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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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Flames

Patrick D’Orazio tells us about Comes The Dark

Posted on December 16, 2010 by

Our author design essay continues with Patrick D’Orazio telling us about his new novel Comes The Dark, which is published by Library of the Living Dead Press.

Six weeks have passed since the virus ravaged the world’s population and in that time most of humanity has passed into shadow, turning into corrupt, rotting flesh eaters that known only pain and hunger as they attempt to destroy the remaining members of the human race.

Comes The Dark, which is my first published novel, is my humble entry into the zombie genre. I wasn’t necessarily interested in recreating or morphing the zombie into something new or different with my book, but wanted to focus on the dynamics between human beings thrust into a horrible situation, being forced to do things they would otherwise be unwilling to do and deciding if surviving is even the right choice when all they have ever known and loved has been annihilated.

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Flames

Zombie Week: Genesis of the Living Dead

Posted on December 10, 2010 by

Zombie Week continues here at Flames Rising with a new essay from Nick Tapalansky, creator of the Awakening series published by Archaia Entertainment. In this essay Nick tells us about his love of the zombie genre, his frustration with the zombie fad and the challenges of writing a comic series in a genre he admits is already packed.

Genesis of the Living Dead

I like zombies. I also like being understated. Those two statements may be related. Take a journey with me.

It’s early in 2004 and the genre is experiencing something of a renaissance. 28 Days Later had landed over the summer of ’03 and set a brand new ball rolling. The Walking Dead was hitting its stride as a comic (don’t forget kids, it was a funny book long before it was a TV series), and the Dawn of the Dead remake shambled, ran, and lunged at our collective throats. Shaun of the Dead was coming, ready to take us to the Winchester until the whole thing blew over.

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Flames

Ashley J. Barnard tells us about Scaring the Relatives

Posted on December 2, 2010 by

Novelist Ashley J. Barnard has a new novel called Shadow Fox from Champagne Books. In this design essay she tells us about that initial fear of releasing her work to friends and family.

How a Nice, Shy Girl Passes Off Dark Fantasy to Her Family

One of my older sisters recently compared me to Giselle from the movie Enchanted. It’s a fair comparison; I sing when I clean the house, I love animals, I’m a hopeless romantic and I have a bright and sunny disposition. I want everyone to love me so it’s shocking to me when I annoy someone. The biggest difference between Giselle and me is that Giselle doesn’t write dark contemporary fantasy with heroin use, violence, occasional S&M and a liberal sprinkling of the F-bomb throughout. And if she did write it, she’d probably use a pen name and would die before letting anyone read it.

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Kevin and the Devil House

Posted on November 22, 2010 by

Kevin Lucia is the author of Hiram Grange and the Chosen One, book four of the popular series. He is also an editor and reviewer for Shroud Publishing. In this guest post he talks about what sparked his interest in the horror genre.

I remember when I first became interested in horror. The summer of 1996, I spent lots of time with my friends bumming around Otsego Lake, NY. My best friend’s grandmother owned a cabin there, so we spent all our weekends riding the boat, eating and napping on the dock.

One weekend we got bored. Which country boys tend to do. This usually means trouble. We were lying around on the dock when my friend Joel remarked, “We should take Kevin to the Devil House.”

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Flames

Designing Dusk by David Doub

Posted on November 11, 2010 by

Dusk is a supernatural action/drama story done in a dynamic blending of the sequential art styles of American Comics and Japanese Manga. David Doub tells us about the series in this new design essay.

When I first had the idea for Dusk, I was doing comics just a form of creative expression. I wasn’t worried about making money or rewards, I just wanted people to enjoy my comics. Since I was keeping it fairly low key, I figured the internet would be the best place to cheaply get the comics out to potential readers. I was so new at everything, I even tried drawing one of my own stories. Since I lacked skills in sequential art I did that particular story in a story book style. One page was art and the other side was prose.

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“The Dead Path” Author Stephen M. Irwin on Ghosts: Can They Be Redeemed?

Posted on November 4, 2010 by

Special guest post by The Dead Path author Stephen M. Irwin

When I began writing The Dead Path – in fact, sometime before I began the penning process – I grappled for a long while with the concept of ghosts. I had decided to write a novel, and knew I wanted it to be a ghost story and that it would be set it in my hometown of Brisbane. But writing a ghost story is a bit like putting on wings and a beak on the first day of duck season – unless you look different to the rest of the flock, you run the risk of being shot down quite quickly (I imagine it is at present a risk even more onerous for authors considering writing tales concerning vampires). Ghost stories are as old as human storytelling; they exist in every culture and predate our major religions. And ghosts rank among the most famous of literary characters and religious figures – Hamlet’s ghost, Jacob Marley’s ghost, the Holy Ghost …

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Flames

Fantasy World Building for Indie Film

Posted on November 1, 2010 by

We have a new design essay to start the week. Film-maker Lisa Stock tells us about the world building that went into her project Titania.

People are always curious about where I shoot my films. But when I tell them it was a state park, local beach, or neighbor’s backyard they seem disappointed that I haven’t said Oz, Gotham, or at least New Zealand. I’m thrilled though – because for me, that means I’ve effectively created a world they believe exists somewhere further than a few blocks from home.

World building is as important in fantasy film as character building. It not only holds and surrounds the action of your plot – but influences it. An actress said to me once, “I have terrible fears about the forest, nightmares since I was a child of being left alone in a forest.” Luckily, the film we’re working on together takes place entirely in a forest and I need for her to be frightened.

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Flames

Play Dirty: Happy Halloween

Posted on October 30, 2010 by

Just in time for Halloween, FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with advice on terrifying your players from veteran game designer John Wick. Games that John has designed recently include the Lovecraft-inspired CURSE OF THE YELLOW SIGN and HOUSES OF THE BLOODED. For more about John, visit his website located at John Wick Presents

Play Dirty: Happy Halloween

Every Halloween, I run Call of Cthulhu.

It’s a tradition. Something I’ve rarely broken. Every year, I dress up in my “Man in Black” outfit (black pants, black shirt, black vest, black jacket, black tie, black hat and Yellow Sign pin) and I tell a story of man’s futile attempts to understand the universe.

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JLaSala

The Foreshadows Equation, Part 2

Posted on October 27, 2010 by

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero is a 19-story anthology of dark science fiction intertwined with a 19-track album of songs and soundtrack music, created collaboratively by a veritable shadow gallery of speculative fiction authors and musicians, under the banner of the Very Us Artists, to be published by Blindsided Books.

In this essay, editor and author Jeff LaSala tells us what sort of stories are contained therein…

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Flames

History of the Tarot: Part Three – Modern Day

Posted on October 24, 2010 by

Halloween is right around the corner, and many people read tarot cards to celebrate the holiday. In this three-part series of articles, FlamesRising.com turned to tarot card expert Paula Dempsey to talk about the history of the tarot. In the last article of this series, Paula discusses tarot and how we use and think about it in our modern day.

The History of Tarot: Modern Day

Finally, this whistlestop tour of the tarot brings us to the twenty first century. My question for modern times is: Is the tarot still truly occult? There are hundreds, possibly thousands of modern tarot packs, many of which are easily obtained from bookstores or online retailers. Books on how to read the cards may be borrowed from public libraries and tarot courses are offered in most cities. For those uncomfortable with the occult connotations, there is even a Jesus Deck.

The broken-hearted or inquisitive amongst us can phone or text a tarot hotline at any time of the day or night and instantly get an answer to “Does she love me?” or “Will I get that great new job?”

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Flames

The History of the Tarot: Part Two – Occult Revival

Posted on October 23, 2010 by

Halloween is right around the corner, and many people read tarot cards to celebrate the holiday. In this three-part series of articles, FlamesRising.com turned to tarot card expert Paula Dempsey to talk about the history of the tarot. In this first article, she discussed its mysterious origins. Today, she talks about the occult revival.

The History of Tarot: Occult Revival

The late 18th century saw Western society immersed in the Age of Enlightenment and on the verge of the Industrial Revolution. Paradoxically, this era of scientific rationalism also saw a rebirth of magical traditions. Druidry was reinvented in Great Britain by William Stukely and others. The end of the Witch-craze in Europe and the USA meant that those claiming to practice magic could do so without fearing a noose around their necks and to many, magic had an undeniable romance to it.

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Flames

The History of the Tarot: Part One – Origins

Posted on October 22, 2010 by

Did you know that Halloween is a popular time of year for divination? One way that many people celebrate the holiday is to have their tarot cards read. In this three-part series of articles, FlamesRising.com turned to tarot card expert Paula Dempsey to talk about the history of the tarot. In this first article, she discusses its mysterious origins.

The History of Tarot: Origins

Once Upon a Time…

… in 48BCE to be exact, when the Roman Empire was at its height and Julius Caesar’s troops laid siege to the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The custodians of the Royal Library of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, knew they didn’t have much time before enemy forces broke through and destroyed their precious scrolls forever. Fortunately they had made a plan. Decks of cards were small and portable, so they prepared special decks rich in symbolism carrying much of the spiritual and magical guidance from the Library, if one knew how to read them.

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JLaSala

The Foreshadows Equation, Part 1

Posted on October 13, 2010 by

Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero is a 19-story anthology of dark science fiction intertwined with a 19-track album of songs and soundtrack music, created collaboratively by a veritable shadow gallery of speculative fiction authors and musicians, under the banner of the Very Us Artists, to be published by Blindsided Books.

In this essay Jeff and John LaSala tell us a bit about how the project got started and just what readers can look forward to as this project continues…

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Flames

Confessions of a Boy Fraidy Cat

Posted on September 15, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with an essay written by Bob Fingerman, an author and artist with roots in the comic book industry. Fingerman has worked on a number of horror-themed works, including BOTTOMFEEDER, ZOMBIEWORLD: WINTER’S DREGS and the zombie graphic novel entitled RECESS PIECES. Just recently, his new zombie novel PARIAH was released from Tor Books.

In this essay, Fingerman offers us an insightful look into his personal experiences with the horror genre as a kid. Be sure to stay tuned for an exclusive preview of PARIAH and our review of his second novel.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: Deconstructing Realms of Cthulhu

Posted on August 22, 2010 by

Throughout Cthulhu Week we’ve discussed Mythos tomes in comic books, fiction, movies and more. We’ve even offered up a Campaign Frame for the Trail of Cthulhu RPG and vivisected elements of the Call of Cthulhu RPG as well.

Yet there is another Mythos RPG and game designer Sean Preston is here to tell us about his dark work on the game called Realms of Cthulhu

Deconstructing Realms of Cthulhu

Hello there. I’m Sean Preston, and I’m a game designer, writer, editor, publisher, and an avid gamer as well. I like to talk and write about games (when not playing them) as much as most of us in this industry, but before we get going let’s have a compact. Since we’ll be talking about Lovecraft, it’s only natural that blood enters the scene, so let’s make it a blood compact. Shall we? My digital blood is being spilled before you, pixel by pixel. I trust you’ll smear some about at some point or other, so the compact is made. What I’ll be talking about is the philosophy of writing Lovecraftian horror for games. I shall not deviate. If I do, I pray the Hounds of Tindalos find a lovely angle from which to spring upon me in the dead of night. As for you, if you enjoy the article, share it about. Fair enough? Good. Now, let’s get started in earnest. The clock is ticking.

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Cthulhu Week: The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen

Posted on August 20, 2010 by

Kenneth Hite, author of Cthulhu 101 and other Mythos tomes of dark intent brings us a tale of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game from Chaosium.

Enjoy this contribution to Cthulhu Week, but don’t read too deep…we can’t be held responsible for what horrors are left behind…

In Call of Cthulhu, your character explicitly starts no better than any other. There is no leveling up, no percentile strength, no special class skills or feats separating your character from any other citizen of Arkham. Yes, your character may well gain magical powers and travel to exotic destinations, as in other roleplaying games. But such “improvements” come at a cost, at the cost of lowering your irreplaceable Sanity. In Call of Cthulhu, the player knows at the outset that his character, if played long enough, will go insane and die. That’s a very different proposition from hoping that your character will become the vampiric Prince of Pittsburgh or get a Helm of Command at 18th level. Of course if that was all it was, Call of Cthulhu would simply be nihilistic, an exercise in masochistic masturbation. At best, its characters would resemble the decadent aesthetes of Lovecraft’s short story “The Hound,” seeking ever more outré pleasures, or perhaps the shortsighted Tillinghast in “From Beyond,” accepting insanity as the necessary visa for interdimensional tourism. And in many of Lovecraft’s stories, this is the case — Lovecraft was, after all, a nihilist (albeit a gentlemanly nihilist) himself, who considered morality “mere Victorian fiction.” The object of terror, for Lovecraft, is terror.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: Inmates by Robin D. Laws

Posted on August 18, 2010 by

Cthulhu Week continues with a new Campaign Frame for the Trail of Cthulhu RPG from Pelgrane Press written by game designer and author Robin D. Laws.

This series concept uses the Trail Of Cthulhu Campaign Frame format. The idea can easily be ported to your Cthulhu RPG of choice.

Inmates

Setting: Play begins within the confines of Butler Hospital, a Providence, Rhode Island mental institution. This real-world facility was founded in 1844 and is still operational today. H. P. Lovecraft’s father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, died there in 1898 after succumbing to psychosis in a Chicago hotel room.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: A Note from the Editor at Innsmouth Free Press

Posted on August 17, 2010 by

Innsmouth Free Press Issue Number 4Flames Rising is pleased to present you with a guest post from Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the publisher at Innsmouth Free Press. According to the “About Innsmouth Free Press” page, this webzine is “a fictional newspaper publishing faux news pieces – lovingly called Monster Bytes – in a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu Mythos universe, as well as original short fiction stories.” Uncover the sordid details behind these Monster Bytes, how Silvia fell in love with Lovecraft’s work, and how you can be a part of this Mythos-inspired ‘zine:

Every few months Innsmouth Free Press will get an earnest e-mail from someone who thinks Innsmouth is a real place. Oddly enough, it actually exists, at least in our collective minds.

Innsmouth Free Press is a zine that publishes daily articles, interviews and reviews about all things horror and speculative. Three times a year, we produce a free issue of Lovecraftian fiction.

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David A Hill Jr “Ghost Stories on Space Stations”

Posted on July 19, 2010 by

Game Designer, David Hill jumps into our design essay series with some notes on the development of the Maschine Zeit RPG. David tells us about some of the cinematic inspirations for the setting of this new RPG as well as the goals that went into the initial development of the system.

When I advertise Maschine Zeit, I call it, “Ghost Stories on Space Stations.” I wanted to talk briefly on that. Over the years, there’s been this sub-genre of horror films that are fundamentally haunted house stories, set in science fiction environments. The sub-genre really got its chops with the release of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Alien. Looking around at various RPGs, I didn’t feel that the genre had been properly emulated, so that’s what I’d set out to do. What this resulted in was an RPG that, in my opinion, shares a number of conventions with popular games, while eschewing many.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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