Archive | July, 2011

Flames

Fool Moon (Dresden Files Book 2) Review

Posted on July 18, 2011 by

I am going to try to keep these as spoiler free as I can, but some things you just have to talk about.

Fool Moon is the second installment of the Dresden Files. As much as I love this series as a whole, this is my least favorite book. That doesn’t mean I do not still like and enjoy it, but you have like something the least, right?

One of the things I like about these novels is that he does a good job of having more than one theme in regards to the story. The theme of this book is a few things. One, werewolves have come to Chicago, and
two, Harry’s relationship with Karin Murphy. After Storm Front, you know they have a tenuous working relationship.

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Flames

San Diego Comic-Con Hosts World Premiere of “Stitched”

Posted on July 17, 2011 by

Avatar Press and Mischief Maker Studios proudly announce that legendary comic book writer Garth Ennis will be premiering his short film, Stitched, at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday evening, July 21, at 8:15pm in the convention’s Room 6DE. Featuring Ennis’s debut as a filmmaker, Stitched blends supernatural horror with a contemporary war story, creating a terrifying landscape which will be explored further in an ongoing monthly comic book series.

The fifteen-minute long film is written and directed by Garth Ennis, best known as the writer of such best-selling comic books as Preacher, The Punisher, The Boys, and Crossed. A Mischief Maker Studios production, Stitched was produced by Brian Pulido, Francisca Pulido, and Ed Polgardy. Adam Goldfine served as Director of Photography, while both Garth Ennis and William Christensen, the founder of Avatar Press, served as Executive Producers.

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Flames

The Secret of Crickley Hall

Posted on July 16, 2011 by

British author James Herbert has been an international sensation since the publication of his first novel, The Rats, in 1974. His books have sold over forty-two million copies, earning him a comparison to Stephen King in the United Kingdom. Last year, Herbert was presented with the title of Grand Master at the World Horror Convention for his outstanding achievements in the horror genre. Now, he prepares to take the United States by storm with the release of The Secret of Crickley Hall – a blood chilling novel that puts a unique spin on a classic horror theme: the haunted house.

Would you stay in a haunted house for more than one night?

Would you live in a place where ghostly things keep happening? Where a cellar door you know you locked the night before is always open the following morning? Where hushed whimpering is heard? Where white shadows steal through the darkness? Where the presence of evil is all around you?

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Monica Valentinelli

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs Review

Posted on July 15, 2011 by

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs is an anthology edited by Christopher Golden and illustrated by Mike Mignola. The collection isn’t like other anthologies, for this one steers toward the category of “collectible.” You want this anthology to sit on your self to show-off to your friends.

As a collector of all things Hellboy myself, I picked up this anthology for two reasons: one, it was Hellboy and two, I knew that Christopher Golden’s involvement would ensure that the stories would have a certain quality to them.

I wasn’t disappointed. Although I didn’t like each and every story in the collection, there’s a broad range of tales and storytelling styles from authors I’ve read and authors I haven’t. Each plot stands on its own, however, and offers something new for fans of this franchise. I really appreciated A Room of One’s Own by China Mieville and Jiving with Shadows and Dragons and Long, Black Trains by Joe R. Lansdale.

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Flames

Midnight Syndicate to release new Carnival Arcane CD August 2nd

Posted on July 14, 2011 by

Gothic horror soundtrack musicians MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE will be releasing their fourteenth studio album, entitled CARNIVAL ARCANE, on August 2nd. “The theme of the new disc surrounds the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival, a shadowy, turn-of-the-century traveling circus with more than a few skeletons in its closet,” said Edward Douglas. “The Victorian and Edwardian eras are a big source of inspiration for us. They also marked the beginning of the heyday for traveling carnivals, so that’s the time period we chose to set the disc in. We spent a lot of time researching early-20th century circuses and carnivals to ensure that the sounds and music work together to really immerse you in this world and the time period. There’s also a big tip of the top hat to Mr. Bradbury whose work inspired many of the more horrific elements that appear in the latter half of the disc.”

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Labyrinth Lord RPG Review

Posted on July 14, 2011 by

I was asked at Odyssey Con, several months back now, if I would write a review on Labyrinth Lord after I spoke of it while helping with a panel. It has taken me far too long to write this, as I do enjoy the game a great deal. It has simple and quick character generation. It has endless ways in which to perish with little-to-no escape. It has what many games have lost over time.. simplicity.

Far back in the ancient days of gaming, gamers hewed dice from stone, wood, or chit and the games were far more bare and stripped down. They did not rely upon ponderous tomes of rules that detailed out every contingency. The rules left much of this up to the individual game master to work out. When new product would arrive into the waiting hands of players and dungeon masters, they would pour through these new found nuggets of lore.

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alanajoli

Touch of Frost Fiction Review

Posted on July 13, 2011 by

Gwen Frost, a gypsy, doesn’t know where she fits in, and she doesn’t really want to. She came to Mythos Academy after the death of her mother — for which she blames herself — and doesn’t understand what she’s doing there. She’s no warrior, and her gift of psychometry, the ability to read emotions and history off of objects, mainly helps her find lost things. She doesn’t really believe in the Pantheon or the Reapers, and she’s got no interest in fighting those battles even if they are real.

But then Queen Bee Jasmine gets brutally murdered in the library, where Gwen works, and everything changes. Unwilling to let Jasmine’s death go unmourned — when not even Jasmine’s friends seem to feel grief at her murder — Gwen is determined to discover the identity of Jasmine’s killer. And in the meantime, she ends up finding out a lot about what it is that brought her to Mythos Academy in the first place.

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Witch Doctor #1 Comic Review

Posted on July 12, 2011 by

“Meet Vincent Morrow, a doctor looking for a vaccine… for the apocalypse! In this stand-alone first issue, a family needs Dr. Morrow’s help with their son’s illness: Demonic possession. But when Morrow attempts an experimental cure, he discovers the boy’s disease isn’t all spinning heads and pea soup – it’s like nothing you’ve seen before! Horror gets a brain transplant in WITCH DOCTOR, the book WARREN ELLIS calls Mental.”

I knew I needed to see this book just based on the cover art alone. Now let me tell you a few things I liked about this issues art, the colors popped off of every page. The “exorcism” scene at the beginning of the issue was just drop dead GORE-Geous and the demons were bad ass. My only downside was that I didn’t think the human cast stay as consistent as they could have. However it didn’t take anything away from this issue it was easy on the eyes.

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Monica Valentinelli

Inside the New Instant Antagonist, The Creepy Cottontail

Posted on July 11, 2011 by

Flames Rising is pleased to announce the latest release in the Instant Antagonists line. The Creepy Cottontail author, Monica Valentinelli (and Flames Rising project Manager) shares some notes on the design and writing process that went into this product.

Having conducted a lot of occult research for my writing — both game-and-story-related — there’s a particular concept that always stands out in my mind. Performing a ritual (both real and/or imagined) is work, but the end result of that “job” doesn’t always yield the same results every time. Take a basic love potion for example. Do you have any idea how many different types of love potions there are? In many cases, not only do you have to get the ritual down pat, but you also have to worry about backlash, timing and the integrity of the materials. Even then, there’s no guarantee that magic will function the same way twice because there’s one-too-many factors that you cannot control.

The “cost” of doing magic is something I feel is often overlooked because some view it as an obstacle that gets in the way of a story or a game. I look at it as a characterization of a protagonist or… in this case… Instant Antagonist.

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The God Machine Graphic Novel Review

Posted on July 8, 2011 by

“Stricken with grief from the death of his girlfriend, Sith, Guy Salvatore struggles to make sense of his world. He’s plagued with hallucinations of monsters that torment him with outrageous requests. Enter Satan: a strange, old man who implores Guy to call upon his latent power to break through his world’s plane to rescue Sith, who he claims is floating aimlessly in and out of dimensional planes known as the “Dream Worlds.” But is Satan to be trusted?”

The only thing I knew about this book before diving into it was how GORE-Geous is was going to be. I will admit though that what took it a notch above most is that Chandra took the time to create every element on every page.

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Flames

Dresden Files: Storm Front Review

Posted on July 7, 2011 by

As most people know, Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13) is coming out this month, and I love these books so much that I always re-read them all before the next one comes out. I have read Storm Front probably about 8 times or so now, but I always get excited when I start them over. Of course I am a bit of a Dresden fanboy at this point.

But to get to go back and see where Harry started (and for Jim Butcher as well) out is always fun for me.

Harry is a Wizard. The only one listed in the Chicago phone book. This may seem like it would be difficult, because it is. Most people cannot take him seriously, since they do not believe in the supernatural. It goes with the territory and he takes that with a grain of salt…most of the time.

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Monica Valentinelli

The Third Bear Fiction Review

Posted on July 6, 2011 by

The Third Bear is a collection of fourteen stories penned by Jeff Vandermeer. The tales ranging from folklore to absurdist; each story offers a different, sometimes surreal, take on a genre. In short, the collection was penned by a “master writer.”

It’s hard not to be a little envious of Vandermeer’s writing, for each story has the kind of quality most writers dream about. These stories belong in a school curriculum to be pored over, obsessed about, and analyzed. By far, my favorite was the signature story — The Third Bear. When I read it, I imagined I was sitting in a pub somewhere with a tall pint of ale, listening to an old, grizzled guy tell this folktale as a warning to curious travelers.

That style of writing is what I feel will draw even the most casual reader into this book. Often, you’ll find that there isn’t just one, but two stories written in each and every tale.

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Megan

Book of Drakes RPG Review

Posted on July 5, 2011 by

Nothing quite as sweet as a miniature dragon, perhaps of a suitable size to hold in your arms like a pet… but drakes are not pets, but sentient beings in their own right, fascinating creatures to have around in your game. (I had to add ‘in your game’ lest I start to conjure fantasies of one coming in my back door…).

The Introduction talks about, despite – because of? – their iconic nature, how difficult it can be to actually have a DRAGON wandering around in your game. They’re big, they’re tough, and they tend to amass game-unbalancing amounts of treasure. Moreover, they’re supposed to be the creatures of myth and legend, not someone you meet down the pub for an ale and a few hints about the next adventure.

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Flames

Bruce Campbell and Morena Baccarin to Appear at Wizard World Chicago

Posted on July 4, 2011 by

Wizard World ComicCon logo North America’s largest pop-culture tour continues as Wizard World Chicago Comic Con returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, August 11-14, with superstar guests Patrick Stewart, Bruce Campbell, Christopher Lloyd, Morena Baccarin, Felicia Day, Academy Award Winner® Lou Gossett Jr. and James Marsters headlining the list of celebrity attendees. The event will bring together thousands of fans of all ages and dozens of celebrities and industry professionals to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, comics, toys, video gaming, television, sci-fi, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more.

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Flames

Preview of Night Veil by Yasmine Galenorn

Posted on July 4, 2011 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with an excerpt from Night Veil, the second novel in the new Indigo Court series written by Yasmine Galenorn. This dark fantasy story debuts on Tuesday, July 5th. In this preview, you’ll read a brief introduction to the world and a part of the first chapter.

Night Veil: The Beginning


Myst led her people into the shadows and ice, and there they hid, sheltered in the depths of lore. The Vampiric Fae were pariah, kept a dirty secret, shamefully debasing the entire realm of Faerie. And so in furtive silence, the Host fed and drank deep and did rend the flesh of its victims and feast. But their thirst was unquenchable, and it was then that Myst discovered one of their newfound powers: Members of the Indigo Court could drink from the souls of the magic-born…

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Monica Valentinelli

Clanbook Perky?!? Vampire and a Dork Tower Sale

Posted on July 3, 2011 by

Heart of DorknessFor those of you who love Vampire: the Masquerade as much as I do, you’re probably aware that its hitting a twenty year anniversary milestone this year. My old favorites like Gangrels and Toreadors were already on my mind — then I started re-reading Dork Tower.

And I groaned. A lot. Then smiled… Then secretly wished I, too, was headed to The Grand Masquerade.

Before I get to my experience reading Clanbook Perky, here’s the information on the sale:

All Dork Storm Press comics are twenty-five percent off through Friday, July 15th.

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Flames

Triumph of The Walking Dead at ComicCon

Posted on July 2, 2011 by

Smart Pop Books Gives Away Anthology Featuring Walking Dead novelist Jay Bonansinga, NYT bestselling horror writer Jonathan Maberry, and more.

On Thursday, July 21, Smart Pop—the pop culture imprint of BenBella Books—will give away 50 advance print galleys, plus 100 advance electronic galleys, of their upcoming release Triumph of The Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman’s Zombie Epic on Page and Screen during a signing with the book’s editor, award-winning author and anthologist James Lowder (Prince of Lies, The Book of All Flesh), and contributors Scott Kenemore (Zombie, Ohio), Steven Schlozman (The Zombie Autopsies), and Ned Vizzini (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).

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Partners in Crime Fiction Review

Posted on July 1, 2011 by

Partners in Crime starts off on the waning days of World War 2. A conspiracy is set forth by the Japanese government to obtain a particular item and two men are sent to retrieve it. The unlikely pairing of two Americans, one an expert jewel thief and the other an insurance fraud investigator, begin their adventure into post war Germany. There, they barely escape with their lives and the item they were sent after. Unfortunately, by the time they return to America the war has ended with the blasting of Japan with atomic weapons. As the company was a front for Japanese interests it was closed. The pair were still paid what they owed with a bit extra, the result that the conspirators had hoped for was not realized.

The contested item is the Moon of Kali, the largest black star sapphire in the world. It has a long and sordid history, the sort of history best described as ‘cursed’. For thousands of years it has left a trail of dead owners in its wake and tantalizing tales of its power. In World War 2, the Moon of Kali was captured by the Germans, who had sought out such mystical items.

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