Archive | August, 2011

Monica Valentinelli

Calling all Geeks! Operation Speak Out with your Geek Out

Posted on August 31, 2011 by

The other day, an article went viral around the internet. The writer decided to write about her dating experience in a very negative way to illustrate her point that people stereotype. The guy in question? A world champion Magic: the Gathering player. Unfortunately, the article was extremely mean and, as I later found out, the […]

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Deadworld: Last Siesta Graphic Novel Review

Posted on August 31, 2011 by

“King Zombie heads across the border and finds himself plunged into a bitter dispute between a former drug cartel and the assassin Raga.”

I bow down to you Mark Bloodworth. I have seen artists do styles like this, I have seen artists make it work within their own books, but I have never seen this style work so well. Mark was not afraid to show you anything in this book. From his character designs, to the way he laid out a page, there was nothing I could have wanted more from this book visually. The consistency was perfect, but the over the top work came from the way panels transitioned into each other and, of course, the depiction of the undead. Mark your work on Deadworld, whether old or new, is beyond what I need and I can not ask for more. You have achieved visual perfection on this book.

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Flames

David and the Den of Thieves

Posted on August 30, 2011 by

The Flames Rising Design Essay series continues with a little something from David Chandler (Wellington) telling us about his new dark fantasy novel Den of Thieves. Most Flames Rising readers will know David from his excellent zombie and vampire novels, several of which we’ve reviewed here at the site. In this essay David also shares a little insight into his publishing history and what genres authors are told about they can and can’t write.

How I Ended up Writing a Fantasy Novel and Changed my Name

Hi. My name is Dave. I used to think I was a science fiction writer.

That was back in the ‘80s, a wild and wooly time for genre fiction. I was not exclusively a science fiction reader back then—nobody was, or at least, I knew very few people who identified themselves as just “science fiction fans”. When I went to Waldenbooks with whatever money I could scrap together I looked at the wall of books and could spend hours trying to figure out what to buy. There was fantasy, science fiction, and horror, typically all on the same shelf—and I wanted it all.

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Megan

The Last Four Things Review

Posted on August 30, 2011 by

This is poetry! Even when it is prose… I mean, that the writing flows smoothly, honed turns of phrase that draw you in and create pictures in your mind.

The plot continues to follow, in the main, the exploits of Thomas Cale, who is now brought to prominence as the recognised – at least by some – embodiment of God’s own anger, his innate talent for violence being viewed as divinely inspired, and thus admired by an organisation as partial to using force to impose what they see as the will of God on others. Given privileges surprising to one of such young age and lack of experience, he is given battlefield command of Redeemer forces where his unorthodox tactics and personal leadership bring results… mirrored by turbulance in the higher echelons of the church hierarchy as plotters seek power and even the Pope’s throne.

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Steven Dawes

Fright Night (2011) Movie Review

Posted on August 29, 2011 by

So with summer coming to a close, I’ve finally got some days off from school before I’m back again this fall. After all the HTML learning, numeric coding, interface designing, networking essentials and even Human Relations (only cause it’s required), I was ready for some time off. It seemed to be fortuitous that Fright Night came out in the middle of my break, for I am REALLY in need of some horror shenanigans to blow off some steam.

Now, before I continue on, I have a horrible confession to make. I’m very ashamed to admit this, and my fingers are shaking in fear of this revelation so much that it’s difficult for me to even type right now. But they say the truth shall set you free… so here it goes… *exaggerated gulp* … I’ve never seen the original 1985 Fright Night… *the sounds of crickets can be heard clearly in the distance*.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Looking back at the Design Essay Series

Posted on August 26, 2011 by

The Flames Rising Design Essay Series started in 2008 when Preston DuBose and I were chatting about different projects we’ve worked on (including Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas which we had recently released) and I asked him to write a little something about the next project on his agenda, you can find the essay below. Like other parts of the site, this series started out in RPGs, but soon expanded to include Fiction, Comics and we even have one essay about Film.

The series continues to evolve and has become an ongoing project where authors, game designers and others can tell Flames Rising readers about the creative process that went into a particular project. We have no plans on stopping this series, but I thought I’d take a moment to look back at some of the essays we’ve posted so far:

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Flames

A Brief History of Magic by Michael Jasper

Posted on August 26, 2011 by

Author and comic scribe Michael Jasper is here with a new design essay about his novel A Sudden Outbreak of Magic. Michael tells about the genesis of the idea back in his teaching days and how that initial concept developed into the book that is available now. He even links us to a sneak peek at the follow up book, A Wild Epidemic of Magic, which is currently in development.

Magic is everywhere. You just have to look hard enough to see it.

Magic is contagious. You can get infected it by it just as easily as catching a cold.

Magic is dangerous. You start using it, and all sorts of powerful people will take notice. And they will hunt you down.

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Trail of Cthulhu: The Rending Box Review

Posted on August 25, 2011 by

Graham Walmsley’s The Rending Box is moderate-sized (30 pages with handouts) adventure for Trail of Cthulhu (though it could be modified for Call of Cthulhu with little hassle). While it isn’t an overly challenging adventure, it perhaps puts too much potence into the hands (literally) of the players. Characters will find that Pandora had it easy with her little box.

Huguenin’s artwork is appropriately gruesome for this chapter of the three-scenario Purist adventure. His cover piece is atmospheric while his interior works, such as the lovely Jakob Tulving removing his eyes so that he can see better looks like something from a 1950s pre-code horror comic book cover (that’s a compliment for those who don’t know me). I also love the detailed image of the box itself (a great handout to toss on the table before declaring “this is what will ruin your lives).

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Monica Valentinelli

The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu Mini-Review and Trailer

Posted on August 24, 2011 by

I just had the chance to watch The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu and I was impressed! For an independent film (one that has also won a couple of awards, I might add) this is an awesome film. What’s it about you ask?

Well, there is a story to be told here and quite honestly, the reason why this is a mini-review is because I really don’t want to spoil it for you. I feel this is the type of film you have to discover… laugh out loud… groan… And realize the costuming is just that much better than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or The Keep.

Part of what makes this movie strong is the characterization and the nerdly discussions, but there are some other surprises hidden between the script’s pages.

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Megan

Deadly Waves (Shadowrun) RPG Review

Posted on August 23, 2011 by

Presented as another entry in the JackPoint website/blog, and tagged with the warning to beware of icebergs, here is an eclectic discussion of all manner of things in and under the water.

First up, a discourse on The Reality of Sea Travel. Whilst people and goods are often transported by air, the sea is still used extensively, particularly for the transportation of bulky goods and for recreational purposes. The vessels used have developed, and submarines are no longer merely military playthings but used commercially, but sea traffic is by and large unchanged in its general nature. One thing to bear in mind is that watercraft can be leading, if not bleeding, edge or they can be archaic…and that these tech levels can combine in a single craft – consider a sailboat with the latest navigational and communications gear, for example.

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Flames

Dave Gross on Dark Fantasy in Kung Fu Movies

Posted on August 22, 2011 by

Dave Gross, author of Pathfinder and Forgotten Realms fiction, who Alana recently interviewed here at Flames Rising stopped by to tell us a little about how his favorite kung fu movies inspired his writing.

For inspiration in writing Master of Devils, the latest Pathfinder Tales novel, I steeped myself in dozens of kung fu movies. Some were straight-on martial arts stories from the heyday of the Shaw Brothers, while others were more recent blends of wuxia action with art-house photography. Among my favorites are the fantasy films of the 80s and 90s, many of which include a strong element of supernatural horror.

The first thing you need to know about kung fu movies is that any one of them can seem like five or six different movies crammed into one. Chinese screenwriters seldom stick to a single genre, so you’ll find elements of horror, romance, satire, political commentary, and even slapstick humor in what appears by the DVD cover to be a straight-up action film. Thus, when you’re looking for a “horror kung fu movie,” you shouldn’t expect a simple fright fest–although some of them have some great scary moments.

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Billzilla

Bill’s Month In Horror: Gen Con 2011

Posted on August 22, 2011 by

Another GenCon has come and gone – my eleventh straight as an industry professional – and I wanted to reflect a bit on why GenCon is important for the gaming industry – not to mention just a great time as an attendee/gamer. For one thing, nearly all the major tabletop game companies – and most of the minor ones – have a presence at GenCon. If your favorite local Game Store (FLGS) doesn’t carry something from one of these companies, odds are better than average it can be found in the dealers’ hall.

Gaming at GenCon? Yes, there’s lots. Most of it involves paying something extra to play, which is a bit of a downer, but still affordable. If you plan to go, registering for events early is a good idea; they fill up quickly and there’s no guarantee of a last-minute opening in the game you really wanted to try. Many manufacturers run demos at their booths in the dealer’s hall; these will be short, use pre-gen characters they provide, but are an excellent way to sample something new before buying.

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Flames

Call of Cthulhu Spawns on Mobile

Posted on August 21, 2011 by

An agreement between Call of Cthulhu impresarios, Chaosium and new development studio Red Wasp Design will see the award winning role-playing game (RPG), Call of Cthulhu, coming to a mobile platform near you. The first title, ‘Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land’ is set in the midst of World War One and pits a team of investigators and soldiers against an ancient enemy, older than humanity itself. This eldritch enemy is using the carnage of the great war to build an undead army amidst the battlefields of Europe. The game will be a 3D turn-based strategy/role playing game and will initially launch on iPhone and Android with more platforms to follow. As the game is still in development, release dates and price points are to be announced after the summer. See here for the game’s summary page.

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Monica Valentinelli

Celebrating Lovecraft’s Birthday with Cthulhu Gloom

Posted on August 19, 2011 by

To celebrate Lovecraft’s birthday this year, we went over to a friend’s house and popped open our shiny, new copy of Cthulhu Gloom from Atlas Games. Dubbed “the game of unspeakable incidents and squamous consequences,” our group consisted of five players — two of which weren’t as familiar with the Lovecraft mythos as we were.

So before we began, we attempted to channel Kenneth Hite and explain who Lovecraft and Cthulhu were. It was interested to see their reactions when they learned that one man inspired so many popular horror authors like Stephen King, Brian Lumley, etc. That, for me, was the best part about the game because then the cards mean something beyond their pretty pictures.

And pretty they are indeed. Instead of families, you play investigators ranging from those who work at Miskatonic University to the Village of Innsmouth. Since we played with five players, we each paired down our investigative group by one and gave that character to the fifth player.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Talking Horror Comics and Hack/Slash with Brea Grant

Posted on August 18, 2011 by

Many Flames Rising readers may recognize Brea Grant from her role as Daphne on the popular television show Heroes. Did you know that the multi-talented Brea also writes comics? I recently had the chance to talk comics and acting with her for the site. We talked about her upcoming comic-related projects as a comic book writer and her new role as Cassie Hack in the upcoming Hack/Slash motion comic series.

What can you tell us about your upcoming role as Cassie Hack?

I will be the voice and sort of the face of Cassie in the new animated comic. We’re using animation, rotoscoping, green screen, all sorts of stuff to make it super cool and fantastic. So it’ll technically be my face but a lot of animation as well.

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Vault #1 Comic Review

Posted on August 18, 2011 by

“A small team of treasure hunters struggles to excavate a dangerous and legendary treasure pit before a massive storm hits Sable Island, the ‘Graveyard of the North Atlantic’.Equipped with all the latest technology, the scientists believe they are prepared against all of nature’s fury, but nothing can prepare them for what they are about to unleash from The Vault.”

This is seriously a solid-looking issue that doesn’t have a lot of horror elements in it until the end. A huge plus on this book was the characters staying perfect from panel to panel. Every page had so much detail that it was like a moving painting telling a visual story.

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Matt-M-McElroy

Bloodsuckers Available Now from Fireside Games!

Posted on August 17, 2011 by

Save the town of Blackwood, or drain it dry. The choice is yours.

The once quiet small town of Blackwood has become a battleground. A coven of vampires has crept in under the cover of darkness to drain the very life from its helpless citizens. As powerful as these creatures of legend are, they do not prowl the streets unchallenged. A team of skilled vampire hunters with an arsenal of modern weapons has tracked these bloodsuckers down and the battle for the soul of Blackwood is about to begin.

Bloodsuckers is a highly thematic strategy card game for 2 to 4 players ages 13 and up.

Designed By: Justin De Witt and Anne-Marie De Witt (Creators of the Castle Panic Board Game)

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alanajoli

Midnight at the Spanish Gardens Review

Posted on August 16, 2011 by

Midnight at the Spanish GardensMidnight at the Spanish Gardens is not the kind of book I normally review for Flames Rising. It is certainly a fantasy novel, but the fantasy elements don’t actually end up being all that important: the book revolves around the choices that people make in their lives, and what they might do differently if they had it to do all over again — or if fate or chance had played out the events differently. But while it’s not truly a dark fantasy, I wanted to review it here after reading an ARC from the author because this is the type of book that held me and didn’t let me go. I actually stood in a doorway the first night I was reading it, intending to walk somewhere to put it down, expecting to head off to bed for the night, but I flipped page after page in my nook and kept reading, standing there, for probably twenty minutes. Then, realizing I clearly wasn’t going to stop, I gave up my rational decision to head to bed and sat down and read more instead. Not only that, but even when I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about it. That experience tells me that this is a book worth sharing.

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Megan

Altered Earth RPG Review

Posted on August 15, 2011 by

Opening with a Setting Introduction, which describes the variety of game types that you can play in this bleak yet chaotic apocalypic future-Earth, a setting rich with a wealth of opportunity for those brave, perhaps vicious, enough to sieze what they want and defend it against all comers. The background is explained, a gradual decline brought about by wars, economic catastrophes and environmental damage: no single apocalyptic event but a succession of disaster after disaster that brought once-green Earth to its present state of barren wasteland scattered with giant city-fortresses ruled by warlords.

Scene set, Chapter 2: Races looks at, well, the races available to players. The default is, of course, human beings – as described in the ‘Humans’ section of the Dungeons & Dragons 4e Player’s Handbook.

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Eric talks zombies with B.J. Burrow

Posted on August 15, 2011 by

It’s not the end of the world-it’s just zombies.

B.J. Burrow is the author of a zombie novel called The Changed, which is published by Apex Book Company. B.J. also contributed stories to Apexology: Horror and The Zombie Feed Volume 1.

Flames Rising reviewer and zombie fan, Eric Pollarine, sat down with B. J. to talk undead, writing and a few other topics…

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