Archive | August, 2011

Monica Valentinelli

Back from GenCon 2011

Posted on August 12, 2011 by

GenCon: Indy 2011 has come and gone…already? The first DriveThruRPG partnership with White Wolf Publishing and select games from Malhavoc Press, Open Design, Nocturnal, Eden Studios and Abstract Nova was a lot of hard work but very rewarding.

The booth was located at the back of a very large and very huge hall, but that didn’t stop new and old fans of these games from driving on back to DriveThruRPG. The quality of the new books is really awesome; people were literally saying… “That’s POD?” when pointing to the Exalted Comic and Ptolus.

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Billzilla

Chilling Tales Anthology Review

Posted on August 12, 2011 by

Horror is a subjective state; what one finds horrifying another might find merely gruesome or grotesque. It is within this ambiguity I find myself regarding Chilling Tales: Evil DId I Dwell; Lewd Did I Live. There was horror within to be sure; also within was loneliness, isolation, despair, and a lot of really good writing.

Standout stories for me in this collection included “Tom Chesnutt’s Midnight Blues” by Robert J. Wiersema and “404” by Barbara Roden. Both are among the first three tales and get the anthology off to a great start. “Tom Chesnutt’s” is about a philandering folk singer who inadvertently causes his wife’s death. She haunts him now, not actively rattling chains and moaning but rather showing up at his gigs – a phantom only he can see – as a reminder of his misdeeds. “404” is a distressingly familiar tale about office workers who discover their comrades simply disappear one day. As their numbers dwindle and their isolation increases, they each find themselves coming under the watchful eye of their supervisor.

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Flames

The Wrecking Crew at Grand Masquerade 2011

Posted on August 11, 2011 by

Dave Martin, founder of the Wrecking Crew Demo Team, is here to tell us a little more about his organization and their role at White Wolf’s Grand Masquerade event next month.

The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew was created by Dave Martin and his gaming group in 1996, and went on to become one of the official demo teams for White Wolf and the World of Darkness table-top games in 2000. Their years of devotion were rewarded in 2009 when White Wolf elevated the Wrecking Crew to the rank of Senior Demo Team. Due to this status, The Wrecking Crew has had the honor of running a number of developer release events including the upcoming Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition. Though the organization began as a local group in Arizona, it has grown into a national association with members in several states.

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alanajoli

Kitemaster and Other Stories Fiction Review

Posted on August 11, 2011 by

If you follow Jim Hines’s blog, you know he’s been experimenting with electronically self-publishing short stories, many of which originally appeared in print publications. His first collection, Goblin Tales, did well enough that he’s releasing another group of six tales, Kitemaster and Other Stories, in mid-August. I caught Jim’s note for reviewers and volunteered, and I think this is another strong group of stories, mostly for the lighthearted fantasy crowd. Three of them I’d previously purchased via fictionwise, and have been favorites of mine since the first reading, but three were brand new to me, and I think all are solid stories — even the one that left me with something akin to the willies over a series of puppet deaths. But we’ll get there in a minute.

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Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple RPG Review

Posted on August 10, 2011 by

Daniel Solis’ Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a different type of game for me to review. It’s not the kind of game I would pick up on my own. This isn’t to say I am against indie games because, well, I have dozens of examples to the contrary. No, the genre just isn’t that interesting to me and I know my gaming group mostly wouldn’t get behind the concept.

With that said, the book really won me over (can’t make a claim to my gaming group though). There are three key elements to this clever game that make it intriguing and full of potential for gamers and, more importantly, young gamers. We’ll go over those elements (maybe two more) and I’ll show you why this is exactly the kind of game I’d play with my son (he’s seven or, as he’s say, seven and a half).

The idea of a wandering pilgrim is attractive even when laced in an anime dressing (not my thing).

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alanajoli

An Interview with Pathfinder Author Dave Gross

Posted on August 9, 2011 by

Dave Gross is the former editor of gaming magazines including Polyhedron, Dungeon, Dragon, Star Wars Gamer, Star Wars Insider, and Amazing Stories. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also written fiction in a number of game worlds, including the Forgotten Realms and, most recently, Golarion, the home of the Pathfinder gaming system. His new novel, Master of Devils, releases later this month. Dave took time out of his busy schedule of writing and watching kung fu movies to chat with us about his upcoming release.

Flames Rising: You have an impressive history in editing for gaming magazines and anthologies, and a whole run of Forgotten Realms novels for Wizards of the Coast. What was the path that brought you to writing fiction for Pathfinder?

Dave Gross: In 2008 I visited the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary. It was mainly a social trip to catch up with some old friends. Two of them were also former colleagues from Paizo, Director of Sales Pierce Watters and Publisher Erik Mona. Erik mentioned his plans to start a Pathfinder Tales line and asked whether I’d be interested in contributing. Already I loved what I’d seen of Golarion.

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Calebros Graphic Novel Review

Posted on August 9, 2011 by

The title ‘comic nerd’ has always escaped me. They are cool, they are nifty, and their storylines are quite often entertaining with the added bonus of some truly interesting artwork. Yet something has always kept me from diving into the pool of comics, and I’m not sure what that is since I enjoy reading them. Calebros, was no different. It was a delight from beginning to end and reminded me why Clan Nosferatu always ranked high on my list of favorites.

Calebros is part of a series of comics that were produced several years ago that followed the so the uninitiated reader should be warned that jumping into the story arc with this work will leave one rather confused. One the few flaws I caught was the lack of an introduction. Some background information for the new reader would have been greatly appreciated and it would also have helped spark my own memory in regards to White Wolf’s now dormant story arc.

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Monica Valentinelli

Ghost Story (Dresden Files Book 13) Review

Posted on August 8, 2011 by

Hot off the presses, Ghost Story is the 13th installment in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. At this point in the series, I would like to point out that if you haven’t read Changes or some of the earlier books, then this review will likely contain ***spoilers***. Be kind to the reviewer, folks.

First things first: due to the way characters are interwoven throughout the fabric of the plot, I would recommend that new readers do not pick up “this” book as the first one. While Butcher does a fine job of trying to facilitate the back story to remind readers who some of the existing characters are, the emotional gut-wrenching reaction that you may have as a reader will fizzle and pop like a dud firecracker.

As the title suggests, this is a Ghost Story.

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Flames

Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure

Posted on August 6, 2011 by

Brass & Steel is a hybrid live action/tabletop roleplaying game, with rules equally suited to both. It is an alternate 1905, where the mystically-fueled industrial revolution has produced amazing feats of technology and the sun never sets on the mighty British Empire. Clockwork marvels face off against against ancient sorcery. Airships cruise the skies. Lucid dreamers explore the mysteries of the subconscious and pluck secrets from the shadows of others’ imaginations. Mighty elixirs heal shattered bodies. Steam-powered prosthetics return crippled soldiers to the front lines wielding bizarre new weapons and equipment.

Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure is available at the Flames Rising Shop.

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Nightmare World Vol 2: Leave the Light On Review

Posted on August 5, 2011 by

“Thirteen new tales of terror peer into the lives of those affected by Lucifer’s diabolical scheme to kick-start the Armageddon! Stories feature characters as diverse as a conniving rock star wannabe, an abused teenager, a pair of star-crossed Mafioso lovers and the world’s last ultra-hero, the last of whom must choose between staying with the love of his life while the world goes to Hell (literally) and fighting the Great Cthulhu in a desperate (and most likely futile) attempt to save the world.”

Ugh, yes please! This is one great looking collection. Not a single story seemed to be any less visually appealing than the next. Some of the stories I liked the looks of best were Strays, No One Knows and Momma’s Boy.

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Flames

White Wolf 2011-2012 New Release Schedule!

Posted on August 4, 2011 by

Flames Rising is pleased to present the web version of the new release list that White Wolf is handing out at Gen Con Indy 2011. Several members of the White Wolf crew are on-site at Gen Con talking to fans about new and classic World of Darkness games. This is a look ahead at what new products are on the way and some news about the ongoing Now in Print program at DriveThruRPG.com.

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Billzilla

Kolchak: The Night Stalker – The Lovecraftian Horror Review

Posted on August 3, 2011 by

The 1974 television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker never got rave reviews from critics. Only twenty episodes of the show exist, plus two TV movie/pilot episodes: The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973). The special effects, even by the standards of the day, were cheesy and unremarkable, though the stories themselves were interesting and provided a wide variety of paranormal beasties from folklore the world over instead of rehashing zombies or vampires week after week. Unfortunately, the TV movies proved vastly more popular than the TV series they generated.

It should come as no surprise that a graphic novel treatment of Kolchak might spring into being as well, and at that before the reboot of the series. Enter Moonstone Books with their long-running Kolchak series, and lo, Kolchak has been brought back from the dead, like many of the creepy entities he faced as a reporter with a nose for the paranormal.

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Flames

Operation Backpack August 2011 Fundraiser

Posted on August 2, 2011 by

August usually means back to school shopping for most Americans. But each year, thousands of children living in homeless shelters and foster care return to school without even the most basic of necessities. Operation Backpack, a program operated by Volunteers of America, helps provided these needed supplies to our country’s most vulnerable students and gives them a chance to continue their education.

In an effort to support this wonderful project, Bards and Sages has partnered with other independent authors and publishers to create a special charity ebook bundle. 100% of our profits from this bundle will be donated to Volunteers of America to support Operation Backpack.?

Operation Backpack August 2011 Fundraiser is available at DriveThruFantasy.com.

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Monica Valentinelli

The Magician King Review

Posted on August 2, 2011 by

The Magician King is a novel penned by author Lev Grossman that follows after the events of The Magicians. Before I go any further, I want to point out two things: first, you may want to read my The Magicians review or our preview of The Magicians to help you recall the plot. Second? If you haven’t read the first book, I’m not certain you’ll enjoy this one as much, for reasons which I’ll get into shortly.

As I mentioned above, The Magician King takes place after the events of The Magicians. Because of that, fair warning: I feel there is no possible way I can write this review without spoiling something for someone… So be kind to the reviewer. Please.

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Flames

Summer Knight (Dresden Files Book 4) Review

Posted on August 1, 2011 by

In Summer Knight, Harry is dealing with the after effects of Susan leaving. He spends day and night trying to find a cure for her vampirism. To no avail. Anger and depression are the mainstays of his life now. He doesn’t eat. He doesn’t bathe. He doesn’t see any of his friends, whom are really worried for him. Harry has isolated himself in a manner that is hardly healthy.

After meeting his friend Billy (and surviving both simultaneous attack from both a ghoul and a drive by shooting), Harry finds out that Billy has set up an appointment for him. Harry goes and meets the client, to find out that is is Mab, Queen of the Winter Court. She asks him to find out whom killed a man named Ronald Reuel. She also tells him that she now his purchased debt to Lenanasidhe, and she is willing to cancel the debt…after he does three favors for her. This is the first one and Harry really doesn’t have much of a choice. You do NOT say no, to the Queen of Air and Darkness, so therefore he is now the emissary for Winter.

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Flames

Bradley P. Beaulieu on The Winds of Khalakovo Debut

Posted on August 1, 2011 by

Thanks to Monica for letting me stop by Flames Rising. It’s always great to meet new people through different sites as I’m spreading the word about my debut novel. The Winds of Khalakovo came out this past April, and I thought it would be interesting to talk a little bit about the arc of emotions I’ve had along the way.

Any writer with a debut novel will tell you how exciting it is. (If they aren’t excited, they’re either lying or they’ve done something they’re not proud of.) It was wonderful to have The Winds of Khalakovo come out, and it was terribly gratifying seeing the kind of welcome it received. One of the most interesting things for me was how fun it was working with reviewers, not on the reviews themselves, of course, but on guest posts and interviews. It’s so nice to share beyond the bounds of the book. There are so many stories to tell.

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