Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Five reasons why YOU should back the Steve Jackson's Trolltooth Wars Kickstarter

As of the moment this post goes live, there are just 48 hours left to run on the Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars Kickstarter. As of writing this blog post, the project still needs almost £2,400 to reach its funding goal, so now, more than ever, writer PJ Montgomery and artist Gavin Mitchell need your help.

"But why should I help?" I hear you cry. Well here are five reasons...

1) It's Fighting Fantasy - And Fighting Fantasy has found a natural home on Kickstarter, which enables creators to contact the fans who would buy FF products directly, without the hassle of middlemen and all the hoops that would have to be jumped through to get something published. And the more Fighting Fantasy projects that are backed and are successful, the more other creators will follow in their footsteps, and the more FF material there will be in the future. Ian Livingstone himself has said that there may be plans to launch a Kickstarter based on Damien Sparkes' FF sculpts, but only if the demand is there and what better way of demonstrating that than by backing another Fighting Fantasy project?

2) It's a British graphic novel - In a world dominated by American comics we have the chance to back a brand new British graphic novel that doesn't rely on tired concepts and predictable heroes. Comic fans will love The Trolltooth Wars, whether they're into FF and RPGs or not, particularly considering the popularity of fantasy at the moment, in the wake of TV's Games of Thrones and the Hobbit movies. At the same time the book will introduce a whole new generation of fans to a forgotten classic of fantasy literature, written by one of the godfathers of the games industry who, along with Ian Livingstone got reluctant readers (especially boys) reading, long before young upstarts like Harry Potter were even a twinkle in their creators' eyes. The graphic novel adaptation is also being undertaken by two highly experienced and celebrated comics creators - PJ Montgomery and Gavin Mitchell. Just check out some of their work for the book here...

3) Malcolm Barter will be providing brand new art for the book - Announced on Monday, legendary FF artist Malcolm Barter, the man behind the iconic illustrations for The Forest of Doom - the man who brought us the Fire Demon and FF Werewolf for the first time - will be producing brand new pin-up art for the book. Now, for fans of FF and fantasy art, that fact alone has got to warrant pledging at the Rhino-Man level or above.

4) It's Kickstarter - Without your help the book will not happen! You have the power to make this graphic novel a reality. You could be the person whose pledge takes The Trolltooth Wars past its funding target. Yes, YOU! And all for the price of what? A curry? The taxi home afterwards? It's certainly a lot less than the price of a night out. And if cash is a little tight, why not ask someone else to pledge for you and consider it as an early birthday present? Or pledge yourself and think of it as an early Christmas present! Remember - if the project is shy of just £1 its creators will receive nothing, and none of us will get to read The Trolltooth Wars graphic novel!

5) You can get hold of a copy of YOU ARE THE HERO - That's right, if you don't already have a copy of the critically-acclaimed History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, certain pledge levels come with a signed copy. If you're not sure why owning a copy of YOU ARE THE HERO should be such an incentive, just check out the reviews over on Amazon.

So there you have it. If you have already pledged, consider raising your pledge level, or ordering a second copy of the book.

If you haven't pledged yet, and you've been meaning to all along, don't dilly-dally any longer. If the project funds and you're not a part of it, you'll be gutted in the long run, Trust me.

And whether you've pledged or not, maybe you know someone who would appreciate this project, so tell all your friends by whatever means at your disposal. The more people talk about Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars the greater the chance of it picking up new backers.

So, what are you waiting for? Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars needs heroes to help make it happen - heroes like YOU!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Sharkpunk Saturday - Gary McMahon

Gary McMahon is the award-winning author of several novels and numerous short stories, who was described by The Guardian as one of the authors, "leading the resurgence of British horror fiction." So, as you can imagine, we were delighted when Gary said he would contribute a story to SHARKPUNK.

Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Gary McMahon: I think it might have something to do with the beauty of the beast, and how much danger is wrapped up in that sleek, unforgiving package. There’s also the mystery of the deep to factor in: we’re all fascinated by the ocean, and what those deep seas might be hiding – things we haven’t yet discovered.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Silent Waters, Running Deep
GM: Well, I knew I couldn’t write a pulp horror story about a shark – that isn’t my style. So I imagined a kind of conceptual shark, one that might or might not exist in the real world but certainly existed inside a character’s head. The rest of the story followed on from there.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
GM: Nothing out of the ordinary, really, just the usual challenge of writing a decent tale. I needed to make sure that it didn’t lapse into melodrama, so I spent a lot of time on the tone of the piece, making sure I got that right.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
GM: It’s got to be the Great White – I’m sure that’s everyone’s favourite. I do also have a soft spot for the Hammerhead, though, because of how it looks. It’s a scary looking thing: monstrous.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
GM: Hookjaw, from the old Action comic. I loved that comic strip. It was gory, frightening, beautifully drawn, and really stuck in my mind. I remember a childhood friend had a Hookjaw poster on his wall. I was always jealous of that.

SP: Apart from your story in Sharkpunk, what's coming next from Gary McMahon? 
GM: I’ve been working on my next novel for over three years now, so I hope to get that finished and sent to potential agents before the end of the year. I have a short story coming in Black Static, and a couple of other commissioned stories that I’m working on now. There’s also a novella called The Grieving Stones due to be published by Spectral Press later this year to mark the fifth anniversary of the press.

Thanks, Gary!

Gary McMahon is the award-winning author of nine novels and several short story collections. His latest novel releases are THE END and THE BONES OF YOU. His acclaimed short fiction has been reprinted in various “Year’s Best” volumes. 

Gary lives with his family in West Yorkshire, where he trains in Shotokan karate and cycles up and down the Yorkshire hills. Website: www.garymcmahon.com

Friday, 27 March 2015

Gamebook Friday: The Trolltooth Wars, YOU ARE THE HERO, and Radio Saltire

First off, Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars on Kickstarter... This has already raised over £10,000 but there's still a fair bit more to raise and only 5 days to raise it in. Remember - Kickstarter takes no money from you unless the project achieves its funding level, and then the payment only goes through when the Kickstarter has run its course. So, if you've been thinking about it, or saying you'll back it tomorrow, back it today and let's make another Fighting Fantasy project a reality, thanks to crowdfunding!

Secondly, I was interviewed by Kevin Hall recently about YOU ARE THE HERO*. You can read the interview here. And on the same subject, thirdly, I am going to be on Kevin's radio show on Radio Saltire on Sunday (29th March) at around 3.15pm. So, if you're able, why not tune in?

* Which is now also available from Google Books!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

SHARKPUNK - The Forbidden Planet Launch!

I am very pleased to be able to announce that SHARKPUNK - the anthology of killer shark stories that I've put together - will be launching at Forbidden Planet, London, on Saturday 9th May at 1.00pm GMT.

I shall be there along with publisher Emma Barnes and twelve of the contributing authors - and you're all invited! So please share the Facebook event page, tell all your friends, and if you're in London on 9th May stop by the Shaftesbury Avenue store and say "Hi!" and (even better) buy the book! :-)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Jonathan Oliver

Jonathan Oliver is an award-winning editor and the man in charge of not one, but three publishing imprints - Solaris, Abaddon Books, and Ravenstone. However, for SHARKPUNK he has brought his skills as an author to bear.

Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Jonathan Oliver: They feel very alien, despite the fact that they are earth-based creatures and I suppose, in many ways, they represents the mysteries of the sea, the draw of the depths.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Peter and the Invisible Shark
JO: Short answer is: I have no idea. I just started writing and made it up as I went along. I knew that I didn’t want to have the story set in the sea, bizarre as that may sound, and I struck on the idea of it being a story about haunting early on. But mostly, I just made it up as I went along.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
JO: I suppose the main challenge was making the symbolic, real. To make the threat feel genuine and disturbing, when so much is about an individual who is disturbed. I think there’s enough ambiguity in the story that it allows for different readings.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
JO: Jaws. Though I realise that’s terribly boring. The original and the best.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
JO: See above.

SP: Apart from your story in Sharkpunk, what's coming next from Jon Oliver? 
JO: I have a short story appearing in a Jurassic London publication at some point in the future, and I’ll be collaborating on a novel later in the year.

Thanks, Jon!

Jonathan Oliver is the award winning editor of The End of the Line, House of Fear, Magic, End of the Road and Dangerous Games. He is also the editor in chief of Solaris, Abaddon Books and Ravenstone, and the author of two fantasy novels. He lives in Abingdon with his wife, two daughters and their cat, Fudge.

You can find him online at www.jonoliverwriter.blogspot.co.uk 
and on Twitter as @JonOlivereditor.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Josh Reynolds

Josh Reynolds will be a familiar name to Black Library readers and fans of the Charles St. Cyprian Occult Detective stories. After all, as Josh puts it himself, he's a freelance writer, and good at it. Fortunately for SHARKPUNK, Josh has penned a brand new Occult Detective story for the anthology, entitled Deep Red Bells. Here are his thoughts on all things SHARKPUNK...

Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Josh Reynolds: Can I say pants-wetting terror? No, but seriously, I'd guess its for the same reason that people are fascinated by wolves, bears, and any other animal big enough to eat us. There's a thin line between fear and fascination.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story, Deep Red Bells
JR: Mostly, I just really, really wanted to write about a ghost-shark... I'm a simple man, really.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
JR: The same as always, really. I know the beginning, I know the ending, but that bit in the middle? That bit's the annoying part of the whole deal.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
JR: I like hammerheads. They're just so freaky looking. Like, you know, one of those things... its a tool?... you use it to hammer things?...a wrench, that's it! They look like wrenches. Freaky.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
JR: Hookjaw. Hookjaw is the best.

SP: What's coming next from Josh Reynolds? 
JR: The third Royal Occultist novel, The Infernal Express, will be out later this year. It finds St. Cyprian and Gallowglass (the protagonists from Deep Red Bells) aboard the Orient Express, fighting to keep the skull of the world's most infamous sanguinary aristocrat out of the hands of vampires, secret agents and a Satanic cult. If readers want to catch up on all of the occult action before then, they should feel free to check out the first two books in the series, The Whitechapel Demon and The Jade Suit of Death, both available on Amazon.com or from the online retailer of your choice!

Josh Reynolds is a freelance writer of moderate skill and exceptional confidence. He has written a bit, and some of it was even published. His work has appeared in anthologies such as Miskatonic River Press’ Horror for the Holidays, and in periodicals such as Innsmouth Magazine and Lovecraft eZine. In addition to his own work, a full list of which can be found at http://joshuamreynolds.wordpress.com/, Josh has written for several tie-in franchises, including Gold Eagle’s Executioner line as well as Black Library’s Warhammer Fantasy line. 

And if, after finishing Deep Red Bells, you’re interested in reading more about Charles St. Cyprian and the Royal Occultist, make sure to check out http://royaloccultist.wordpress.com/.