Archive | Articles

Monica Valentinelli

Notes on Designing THE QUEEN OF CROWS

Posted on July 6, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with the design notes for THE QUEEN OF CROWS, which is available at DriveThruHorror.com. This unique e-book was designed by Monica Valentinelli. In addition to her work here at FlamesRising.com, Monica is also an author and game designer who specializes in the horror and dark fantasy genres.

For more information about this project, be sure to visit VioletWar.com or Monica’s blog located at www.mlvwrites.com.

[...more]
Flames

Author Yasmine Galenorn on Writing and a Contest

Posted on June 28, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with a guest post about writing and inspiration from New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn. At the end of the post, Yasmine is offering a chance for you to win a copy of BONE MAGIC from her Otherworld urban fantasy series. Be sure to check out our excerpt of BONE MAGIC, too!

When I think about what influences my writing, first I have to go back to childhood. I had a very rough childhood—there was no Brady Bunch like life for me when I was little. Besides problems with my stepfather, we lived in a house that was creepy as hell with a lot of black widows in it, and I’m convinced it was haunted. I was psychic even as a child and that sure didn’t help. So horror plays into my books, always, in muted tones and shades of gray.

[...more]
Flames

Vampire Week: Meagan Hatfield’s Shadow of the Vampire

Posted on June 26, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with an exclusive look at the writing process behind author Meagan Hatfield’s SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE. Here, Meagan talks about her path to publishing and offers some insight on her writing process.

As the release day for Shadow of the Vampire inches closer and I chat with more interviewers and newspaper editors, I have realized the one question I dread the most, is unfortunately the most commonly re-occurring one… “What is your writing process?”

Now it seems like such an easy question on the surface. However, it can also be a fully loaded one. It’s like everyone thinks that since you are a “published author” you must have some cookie cutter, fail-proof way to write a book that will not only be stellar in quality, one that will sell and will be a procedure others can follow like an outline and use to create their own books. Um, I hate to burst that preconceived bubble, but…POP! There it goes!

The truth is, there is no one true way to write a book.

[...more]
Flames

Vampire Week: Author Alex Bledsoe on his Vampires

Posted on June 25, 2010 by

FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with an exclusive look into the mind of Alex Bledsoe, an author who has published a series of horror novels with an unusual vampire character. Find out what Alex Bledsoe thinks about vampires, and why they are so meaningful to him as an author.

I’m a long-time fan of the vampire as a literary figure, and believe strongly that to realize its potential, that figure must function as a metaphor for something else. The standard tropes–blood drinking, aversion to sunlight and crosses, unending existence, irresistible sexual attraction–are simply gimmicks without the metaphor’s symbolic context to give them meaning. And what makes the vampire so special is that it can embody so many disparate things while remaining true to its essential nature.

[...more]
Flames

Joe R Lansdale’s Introduction to The Complete Drive-In

Posted on June 17, 2010 by

Last week Eric posted his recent Interview with Joe R. Lansdale here at Flames Rising. One of the titles discussed in that interview was The Complete Drive-In published by Underland Press.

Flames Rising is pleased to present the introduction to this new collection. The Complete Drive-In is available now at Amazon.com.

[...more]
Monica Valentinelli

Girls of Gore: Women of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Posted on May 13, 2010 by

Girls of GoreWhen considering different candidates for the “Girls of Gore,” you can’t help but think of the women in BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Although there was a movie that predated the popular television show, most people think of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s version of the blonde high school student who has a natural talent for killing vamps. With the help of her friends, Buffy overcomes evil time and time again.

Buffy is often at odds with herself, her friends and her family, because she is the reluctant heroine. She doesn’t want to be the slayer, but she does it anyway. She is a very “human” character, unlike some of the ever-so-perfect pulp heroes that seem to have it all. Buffy doesn’t have it all, because it’s difficult for her to find love while kicking all kinds of ass.

[...more]
Jason Thorson

A Nightmare on Elm Street Retrospective

Posted on April 27, 2010 by

Twenty-six years ago horror fans were introduced to arguably the most complex and unique addition to the pantheon of slasher-era icons – Freddy Krueger. He was no stiff mute in a mask, maliciously misusing garden tools as a violent catharsis to purge his mommy-issues. No, Freddy had panache.

First and foremost, Freddy could talk – a simple differentiation that opened up vast new areas to cover that were not navigable to his peers. And Freddy inhabited dreams, another seemingly small difference that yielded an incredibly creative set of rules with which to play for Freddy and his victims alike. Most importantly, there’s the bladed glove – his handcrafted implement of death designed to both terrify and eviscerate sleepy Springwood teenagers. Anybody can pick up a machete or a large kitchen knife and perhaps clear some brush or prepare dinner, but Freddy’s glove had a singular horrible purpose and it, along with his dusty fedora and dirty red and green sweater, is now iconic on a global level.

[...more]
Monica Valentinelli

Girls of Gore: Morticia Addams from The Addams Family

Posted on October 16, 2009 by

*cue ominous music*

They’re creepy and they’re kooky… Mysterious and spooky…

My first nomination for the Girls of Gore series went to Eve from THE MENAGERIE, the world’s first female (and vampire). In this edition of Girls of Gore, I’d like to turn your attention to the lovely Morticia Addams, who is definitely more than what she seems. Now, you might think that Morticia is just another pretty goth that’s all dressed up with nowhere to go, but you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. She may dress in the finest, black gowns and take extra care of her appearance, but Morticia is definitely a Girl of Gore. Why? Well, read on.

[...more]
Flames

Designing Ganakagok: The Certainty of Change

Posted on October 13, 2009 by

Our game design series continues with a new essay from Bill White telling us about his fantasy RPG, Ganakagok.

Ganakagok is a fantasy where characters are members of a tribe that lives in a night-time world on an island of ice who must deal with the coming of the Dawn and the changes it brings. Play involves the use of a deck of cards to generate situation, prompt narration, and inspire characters; each session produces an authentic-seeming myth of an imaginary people.

Designing Ganakagok

When people ask me what my game Ganakagok is about, I say, “It’s a fantasy.” I tell them that it’s about a people called the Nitu, who live on a starlit island of ice in a world where the sun has never risen. They live in darkness, revering the Stars, honoring their Ancestors, and marveling at the handiwork of the Forgotten Ones, who long ago wrought Ganakagok into its current form.

[...more]
Flames

Eddy Webb “Finding Horror in the Eighties”

Posted on May 4, 2009 by

Eddy Webb, Alternative Publishing Developer at White Wolf Publishing, brings us a new design essay today. Eddy tells us how New Wave Requiem was developed, what some of the challenges were and how the project came together.

Finding Horror in the Eighties

New Wave Requiem started as a joke. A bunch of us were clowning around in the Vampire office (where both the developer and art director had their desks) and joked about all the vampire movies in the eighties. The idea stuck in my head long after the conversation ended, and it led to me spending hours doing research, watching movies and constantly rewriting an outline until I really felt that we could do a Vampire product on America in the 1980s and still have it be a horror game.

[...more]
Flames

M. Joseph Young “Multiverser Horror”

Posted on April 13, 2009 by

Author M. Joseph Young has joined our ongoing Horror Design Project here at Flames Rising and tells us a bit about writing horror elements for his Multiverser RPG.

Multiverser Horror

Some people think that horror is easy: dial up the kill rate, and soon every character is terrified.

What, though, if the characters are immortal?

This was the fundamental question we had to face in writing horror scenarios for Multiverser. Player characters are “versers”. Death is the doorway to take you to the next world, and the next world is where the next adventure awaits. Dial up the death rate, and for the verser it becomes a game of choosing how to die, how to end the horror and get somewhere nicer. Thus if we were going to create horror scenarios, we were going to have to figure out how to frighten someone who is completely unafraid of death. That meant understanding fear, and its more fundamental causes. Here are a few of the things we learned. Each has value.

[...more]
Monica Valentinelli

A Look at the Origin of Horror Tropes

Posted on March 14, 2009 by

As a horror and dark fantasy writer and fan of the genre for years, I’ve noticed certain horror tropes that are used time and time again. For example, in supernatural horror you will almost always see the pentagram used as a satanic symbol and the story will typically revolve around the Catholic religion. In slasher flicks, typically there’s always one modelesque female who ends up getting slaughtered viciously in a gory bloodfest. Vampire stories range from the horrific to the romantic, but almost always center around a Master Vampire who is deathly allergic to sunlight. I’m sure you can name several horror tropes that you recognize, but do you know where these tropes began?

[...more]
Matt-M-McElroy

Player’s Handbook 2: A Look at the Shaman

Posted on March 13, 2009 by

From the bright towns and darkened wilderness they come: mighty heroes intent on exploring dungeons, slaying monsters and battling evil.

The Player’s Handbook 2 offers Dungeons & Dragons players new options with new Races, Classes and more. This book introduces the primal power source, which draws on the spirits that preserve and sustain the world. Wizards of the Coast has offered up a handful of previews and excerpts on the Dungeons & Dragons website and a few lucky gamers out there have already received their pre-ordered copies of the book (some have even posted spoiler threads if you have the energy to dig through them).

Flames Rising was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the book for review and we are teaming up with a handful of other websites to explore some of the new options being made available to players of Dungeons & Dragons. Specifically we are going to be taking a look at the Shaman Class today. After our Look at the Shaman you will find a series of links to other sites examining other sections of the book.

[...more]
Flames

The EVE Online Retail Box and You

Posted on February 26, 2009 by

If Science Fiction is Your Thing…

…then, come March 10, you will be a very happy camper indeed! That is the day that Atari and CCP Games will be releasing the ultra popular MMORPG EVE Online to the retail world. And why, do you ask, would this be any different than, say, subscribing online? Several very good reasons, one of which is financial and the other is simply geekish.

First, the financial aspect. EVE Online will be retailing for about $34.95, which is a good $15 cheaper than many new games that come out.

Written by Joe Rixman

[...more]
Jason Thorson

Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 2

Posted on February 11, 2009 by

Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 1 wrapped up with Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Be sure to check out Retrospective Part 1 before continuing here.

There are so many Friday the 13th movies, even this retrospective gets a sequel. So let’s continue with our bloody stalk down memory lane as we try to answer the question: Despite these movies being so bad, why do I and millions of others love them?

Jason Thorson

[...more]
Jason Thorson

Hurts so Good: A Friday the 13th Retrospective Part 1

Posted on February 8, 2009 by

On February 13th, 2009 a new installment of horror cinema’s most prolific series opens, unlocking Camp Crystal Lake and unleashing Jason Voorhees on yet another generation of horror fans. By way of Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes, Marcus Nispel’s (Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake 2003) Friday the 13th re-imagining/remake will mark the twelfth time in the last 29 years that we’ve been given the opportunity to spend an hour and a half at Camp blood.

The Friday the 13th films are guilty pleasures one and all. They’ve contributed as much to the global pop cultural make up as any other film or film series made. The iconography in these movies is among the most recognizable, comparable to The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. The hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding maniac is now considered cliché. Harry Manfredini’s musical score has been imitated arguably more than any other. And we all know what happens to those morally bankrupt youngsters who have sex, do drugs, and decide the investigate strange noises – rules that have become permanent fixtures in the horror genre.

Jason Thorson

[...more]
Flames

Maurice Broaddus “Religion and Horror”

Posted on January 8, 2009 by

A new horror design essay has arrived here at Flames Rising. Author Maurice Broaddus tells us a bit about the creative process that went into his recent project with Wrath James White.

Religion and Horror

Some people have asked about what the thought process behind bringing Orgy of Souls to light. So I thought I would explore that for a bit.

At the World Horror Convention 2007, Wrath James White and I were telling award-winning writer, Gary Braunbeck about our collaboration. If I could capture a facial expression of his reaction to just the IDEA of the two of us writing together, and use it as a blurb, I most certainly would have done so.

Wrath James White and I have very little in common beyond being bald, black horror writers. Our writing styles, our lifestyles, our politics, our worldviews, our spiritual perspectives – on paper, we shouldn’t even be friends.

[...more]
Flames

Joe Rixman “Ancient Vampire Tales”

Posted on November 12, 2008 by

The Horror Design Essay Project continues today with a little something from freelance writer Joe Rixman. Joe recently took part in our Halloween Horror series with the Tear-Drop Rattler.

Today he is going to tell us a bit about the work he did on a couple of books for White Wolf’s Vampire: the Requiem RPG.

Ancient Vampire Tales

I was lucky enough to be friends with a writer at White Wolf who thought my writing was good enough to open a couple doors. Thankfully, Matt McFarland signed me on for two books that he was developing freelance for Vampire, Ancient Mysteries and its sister book, Ancient Bloodlines. I have to tell you that I am probably the luckiest guy in the world to have gotten this opportunity and grateful to both the developers and the other writers I had the chance to work with on them. As to the actual books…

[...more]
Flames

Paul Alabaster “Chasing His Nightmares”

Posted on November 6, 2008 by

Our ongoing Horror Design Essay Project has a new contribution today. Horror author Paul Alabaster offers a peak into his creative writing process and gives us a look at what he has in store for the future…

Chasing His Nightmares

My love of stories came from my mother – Jacqueline. I always remember whilst tucked up in bed, my mother reading me bedtime stories of Winnie the Pooh. I would listen with eager delight to what misadventures Pooh Bear had gotten himself (and his ever-forgiving friends) in to. Another beloved treasure I adored my mother reading to me was C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

[...more]
Monica Valentinelli

Do you Know the History of Halloween?

Posted on October 5, 2008 by

Like the origin of the number 666 in our pop culture, Halloween conjures claims that it’s a satanic, violent holiday. Horror movies like the Halloween series with Michael Myers have fictionalized this view for decades. Recently, Rob Zombie offered his version of the Halloween remake review which happened almost thirty years after the Halloween movie debuted in 1978. With many myths and urban legends circulating about the safety of Halloween night — you may remember your parents warning you about the razor blade in the apple — is it any wonder that in some circles Halloween has gotten a bad rap?

[...more]

11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

    Monthly Newsletter Sign Up

    join our monthly mailing list
    * indicates required

    The Devil’s Night WoD SAS

    Free Devil's Night | White Wolf

    Become a Fan on Facebook!

    Reviews Wanted!

    The new Review Guidelines have been posted on the Flames Rising website. We are currently seeking a few good reviewers to help us expand our collection of horror and dark fantasy reviews. RPGs, fiction, movies, video games and more are all welcome on the site...

    What do you get out of it?

    Beyond helping out fellow Flames Rising readers by letting them know what you think of these products, we're giving away some pretty cool stuff. Regular Reviewers can earn free products to review, which is their to keep after the review is submitted to the site.

    Note: We are especially looking for folks interested in reviewing eBooks (both Fiction & Comics). We have lots of great titles in digital format and even get advance copies sometimes.

    Use the Contact Page to submit reviews or let us know if you have any questions.