour - or for giving a good talk, if you believe Wilf Lunn - and made it back down South.

I will post more about my experience of Weekend at the Asylum and my encounters with the steampunks there over the next few days. But, in the meantime, it has come to my attention that some of you who follow my blog may not be fully au fait with what a steampunk is.

Well here's as good an answer as any I can think of...

A young lady, appropriately attired for a day's derring do,
holding a copy of Pax Britannia: Blood Royal

Now that's what I call a steampunk!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

JG at Weekend at the Asylum today!

I'm in Lincoln today at Weekend at the Asylum. I'll be in the Exhibition Hall for most of the day, signing and selling my Pax Britannia books, but I'm also going to be appearing on stage in the Little Theatre at 11.00am, reading from my new novel Time's Arrow and answering everyone's questions about my writing and the world of Pax Britannia in general.

Maybe I'll see you there...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum - 1 day to go!

I'm currently busy preparing for Weekend at the Asylum*, loading boxes of books into the car, checking the camera's charged, selecting a reading from Time's Arrow Part 1 and trying out my brand new Pax Britannia banner.

Impressive, isn't it?

So if you're round Lincoln way on Saturday, why not stop by the Asylum Exhibition Hall and say "Hi!" - you'll find me under the sign of the French terrorist - and pick up your exclusive Pax Britannia Asylum badge?

Pink and blue for the ladies, teak and brass for the gentlemen

Maybe see you there!

* Or, more accurately, writing a blog post about preparing for Weekend at the Asylum.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

398 visitors this week!

So, I've just discovered that this blog has had 398 visitors in the last week. That's up on the usual amount of traffic to the site and I was just wondering why...

Is it because I've been posting more regularly again? Is it because I've been posting about Weekend at the Asylum? Is it because of the forthcoming eBook release of Pax Britannia: Time's Arrow?

If you've visited in the last week, or ever if you're just visiting today, how about letting me know what it was that brought you here.

Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum - 2 days to go!

It's now only two days until I'll be appearing at Weekend at the Asylum, promoting my Pax Britannia books, and the final timetable for the event has been published.

As previously advertised, I'll be kicking things off in the Little Theatre at 11.00am on Saturday morning with a reading from my new novel Time's Arrow and a talk about my writing and the world of Pax Britannia. There will also be plenty of time for a decent Q&A session.

So, if you're attending Weekend at the Asylum, don't forget to stop by the Little Theatre at 11.00am on Saturday, armed with all your questions about the longest-running steampunk series to date!

Maybe I'll see you there...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum continues

If you're attending Weekend at the Asylum (9-11 September) you'll be treated to a couple of glimpses of my new Ulysses Quicksilver novel Time's Arrow, including a reading by yours truly.

But want to know more about what Time's Arrow is about? Well here's another sneaky peak...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Countdown to Weekend at the Asylum has begun...

I'll be in Lincoln for Europe's premier steampunk event this Saturday 10 September and to help get you in the mood too I'm going to be posting daily updates of the sort of things you can expect from the world of Pax Britannia at Weekend at the Asylum this year.

First up is the first look at my next Pax Britannia novel Time's Arrow. Here's a taster of the cover artwork by the inestimable Simon Parr, available as a free postcard on the day.

Abaddon's Summer of Steampunk continues

It may be 6 September, with the remnants of Hurricane Irene lashing the country, but in the world of Pax Britannia it's still the Summer of Steampunk.

If you visit the Abaddon Books blog you can read my thoughts on the appeal of steampunk and the development of the Pax Britannia series. All you have to do is follow this link.

And if you've enjoyed what you've read so far, don't forget to 'Like' the official Steampunk World of Pax Britannia Facebook page.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Weekend at the Asylum - one week to go

A week today I'll be heading up to Lincoln, with a car full of books, ready for Weekend at the Asylum on Saturday 10 September.

Weekend at the Asylum is the largest steampunk festival in Europe, attracting more than 1,000 steampunks from across the World, and is taking place this year from 9-11 September 2011.

Special Guests will be Wilf Lunn, Robert Rankin and Fraser Hines, while I'll be there as a visiting author, along with Sam Stone, Toby Frost and Raven Dane.

I'll be in the Exhibition Hall on Saturday from 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. so why not pop along to get your Pax Britannia collection signed and pick up the latest titles from Abaddon Books while you're at it. I've even had some special badges made to commemorate the occasion!

I'll also be giving a reading and talking about my work for an hour from 11.00 a.m.*

So hopefully I'll see some of you there. It should be most convivial.

* This is a provisional timing only and you should check again on the day, just in case.