Posted on October 17, 2016 by Billzilla
Many of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, while considered classics of literature today, don’t often match up with modern literary sensibilities. It was somewhat surprising for me then, to come across Red Stylo Media’s The Twisted Poe Anthology, an excellent collection of seven original tales inspired by the works of Poe. Published in 2011, this collection does not consist of adaptations — retellings of Poe stories — but rather, a brand new batch of original tales in the same spirit as Poe’s work. All of the individual stories are available as digital downloads for 99 cents each; I have added links to the descriptions of those stories for convenience’s sake.
The first story, “Absolution”, is written by Jason Ciaramella and illustrated by Enrique “Zeke” Savory, Jr. Absolution is a tragic tale of loss and guilt inspired by Poe’s poem “The Raven.”
Posted on October 10, 2015 by Flames
Popcorn Press is a small press publisher that has been producing Halloween-themed books of haikus, poems, and short fiction for the past few years. Each year the publisher picks a theme, like vampires, zombies, or Cthulhu, and collects a tightly-focused collection filled with poems written by dozens of writers ranging from Elaine Cunningham to Matt […]
Posted on September 8, 2015 by Billzilla
Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures by Theresa Bane
There have been an awful lot of demons mentioned in the bible, the Koran, the Torah, in classical literature, and elsewhere. You practically need a scorecard to keep track of all of them. McFarland & Company Publishers has produced a massive volume cataloging the numerous evil entities from the void, The Encyclopedia of Demons in World Religions and Cultures.
Collected by Theresa Bane, this work includes a vast array of not only demons, but includes references to and entries for angelic entities, as well as a few with less clearly defined loyalties. These entities were written about in the religious texts of such diverse faiths as Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Ashurism, and from such ancient cultures as Sumeria, China, Scythians, Mayans, and many African cultures.
Posted on January 2, 2012 by Flames
The Shroud of the Ancients D5 Role Playing Game is Dark Tavern Press first game. Created by Randy Miller and Roderick Edwards, it is the product more than 50 years of combined RPG tabletop gaming and over 15 years of combined adventure writing and game design. Dark Tavern’s goal is to continually create the best quality RPGs and gaming accessories possible. It is our aspiration to entice tabletop top gamers looking for an alternative to the status quo with this project and to help us raise enough money to bring the Shroud of the Ancients™ D5 Role Playing Game to tabletop enthusiasts everywhere.
Our Kickstarter goal is set at only $5,000 and this covers mostly artwork, design, layout, editing and production costs for the Adventurer’s Guide to Terrath.
Posted on December 17, 2011 by Billzilla
Being a fledgling author, I had often pondered what it would be like to participate in a public reading of one’s own work. I recently had the chance to find out. I agreed to assist in the promotion of Haunted: 11 Tales Of Ghostly Horror (Flames Rising Press, 2011), particularly since, as a contributor to the anthology, I have a personal stake in how well the book sells. Knowing that readings could help us immensely by generating interest and word-of-mouth advertising, I cast about town looking for likely venues.
It turns out that bookstores are good choices for readings, as one might expect. Also good, and perhaps not as obvious a choice in our Internet-driven culture, are public library branches.
Posted on September 7, 2011 by Flames
Stew Wilson from Zero Point Information is here to tell us about his new game Black Seven. A modern espionage RPG, Black Seven isinspired by stealth-action games like Deus Ex, Alpha Protocol, and Splinter Cell.
Infiltrating BLACK SEVEN
BLACK SEVEN started life in my throw-away ideas file, a couple of notes for a system that, at the time, I wasn’t able to make work. That time was 2004, and I was re-playing Deus Ex for the fourth time. Under the effects of too much strong coffee, I hacked White Wolf’s Trinity so that I could run Deus Ex-like games. I never had a chance to try it, and I was left with niggling little ideas that wouldn’t go away that wouldn’t work in my proposed hack.
Posted on August 12, 2011 by Billzilla
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.
Posted on July 14, 2011 by Nix
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.
Posted on June 28, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli
What do FlamesRising.com readers and me have in common? A love for all things geek, of course!
Yesterday, I launched a theme week on my blog at www.mlvwrites.com about all things girly and geeky. This week-long celebration is due, in part, to my new column debuting in July on the Geeks Dream Girl website about freelancing for the hobby games industry. What better way to say “I like being a geek” than to enjoy a fun contest!?!
Posted on May 12, 2011 by Nancy
Hiram Grange is a bizarro-world James Bond. So far described as an “extremely ugly” man with “piercing blue eyes and a hawkish nose,” a man that nevertheless “moves with a deadly grace,” Grange can give picture-perfect, shaken-not-stirred Bond a run for his money. Hiram has a way with the ladies and has repeatedly saved the world, despite his predilection for alcohol (particularly absinthe, though Bushmills Irish Whiskey plays a large role in Chosen One). Oh, and he also has an unhealthy obsession with Jodie Foster.
In Chosen One, Kevin Lucia brings to light a different side of Hiram, one less encumbered by his vices and more concerned about saving the girl and the world.
Posted on April 18, 2011 by DecapitatedDan
“What if you could wish revenge on everyone who makes your life hell, and someone (or something) would do the dirty work for you? When bullied Deacon learns the dark past of his small town Texas high school, he discovers a vengeful ritual used to wreak havoc on his enemies – like the school’s all-star quarterback. But when Deacon wakes up covered in someone else’s blood, he realizes that the ritual was no childish game. And with every passing day the lines blur between the payback he envisioned and the revenge he’s commiting.”
Why what do we have here? Another great looking comic by Paper Street Comics is what. I will just say that I deducted half a point only because of the neck on the final page. Other than that this book is a treat to the eyes. It has a kind of tv cartoon feel to it.
Posted on January 26, 2011 by Flames
Flames Rising is pleased to present Black Angels, a story by Michael Jasper, which is part of the Gunning for the Buddha anthology. Gunning for the Buddha is available now at DriveThruHorror.com.
Author Michael Jasper has this to say about Black Angels:
“Black Angels” started with a picture and a memory, of a statue in an Iowa City graveyard. The rest came to me as I was daydreaming on my commute home from work one day. The statue from the story really does exist, in an Iowa City cemetery. Every freshman learns about it while attending the University of Iowa. The Black Angel is spooky. Especially at night…
Posted on December 16, 2010 by Flames
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.
Posted on November 1, 2010 by Megan
You might think that it was bad enough to be locked up on an automated spaceship and sent off on a one-way journey to an unknown destination in the company of people even nastier than yourself… but that’s only the start of it. Science-fiction meets horror meets prison drama in this game – and digging a tunnel to freedom is not an option.
Chapter 1: History sets the scene, explaining the political, historical and societal changes on Earth that have led to the development of this rather drastic solution to the age-old question of what do you do with those people too mad, bad or inconvenient to fit in to normal society. Based on rather dodgy psychological theory, people were assessed for their potential to commit violent crime and those deemed most likely to become violent got locked away before they even had a chance to do something wrong.
Posted on October 15, 2010 by Megan
The underlying concept to this game seems simple: you set up a situation in which things will go wrong, disastrously so, and then play it out as a collaborative story-telling game, taking the part of the main protagonists. That’s straightforward enough, but bolted on is a complex resolution mechanic that jolts you out of storytelling mode to administer – while giving structure to what could otherwise dissolve into chaos around the game-table (as opposed to in the situation you’re playing, where you WANT chaos!) it detracts from the interactive no-holds-barred narrative flow of the game.
Designed for 3-5 players (no GM required) and to take about three hours to play out, even the design process is very structured. Called The Setup, you start by determining when and where the game will take place, and then insert relationships and details to engineer your situation. But it’s not done by purely throwing out ideas until your mix feels explosive enough to begin, but through a system called a Playset. As a scenario-design system, it’s quite a beautiful mix of creativity and randomization. Each Playset comes with lists, you see, and once you have chosen a published one or made up your own, you roll a whole bunch of dice and take turns to choose items from the lists, each time using a die that’s rolled the appropriate number.
Posted on October 7, 2010 by DecapitatedDan
For the most part this is a nice looking black and white comic. I enjoyed how the dream sequences were not inked to set them apart it gave them a nice hazy feeling, a cool touch. The characters are very consistent from panel to panel and have a fun look to them. My only downside was that at times they seemed to be a little flat due to shading. However it doesn’t take away from the whole. A nice job overall and one creepy looking sea monster towards the end.
The tag line across the cover sums this one up “It’s a B movie in a comic book!” Cheesy dialogue on top of a descent storyline make this one interesting. What kind of got to me were the rushed scenes where I would have liked more explanation. I think the character for a first issue could have used a little more depth to them. What did work well here was a great idea overall that leads me to want to read more to find out what happens next.
Posted on July 30, 2010 by Billzilla
While the full moon rarely has a dramatic an effect on most people, there are some who will admit that they can feel the pull of the moon, at least in subtle ways — and crime statistics bear this out year after year. For those rare few for whom the moon activates a profound curse, the world becomes a different place entirely – a world filled with soft, slow creatures to be hunted, attacked and devoured. Give thanks that those with such a curse are still a rarity…
In Curse of the Full Moon, James Lowder has collected 19 tales from an impressive collection of horror luminaries: George R.R. Martin, Ursula LeGuin, Ramsey Campbell, Charles DeLint, Michael Moorcock and Neil Gaiman are just a few of the names any fan of contemporary fiction will recognize, but the list doesn’t end there. Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy A. Collins, Peter S. Beagle, Gene Wolfe and Harlan Ellison also contribute tales to this collection.
Posted on July 19, 2010 by DecapitatedDan
“Rome wasn’t built in a day… but it may crumble in one. Titans battle in the arena. A thumb turns down. A sword comes down. A dead man… stands up? Racing through dark, narrow tunnels beneath the Colosseum, two heroes and a child join together to escape their pursuers. Pursuers who were once men. Hungry men. Undead men. Rombies. Friends, Romans, Countrymen… Lend me your brains!“
Have you ever picked up a book where you knew the tone of the story just from the art? Well that is what you have here. A beautifully done issue, that the art really depicts what is going on in the story. Gore-geous looking zombies and nice crisp panels page after page.
Posted on July 1, 2010 by Flames
Fantasist Enterprises is offering lifetime subscriptions to its line of anthologies and novels in an effort to raise funds for their next anthology, Fantastical Visions V. The fundraiser is taking place from June 15 to July 31 on Kickstarter.com, a web site devoted to helping creative projects, events, and dreams come to life. “We’re offering lifetime subscriptions to the Fantastical Visions series, as well as our main line of fantasy and horror books, in order to publish the anthology, and to generate seed money that will help us grow as a company and work with more authors,” says publisher and editor-in-chief William Horner. “If we raise enough capital, we have several projects in the works that we will be able to complete right away. We’ll then reopen for submissions.”
Posted on December 9, 2008 by Flames
Holy hell, what a game.
A couple years ago, the folks at Dark Matter Studios released an RPG called Epic Role-Playing. It was a game I enjoyed, found very well-crafted for a first attempt, and ended up giving a generally positive review to. However, one of the complaints I (and several other reviewers) noted was that Epic was too segmented. The original Epic came in 4 parts—the Rules Manual, Bestiary, Book of the Arcane, and Atlas of Eslin (the default setting for Epic, which also listed many of the guilds/profession available). This compartmentalization was likely a big turn-off to many who otherwise may have given the game a try.
Review by Zach Houghton