Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Books and where to store them

Two and a half years ago my family and I moved into a decent-sized four-bedroom terraced house, with loft conversion, and we couldn't get over how much space we had.

Two and a half years later, due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm having to clear out some of my much cherished library that has been added to, considerably, in that time.

Part of the problem is that having been writing for Games Workshop in one form or another for nearly 14 years, I've collected a fair few novels, background books and game rules, all of which have to be kept somewhere. Until recently they took up most of one bookcase but it's time for that to change.

So it was that I came to spend most of yesterday and today sorting out the books stored in my 'office'. What you see here is just one shelf of one bookcase that contained spare copies of my various publications. There was another, which also included foreign editions.

What you see below are two crates worth of Games Workshop materials that I've sorted out that - much as it pains me to do so - I have to get rid of. However, there's still 2-3 times as much as this again that I'm keeping!

Being a writer and, before that, a reader, I love books, the look of them and the smell of them as much as the actual reading of them. And you never know when something might prove useful, as has been evidenced by the year I've had with such a diverse range of projects on the go. But sometimes life and practical necessities get in the way, so ebay here I come.

That said, I have another idea for how to shift some of the processed trees that I've still got on my hands, for the time being, but for more on that you're going to have to watch this space...

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Titanicus Cometh

Games Day 2008 is less than a couple of months away now, and one of the new Black Library book releases that will be available on the day is the hefty tome Titanicus by Dan Abnett.

I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of this one myself, but don't you just love marketing guys and their advertising hype? Over at the Black Library site they are naturally bigging up the imminent new hardback but they're describing it as 'the first Black Library novel with Titans as a main feature'.

Now, excuse me if I'm speaking out of turn, but didn't Crusade for Armageddon have a Titan and its crew as a main feature back in - oh, when was it - 2003? And they've featured in a fair few other novels to a greater or lesser extent of course as well.

It reminds me of when Masters of Magic came out earlier this year, a book which supposedly focused on the Colleges of Magic for the first time when (in 2003 again) Magestorm related the tale of a Bright Wizard and his quest to save Wolfenburg from destruction by the forces of Chaos.

Ho hum - people have short memories when it comes to hyping up the Next Big Thing.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Fortean Times in spooky psychic premonition shocker

I was in central London on Friday to promote Match Wits with the Kids but managed to make time to visit my favourite store - Forbidden Planet.

Whilst there (as well as checking whether they had any of my books in - which they did) I picked up a copy of Fortean Times (a magazine I dip into from time to time). To my amazement, right there, slap bang on the cover, was mention of two things that I am combining in my next Pax Britannia adventure (that being the one after Human Nature, which I'm writing at the moment).

What are the chances of that? Obviously Ulysses Quicksilver and the Denver Space Cadets meet the Earliest Americans was meant to be!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Well, soon we'll all be able to. The trailer for the Watchmen movie is now available for viewing through Empire online. Need I say more?

Personally, I'm looking forward to the inevitable(?) Lego merchandise. ;-)

Here you can see the god-like Dr Manhattan doing his thing.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

When I got home, after today's Match Wits event in Westminster, my 3 year-old son asked me about my day. Having excitedly told him what I'd been up to he said to me, and I quote:

'Dad, when I grow up I don't want to be a worker, I want to be a writer like you.'


Match Wits challenges Westminster

Today we gave away free copies of Match Wits with the Kids outside the Department for Children, Schools and Families to highlight the fact that the government have declared that parents not only need to know what their children are learning at school but that they should understand it too! Easier said that done.

However, there is a solution to this problem - Match Wits with the Kids! The book is the ideal support for parents who might have forgotten what they once learnt at school and yet now find their own children covering exactly the same topics. It also updates everything to make it relevant to the current Key Stage 3 (11-14) National Curriculum.

Find out more about the event in Westminster today by following this link.

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Dawn of War II

The original Dawn of War (released in 2005) was a real-time strategy computer game set within Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe. And now, three years later, the sequel is about to be released.

Yesterday (17 July 2008) a cinematic trailer was released, depicting a squad of Space Marines battling against the enigmatic alien Eldar. You can watch it here, or (in better definition) at THQ's site, but do watch it.

How cool is that?!

Space Marines prepare for battle

A beleaguered Space Marine

A Space Marine Dreadnought

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What is Myrrh Anyway? Spread the Word

If you've ever dropped by my What is Myrrh Anyway? blog, and you've enjoyed the odd snippets of Christmas info I've dropped in now and again, then why not spread the word.

Yes, that's right, I want you to help me promote What is Myrrh Anyway? This could be achieved by something as simple as an email to friends and family, including a link to this blog, or, if you have your own blog/website, mentioning it there, with a link.

Let me know how you get on (by emailing and there may be a prize in it for you - a signed copy of book when it comes out!

What more could you ask for?

Good luck!

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Half Price Horror

I had an uneasy feeling as I sat down in front of the TV tonight. It's Saturday but, somehow, it didn't feel like Saturday. Something was wrong... Doctor Who wasn't on the telly!

If the departure of Tennant, Tate and co has left a hole in your earth-bound existence, then why not fill it with a Doctor Who adventure recorded on paper instead. And if you haven't already picked up a copy of The Horror of Howling Hill (my Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny title) then now's the perfect time as W H Smith have got a buy one get one half price offer running at the moment (at least they have in my local store).

If you're wondering what to choose as your second title, you could do a lot worse than pick up James Swallow's DW novel Peacemaker. It's a brilliant read!

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Work in progress

As any regular (or even intermittent) reader of this blog will know by now, I am currently writing the fourth novel in the Pax Britannia line, entitled Human Nature.

However, I am also plotting out the next novel after that. As you can see from the attached photograph I am going through my copious notes as I compose the novel synopsis.

I always find this a challenging yet exciting stage in the novel-writing process, challenging (and at times infuriating) as I struggle to fit all of my ideas into something that is in any way recognisable as a comprehensible plot, and exciting... for pretty much the same reason.

It's so satisfying when, as Hannibal Smith from the A-Team would say, 'a plan comes together' and I discover what's going to happen next myself. Then I get excited all over again at the prospect of extracting these ideas and situations that my imagination has created and revealing them piece by piece through the course of the novel.

The sharp-eyed amongst you may also get an inkling as to what the next book (due in 2009) is going to be about...

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The Massive Match Wits Giveaway!

How would you like to have a copy of Match Wits with the Kids, signed by the author... and for free?

Well, if you would, then make sure you're outside the Department for Children, Schools and Families (Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT) between 8.00am and 10.00am this Friday 18 July 2008.

Icon Books are going to be giving away 500 free copies of Match Wits with the Kids and I'll be there to sign them as well. All those involved in the giveaway will be wearing Match Wits t-shirts and will be happy to explain why this is the most important book of the summer.

Match Wits with the Kids - a little learning for all the family!

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Match Wits on the Sunday Schedule

This morning I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on the Sunday Schedule, on BBC London, by Lesley Joseph and Roland Rivron, live in the studio. As well as talking about my latest publication Match Wits with the Kids, I also got to test the two presenters' knowledge with a genuine quiz from the book and make an exclusive announcement, live on air.

Roland Rivron, Jonathan Green and Lesley Joseph

Lesley and Roland were both delightful and really made me feel at ease, and I think that came through in the interview. If you missed it, you can listen to it again here - the interview is about 1hr 45mins into the show.

And as to the exclusive announcement I made for the first time on the Sunday Schedule, I'll be posting more details about it here soon. So, watch this space.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

JG on BBC London 94.9

Tomorrow morning, Sunday 13 July (in case you're reading this any time other than Saturday night) I am going to be on the Sunday Schedule, with Lesley Joseph and Roland Rivron, on BBC London radio 94.9FM.

If you're able to, why not tune in at around 10.30am to hear about, not only Match Wits with the Kids, but also an event linked to the book that will be taking place in central London this coming Tuesday. You really don't want to miss this!

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Behind the Scenes: Spellbreaker - The Acolytes of Pain

When I was commissioned to write my first Fighting Fantasy adventure in the summer of 1992 I had been living on a diet of Brother Cadfael medieval murder mysteries for some years and this inevitably influenced Spellbreaker.

The overall adventure involves the hero in helping the monks of Rassin Abbey recover the Black Grimoire, a book of dark magic which holds the key to unleashing a hellish demon on the highly religious land of Ruddlestone.

My take on Ruddlestone came from a passing reference in Titan: The Fighting Fantasy World, which referred to a devout populace ruled over by a priest king. Hence, a lot of the things that feature in Spellbreaker involve quasi-medieval religious mumbo-jumbo of one type or another - the bits that don't feature witches, that is.

The adventure is populated with pilgrims, holy men, martyrs, fanatics, saints and hallowed sites. One of these is the town of Hallow's Well. As our hero tries to leave the town by the West Gate he runs into the Acolytes of Pain.

A bald man at the front of the group has a metal band around his head, which seems to be spiked on the inside, and another similar artefact around his neck. Another man stares skyward while beating himself with a cat-o'-nine-tails. One woman, almost in a trance with the chanting, grips hot coals in her hands. These are the Acolytes of Pain, religious fanatics who believe that to get closer to their gods they must endure great physical suffering.

If our hero is captured by the acolytes, as a punishment for profaning the sacred way to enlightenment, he is then put to either the Test of the Wheel or the Test of Scorpions.

Apart from a general fascination for all things medieval and their religious beliefs in particular I remember, quite clearly, that this encounter was also inspired by a scene from Terry Gilliam's first solo feature film Jabberwocky.

Very loosely based on the nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll, the Internet Movie Database describes the movie as follows:

After the death of his father the young cooper 'Dennis Cooper' goes to town where he has to pass several adventures. The town and the whole kingdom is threatened by a terrible monster called 'Jabberwocky'. Will Dennis make his fortune? Is anyone brave enough to defeat the monster? A medieval tale with Pythonesque humour.

During his adventures Dennis (played by Michael Palin) runs into a bunch of religious fanatics who at first intend to set him on fire. However, the more they discuss his horrific death-to-come, the more excited one of the masochistic fanatics (played by Kenneth Colley) becomes, until he sets himself alight and launches himself from the city walls using a giant catapult. It was he that I had in mind when I wrote the description of the acolyte withe the metal band around his head.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

250,000 words and counting

I realised the other day that since giving up full-time work to make more of my writing a year ago, I have written over a quarter of a million published (or to be published) words!

Back in November I was celebrating the fact that I had had over one million words published in fifteen years as a freelance writer. And now, in the space of only one year I've written another 250,000+. So, by my estimations, I should hit the two million mark in 2011!

Goodness knows how much I've written if I include my various blogs as well!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

JG listed on UK Children's Books

As of today, I am listed on the UK Children's Books website, which acts as a portal to individual authors' and illustrators' websites. The site also has useful information for any wannabe authors concerning how to go about marketing yourself most effectively and getting your unpublished manuscript read in the first place.

My listing currently takes you through to from where you can ultimately access all of my various blogs.

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Abaddon Update

Over at Abaddon Books blog, editor Jonathan Oliver has posted an update regarding the delights that are soon to be forthcoming from Abaddon Books over the next few months. Al Ewing's I, Zombie gets a mention, as does Rebecca Levene's Anno Mortis. And then there's something called Human Nature, whatever that is. ;-)

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JG on Bebo

I am told that if you want to be 'down wid da kidz' – and let’s face it, some of my readership are teenagers (or as publishers like to call them YA, a.k.a. Young Adults) - then I need to be on Bebo.

So now I am.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Curse of Mousebeard

Those of you who check out the links to other blogs towards the bottom of the sidebar - yes, the one over there on the right - will doubtless have already come across The Mousehunter Blog. It is maintained by Alex Milway, author and illustrator of The Mousehunter and now The Curse of Mousebeard.

Alex will be signing copies of his new book at The Bookseller Crow in Crystal Palace, London, this coming Saturday, 12 July, from 11.00am. If you're in the area, why not pop in, pick up a copy of The Curse of Mousebeard and get Alex to sign it for you. One day, it could be worth thousands!

Good luck, Alex!

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Monday, July 7, 2008

Match Wits on

I was interviewed by Maurice Boland today on Radio Europe Mediterraneo talking about Match Wits with the Kids. Maurice was very complimentary about the book and didn't ask me too many tricky questions.

Hopefully there will be something up on's website in due course about Match Wits and there may be the possibility to listen to the interview in the future as well.

But for now you'll just have to settle for reading the book itself. Enjoy!

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My Three Month Plan

Over at his blog Vicious Imagery, David Bishop has posted his plans, writing-wise, for the rest of 2008 and into 2009, inspired by one Miss Read, and her aspirations for the next three months.

Well, it's got me thinking too. What's my three month plan. This isn't so much what I hope to do as what I already have in terms of committments or projects that could take off at any moment.

So, between now and the end of September I need to:
~ Finish Human Nature, the novel I'm writing at the moment for Abaddon Books.
~ Plot the next two Ulysses Quicksilver adventures.
~ Plot and write another Ulysses Quicksilver short story.
~ Go through What is Myrrh Anyway? with my editor.

And between now and the end of September I may be:
~ Writing another book in its entirety (but I can't say anything more than that at the moment).
~ Pitching for another book (or books) with another publisher.
~ Starting on another project, if the sales of another of my books goes well.

And that's not including the regular round of jotting down ideas, developing other projects and sending out enquiry letters in the hope of further work in the future.

That suddenly sounds like quite a lot to achieve (oh, and I'm going any on holiday in that time too), so I'd better get back to work!

Until next time...

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Behind the Scenes: Howl of the Werewolf - The Abbey of the Black Monks


If you are yet to read Howl of the Werewolf (or yet to complete it) you might not want to read this post just yet. I'm not going to give anything major away, just a few small surprises.


Wandering through the wild land of Lupravia, the hero of Howl of the Werewolf comes upon the Abbey of the Black Monks, high up in the craggy uplands to the east of the country. They may choose to stay there for the night, simply seeking shelter or possibly hoping to find a cure for the curse that is afflicting them. However, if they do they soon discover the terrible truth about the Black Monks themselves.

The Black Monks have been corrupted by their even more grossly corrupted Abbot and are now half-human, half-insect monstrosities, intent on devouring our hero. There are things that resemble bipedal cockroaches, preying mantises and all manner of nasties lurking in the dungeons beneath the Abbey.

The inspirations behind the Abbey and its mutated brethren are pretty obvious, when you think about it. Apart from tying into the whole idea of various individuals having been corrupted and changed in different ways in the past, the mutation of the monks drew on such sources as films The Fly and Mimic.

The Abbey itself was based on the Italian monastery that forms the backdrop to the medieval murder mystery that is The Name of the Rose, with its hidden labyrinthine passageways. It is interesting to note that the exterior of the monastery seen in the film was constructed on a hilltop outside Rome, and was the biggest exterior set built in Europe since Cleopatra, whilst the interiors were shot at Eberbach Abbey in Germany.

This was one of those sections of the book that grew in the telling and, in part, forced the finished adventure to 515 paragraphs rather than the standard 400. By having the hero able to properly explore the dungeons the Abbey became more than just another passing encounter. In fact I had to cut some scenes from this part of the book because otherwise it was just going to be too long. So, it was farewell to the inquisitor's torture chamber, the branding iron-wielding poltergeist and the interrogation by the ghost of the vengeful inquisitor himself.

I really enjoyed writing this part of the book, which was also inspired by an entirely different idea I had for another gamebook long ago, and yet which might have pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable for a children's book.

Now that reminds me of another story, but that will have to wait until another post.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Behind the Scenes: Howl of the Werewolf - The Hellhound Shuck

Some blog readers have been asking for more behind the scenes information on how I came to create certain characters and scenes for the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks I've written over the years. I've already posted about how I came up with the winter elemental Shiversprite, and today it's the turn of the Shuck.

The Shuck is a demonic hound that haunts the moors of Lupravia. The hero of Howl of the Werewolf encounters the beast whilst searching for the shrine of Saint Crucius and has to battle the demon dog before reaching the safety of the isolated chapel.

The origins of the Shuck should be pretty obvious to anyone from East Anglia or a fan of The Darkness. Black Shuck (or Old Shuck) is the name given to a ghostly black dog which is said to roam the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex coast, and is similar to the Barghest of Yorkshire folklore.

The name Shuck either derives from the Anglo-Saxon for 'demon' (scucca) or from the local dialect word 'shucky' meaning 'shaggy' or 'hairy'. As well as inspiring the encounter in Howl of the Werewolf, the legend of Black Shuck may also have been the inspiration behind the famous Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Black Shuck is the title of a track from The Darkness's 2003 album Permission to Land, which recounts the legend in its lyrics. The description of the dog of doom mentioned in the song directly influenced the description of the beast in my book.

In a town in the east
The parishioners were visited upon
By a curious beast
And his eyes numbered but one and shone like the sun
And a glance beckoned the immediate loss
Of a cherished one
It was the coming of the
Black Shuck

The idea of demonic hounds haunting desolate moorlands is making a reappearance in my next novel Human Nature, to be published by Abaddon Books this December.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Knightmare nostalgia

If you were a child at the end of the 80s or start of the 90s, then you probably remember Knightmare. It was, for its time, an innovative virtual reality adventure set within a magical dungeon world, and it was on children's television.

Being a loyal devotee of the cult of Fighting Fantasy it seemed obvious to me that the programme was born off the back of the success of the gamebook phenomenon (oh, and RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons - you might have heard of it).

It was a much tamer experience than your average FF adventure, of course, there were no orcs to gut or horrifically described death scenes, but there was still the wandering around a labyrinth of gothically-decorated rooms, weird quasi-medieval characters to chew the fat with, and even some monsters (like the green-screened pet tarantula).

For those of you who remember Knightmare and the dungeon Treguard (the fantastic Hugo Myatt), then the following will probably fill you with feelings of nostalgia. If you were born after the advent of real VR interactive gameplay and the phenomenal rise of the games consoles, then you don't know what you've missed.

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Match Wits with the Kids up for grabs

Totz2Teens have three copies of Match Wits with the Kids to give away. The closing date for the competition is 29 July, so get yourself over to their website and answer their deceptively simple question.

I say deceptively because the competition entry question is (and I quote), 'Jonathan Green has written another book - Please name it?'

Now those of you who've been paying attention will have worked out by now that I have written more than two books (I'm actually half-way through my twentieth at the moment) but don't confuse the judges. The answer to their question is really very straightforward.

And if you win, having read the book, you can tell them how their question should have been punctuated.

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Match Wits on Radio Europe Mediterraneo

If you missed my last radio interview, then you have another chance to hear me talk about Match Wits With the Kids this Monday (7 July) at approximately 12.25pm on Radio Europe Mediterraneo, Spain's premier News/Talk radio station in English.

If you are able to pick up and are free to listen at lunchtime, then tune in next week and learn a little more about the book that everyone's* talking about.

* Everyone in the Green household, that is.

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4,000 and rising

Yesterday the Unnatural History blog reached (and passed) something of a milestone.

Yesterday the 4,000th visit to the site was recorded.

Thank you to all those who log on so loyally to keep up with what's new in my world.

Here's to the next 4,000!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Visit my store

I have recently created my own online store, with the aid of Amazon Associates, so if you would like to purchase any of the books written by myself simply follow the link at the top of the sidebar, or click here.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Human Nature - the horror revealed!

Today I am pleased to unveil the cover for my next Pax Britannia adventure Human Nature, which is out this December from Abaddon Books.

Cover artist Mark Harrison has done a sterling job once again and, as a result, the cover conveys the Cthulhu-esque horror at the heart of the story whilst not giving too much away. I know that they say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but you can in this case you can; it's horror, horror, horror all the way.

Oh, and there's a great big gribbly beastie's in there too.

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