Archive | January, 2011

Billzilla

Matt Forbeck tells us about Amortals

Posted on January 31, 2011 by

Matt Forbeck has been a staple in the RPG industry for many years. With stints working for Games Workshop, Pinnacle Entertainment and Human Head Studios, and with design credits from Deadlands and Brave New World to Mutant Chronicles and the Leverage tabletop role-playing game, Matt has enough experience that the title “veteran” hardly seems adequate.

Matt and I sat down to hash out a few questions regarding his most recent novel, Amortals, from Angry Robot Books.

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alanajoli

Three Days to Dead Review

Posted on January 31, 2011 by

When Evy Stone wakes up in a morgue in a different body than the one she remembers, with no memory of the few previous days, she knows she’s in for a hell of a time. What she does remember is this: her teammates from her bounty hunting career were murdered, the were-people with whom she took asylum were slaughtered by her former bosses, and the only person she thought she could trust was her handler. She has to make contact, convince him that she’s still Evy (despite the new body), and avoid being entangled in the life of the girl who used to live in this frame. Not to mention, as she discovers more about the reasons she ended up in a new body, saving the world. All in a three day time frame. But hey, she’s been through worse. Probably.

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Flames

Black Angels by Michael Jasper

Posted on January 26, 2011 by

Flames Rising is pleased to present Black Angels, a story by Michael Jasper, which is part of the Gunning for the Buddha anthology. Gunning for the Buddha is available now at DriveThruHorror.com.

Author Michael Jasper has this to say about Black Angels:

“Black Angels” started with a picture and a memory, of a statue in an Iowa City graveyard. The rest came to me as I was daydreaming on my commute home from work one day. The statue from the story really does exist, in an Iowa City cemetery. Every freshman learns about it while attending the University of Iowa. The Black Angel is spooky. Especially at night…

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Lenore: Cooties Graphic Novel Review

Posted on January 26, 2011 by

“Lenore might only be small, but her talent for mischief — and occasional wanton destruction — is anything but. Witness the mayhem that ensues when Lenore and friends are attacked by a gaggle of vicious militant mice, and cower in the face of an assault by undead German soldiers from Hell! Never has the term ‘something for everyone’ seemed more sinister and bizarre.”

While I can honestly say that this style may not appeal to everyone, it sure does appeal to me. In my teens I recall watching cartoons like Invader Zim, Agh Real Monsters and even today catching an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog. So a book like this just comes off to me as looking great.

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Hellfrost Player’s Guide RPG Review

Posted on January 25, 2011 by

This is the first in a series of three reviews looking at the core books for Hellfrost, a setting by Triple Ace Games for the Savage Worlds system. In this review, I will examine the Player’s Guide, the first of these three books.

The book introduces the setting of Hellfrost and covers various interpretations of the Core Savage Worlds rules, offers new rules, and governs character creation in the world of Rassilon, as well as providing a very brief introduction to the world. The book is laid out in 11 chapters, with a good choice of art – just about every picture depicts something that is being mentioned on that page, from a woman buying a sword in the gear section, to a mage casting a Zephyr spell on the appropriate page of the magic section. The art is also of a decent standard, and in my opinion, better that that of the SW Explorer’s Edition book.

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alanajoli

Deader Still Book Review

Posted on January 24, 2011 by

Anton Strout brings us more madcap mayhem in book two of the Jane chronicles (otherwise known as the Simon Canderous series, but his girlfriend, the ex-evil cultist Jane, totally steals the show). Now a member of the Department of Extraordinary Affairs after leaving her cultist ways behind, Jane is working in the Black Stacks (the scariest library in urban fantasy) and discovering that she has a talent for technomancy. In fact, she’s so good with magic and machines, she rescues her boyfriend Simon from an attempt on his life in his Oubliette test over his cell phone. Her new gig working for the ambiguously moralled Thaddeus Wesker, Director of Greater and Lesser Arcana at the DEA is going swimmingly — except for the tension it creates between her and Simon, who doesn’t like her boss.

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Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom Review

Posted on January 21, 2011 by

The place of the pastiche in fiction is mixed at best: August Derleth’s Solar Pons is but a pale shadow of Sherlock Holmes, and the less said about Derleth’s “posthumous collaborations” with Lovecraft, the better. But in his collection of linked novelettes, Trail of Cthulhu, Derleth had the happy inspiration to combine the Cthulhu Mythos with Fu Manchu, and the result is a propulsive series of tales considerably above his usual mark. In Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom, Tim Byrd goes Derleth one better; he combines Lester Dent’s Doc Savage (as clearly as the laws of copyright will allow) and the Cthulhu Mythos – in the form of a young adult adventure mystery.

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Flames

An Agreement with Hell Preview

Posted on January 20, 2011 by

In the divine struggle between good and evil, humans are hardly noticeable to the mal’akhim, but when an ancient seal is broken on the grounds of a California college campus, beings from dimensions beyond the balance of holy and unholy erupt from the earth. A retired priest and an ailing magickian must trust the mysterious Walker Between the Worlds and his skin-eating demon familiar as they step through Heisenbergian passages of probability and battle forces that are so far beyond demon they cannot be fully seen in earthly dimensions. Amidst the earthquakes and interdimensional intruders, the students and staff of California Hills University step across the boundaries of their knowledge and faith, revealing their true natures as the night erupts in earth and blood.

Flames Rising is pleased to present this excerpt from An Agreement with Hell by Dru Pagliassotti. An Agreement with Hell is available now at DriveThruHorror.com.

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Fallen is Babylon RPG Review

Posted on January 20, 2011 by

Fallen is Babylon is part of White Wolf’s Storytelling Adventure System, a series of well-tailored games that can be picked up for one-shots or slipped (most of the time) into a campaign. This particular setting makes no specific claim to line. It instead provides a town with a curse of sorts. The appearance is that the supernatural isn’t welcome. Vampires cannot sire here, Will-Workers find their abilities bleeding away the longer they stay, and, well, you get the idea. Of course, a mystery like this needs to be investigated.

Enter the players.

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Flames

The Queen of Crows is Now Available for Your Kindle, Nook, iPad and More!

Posted on January 19, 2011 by

First published in March 2010 on The Queen of CrowsDriveThruHorror.com, we’ve expanded our digital offering to include a text-based version for your Amazon Kindle or your Nook from Barnes and Noble. Since this file format is primarily text-based, we went ahead and dropped the price to $2.99 on both the Kindle and the ePub edition. The ePub format, which is available at Barnes and Noble, is also compatible with several other devices including your Sony eReader and your iPhone. Both the Kindle and ePub format are also available through DriveThruHorror.com for your convenience.

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Flames

100 Stories for Queensland: Writers across the world rally for flood victims

Posted on January 14, 2011 by

Unprecedented flooding in the Australian state brings the worldwide writing and publishing community together in the charity anthology “100 Stories for Queensland.”

Queensland (Australia) is currently experiencing the worst flood event in its history with seventy-five percent of the state declared a disaster zone. Queensland is not a small state, measuring more than 1.72 million square kilometres (twenty-five percent of Australia’s land mass). It is four times the size of Japan, nearly six times the size of the UK and more than twice the size of Texas in the USA. This is not a small flood or localised event. Its effects are being felt by more than 70 communities (including the capital city of Brisbane) and tens of thousands of people, many of them in rural areas. Other areas of the state have been flooded since before Christmas, with a number of communities West of Brisbane evacuated for the second time in two weeks.

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Flames

Legends of Anglerre RPG Review

Posted on January 14, 2011 by

The Legends of Anglerre RPG (LoA) by Sarah Newton and Chris Birch takes the Starblazer Adventures iteration of the FATE 3.0 system and adapts it for the fantasy genre. This game strives to cover multiple subgenres in the fantasy milieu, with the focus on the Moorcockian swords and sorcery setting of Anglerre, and the high fantasy Hither Kingdoms. The source material for this game is drawn from a series of British comics that appeared in the Starblazer Adventures comic books. References are made to various characters and events from the comics and can at times leave the reader a bit in the dark.

The physical book itself is an impressive tome at just over 380 pages. The cover is full color and depicts three adventurers posing dramatically in a ruined building. The interior of the book is predominantly black and white with the sidebars offset in parchment colored boxed. The artwork is predominantly drawn from the LoA comics.

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Flames

Interview with Author Mark Allan Gunnells

Posted on January 13, 2011 by

They are safe in a night club, doors closed and barred. The undead can’t get them. They are safe, right? Who will protect them from themselves? There may be chaos outside, but inside the “asylum” isn’t all that much better.

Mark Allan Gunnells recent novella, Asylum (The Zombie Feed/Apex Publications), takes Romero-style zombies and situations and populates them with complex (and deeply compelling) characters who, as Gunnells says below, happen to be gay.

“My focus isn’t on the zombies themselves—though there is flesh-eating goodness to be had, don’t get me wrong—but instead on the characters trying to survive,” said Gunnells. “In many ways, Asylum is a character study of this group of survivors.”

The resulting novella is simultaneously rich in tradition and fresh with contemporary relevance. Most importantly, of course, Asylum is a damn good story well told.

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Flames

Apex Magazine Subscription Drive and Exclusive Peek for Subscribers

Posted on January 12, 2011 by

New Year. New Stories. Subscribe to Apex MagazineApex Book Company, a small press publisher specializing in the science fiction, horror and fantasy genres, announced today that it has made a significant change to their monthly edition of Apex Magazine. Subscribers and single-issue purchasers will now get an exclusive first look at the stories and poems before anyone else.

Prior to January 2011, Apex Magazine was offered to both subscribers and non-subscribers alike. As of January 1st, the magazine, which is edited by Cat Valente, will no longer be offered for free on the publisher’s website until the next issue debuts.

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Flames

Patient Zero Fiction Review

Posted on January 12, 2011 by

I’ve come to realize, somewhat unwittingly in more recent years, that Maberry scares me for reasons that go beyond the mere horrific. When I made my first serious foray into researching the occult, I didn’t realize until after the fact that my first fact finder’s guide just happened to have been written by the one who wrote this pithy little gem. But then, there’s always something about a writer whose writing not only gives you something you already know, but can serve to inspire other avenues of horror you were certain should have occurred to others by now – only didn’t.

Patient Zero is the first in a series of Joe Ledger novels (not to be confused with the Marvel character), revolving around a former Baltimore detective who is pulled into the shady world of the equally shady Church.

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alanajoli

Magdalena Origins Volume 1 Review

Posted on January 11, 2011 by

In a comics universe like the one in Top Cow’s Witchblade continuum, characters occasionally crop up who end up needing their own series. Those cross-series first appearances of the Magdalena, the church’s servant for wiping out evil using strength of arms and the ultimate guilt trip: the ability to make a person see all of the evil he’s ever done, are collected in Magdalena: Origins.

Near the beginning of the Darkness series, Jackie Estacado is dealing with plenty of issues (including, apparently, not being able to perform in bed), and he doesn’t really have time to deal with another hero-of-the-week trying to take him down. But, of course, that’s his lot in life now that he’s the incarnation of the Darkness. A Magdalena is dispatched by the church to challenge him and, ideally, destroy him.

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Flames

New Year, New Game Sale at DriveThruRPG!

Posted on January 10, 2011 by

Try a New Game in the New Year!

It’s 2011, and DriveThruRPG has 20 games on sale for only $11! The New Year is a great time to start a new campaign with friends, and DriveThruRPG is offering great deals in our “New Year, New Game” event.

New Year, New Game Sale at DriveThruRPG.com!

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    2010 – The Year of the (Un)Dead

    Posted on January 8, 2011 by

    2010 was the Year of the Zombie (again). In fact, the first 10 years of the new millennium can safely be called the Decade of Apocalyptic Fiction. Movies, books, comics — you name it. There was a surge in interest in the sub genre that has never been seen before. And the interest shows no signs of slowing down.

    Movies and television shows have managed to incorporate some form of zombie feature. Whether an alien virus taking over the world (in Smallville) or a demon unleashing a plague of the apocalypse (in Supernatural), writers and directors found something to draw in the zombie crowds.

    There have also been numerous articles trying to explain the appeal of the zombie culture. Deep sociological analysis, fun fluff pieces, and even courses on respected college campuses.

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    Flames

    Moonstone’s ROTTEN one of best comics of 2010!

    Posted on January 7, 2011 by

    Moonstone Entertainment, Inc. announces that the wildly eclectic, genre busting comic ‘ROTTEN’ from writers Mark Rahner and Robert Horton and Artist Dan Dough?erty continues to receive accolades and notice, this time from writers at the Comic Book Bin. Writers for the comic book centered site instituted their own awards this year. Calling them ‘The Binnies’, writers established several comic book oriented categories and then chose the winners for each category. ROTTEN was named as one of the six winners of Best New or Mini Series for 2010.

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    Flames

    An Inside Look at White Wolf’s Scenes of the Embrace

    Posted on January 6, 2011 by

    FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with an inside look at the design process for Scenes of the Embrace, a brand new toolkit released from White Wolf Publishing to be used with its Vampire: the Requiem role-playing game.

    This exclusive article is broken up into two parts. First, we give you an overview of the design process for this product, which was inspired by Will Hindmarch’s design from Scenes of Frenzy. After you read Eddy Webb and Monica Valentinelli’s exchange, stick around for an exclusive preview from this new e-book.

    Scenes of the Embrace is available now at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.

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