Archive | August, 2009

Personal Effects: Dark Arts Preview

Posted on August 14, 2009 by

Written by J.C. Hutchins, Personal Effects: Dark Arts is a multi-media thriller that was released in June 2009 through St. Martin’s Press. Created by game mogul Jordan Weisman, this book is a one-of-a-kind experience where you — the reader — can interact with the clues and the storyline through voicemail messages, ID cards and photos, additional websites, etc. Featured here below are two chapters from this unique, thrilling experience.

Chapter One

If by some miracle I survive my twenties, I am certain I’ll look back on today and think, This was the day I began to lose my mind.


The Prophet Graphic Novel Review

Posted on August 13, 2009 by

Can violence solve every problem in the world when applied correctly? Is a quick hand and a quicker trigger finger going to save the world when it really counts? And what about the morality of the common action hero…they look cool as they smoke cigars and fire their guns John Wu style, but are their methods the solution or the problem?

The Prophet is a crime noir comic from Dangerkatt Creative Studios. Set in Mexico, the main character is an underworld assassin by the name of the Prophet. After a series of disturbing dreams, where a black devil keeps offering him deals that would make him the most powerful man on the planet, he has decided he will quit after one last job. Well, a couple of last jobs, it seems. If he can score the Frontera Shipment, which is the largest shipment of drugs across the border into the US, then he believes he and the team he recruits will be able to retire.


Little Fears Nightmare Edition Preview Door #4: Creatures in the Library

Posted on August 12, 2009 by

lfnebutterflyWelcome to the fourth of the 13 Doors: an exclusive look behind the door at the upcoming Little Fears Nightmare Edition – The Game of Childhood Terror.

Door #4: Creatures in the Library

If you’ve been following the updates on, you’ve seen that I’ve been talking about some of the books and movies that inspired Little Fears Nightmare Edition. I want to expand on that and not just talk about the things that inspired me—which I will continue to do on the website—but talk about what I was looking for in that inspiration.

Since before I was in its target audience, I’ve been drawn to that nebulous category called Young Adult Fiction. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I soaked up all I could, reading such books at Jane Yolen’s Pit Dragon Trilogy, the Not Quite Human series, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, and Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels.


Demon Mistress Fiction Review

Posted on August 12, 2009 by

As the sixth book in the Otherworld series, Demon Mistress offers a blend of new characters and plot twists that are built the foundation of what Galenorn has written throughout her books. Demon Mistress is told from the point-of-view of Menolly, a half-vampire/half-fae woman who is part of the D’Artigo sisters. Who are the D’Artigo sisters?

Menolly, Camille, and Delilah are the D’Artigo Sisters—half-human, half-Faerie operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Their latest assignment is to root out the secret society responsible for unleashing chaos magic against the city—and to stop a demon from devouring Delilah’s soul. –SOURCE: Description of Demon Mistress


Primer Movie Review

Posted on August 11, 2009 by

Be it in the real world or the fiction realm there aren’t that many themes that manage to give me the creeps: it’s not that I am a particularly brave (nor picky) individual, it’s more that I am rather rational and find it difficult to empathize with other people’s irrational feelings: say Carpenter, for example, if immensely enjoyable, isn’t going to give me cold sweats. Of course, there are exceptions like social, psychedelic or metaphysical horror, especially subjects that fiddle with the notion of paradox.

I grabbed Primer in the room of my friend during an afternoon of boredom. After reading the phrase “Donnie Darko for Grown Ups” on the DVD cover, I slipped it in the DVD player. Donnie Darko has always been a mystery for me, as my opinion has conflicted with the opinion of most of my friends.


Preview of The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Posted on August 10, 2009 by is proud to offer you a preview for the book The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.


Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 Is a New York Times Best Seller

Posted on August 9, 2009 by

Archaia is proud to announce that Archaia’s own Mouse Guard Vol. 2: Winter 1152 by David Petersen has debuted at #4 on The New York Times Hardcover Graphic Books Best Seller List, week ending August 1.

The rankings on the list, according to The New York Times, “reflect sales of graphic novels, for the week ending August 1, at many thousands of venues where a wide range of books are sold nationwide. These include hundreds of independent book retailers (statistically weighted to represent all such outlets); national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; university, gift, supermarket, discount department stores and newsstands. In addition, these rankings also include unit sales reported by retailers nationwide that specialize in graphic novels and comic books.”


The House Always Wins a free Geist: The Sin-Eaters SAS

Posted on August 9, 2009 by

Angelo looks around the joint, seeing only marks. Back-room poker is always a mug’s game. Every card dealt brings the unlucky ones closer to losing everything—the shirt on their backs, next month’s rent and more. Some schmucks end up with a gun in their hand, doing some of Lucky Joe’s less pleasant work to pay off their debt.

The hand’s over. One man smiles, greed painted across his face. With a nod from Joe, Angelo takes a seat at the table, in on the game. Time to take it all back.

A free Storytelling Adventure System scene and character for use with Geist: The Sin-Eaters.

The House Always Wins is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.


What is Shared World, Tie-In and Fan Fiction?

Posted on August 8, 2009 by

The words “fan fiction” mean different things to different people. To some, fan fiction is an enjoyable pastime, where people read and/or write for their favorite settings. To others, fan fiction fosters ideas about poor quality and a lack of professionalism. No matter what you personally think fan fiction is, however, the publishing industry has its own definition for fan fiction. This definition is not based on a judgment of quality, but rather – on business.

This past year I’ve been at several conventions, and I’ve interacted with many people who found out how much they love to write through fan fiction. Because these writers were not aware of the differences between fan fiction, shared world or media tie-in, I felt that they were treated a bit dismissively. In my opinion, most new authors really don’t know the first thing about the publishing industry, and I’d like to help clear up some of the confusion I’ve witnessed by sharing the definitions of fan, shared world and media tie-in fiction with some examples.


Reactions to the new WotC Fan Site Policy

Posted on August 7, 2009 by

Wizards of the Coast has just posted the new Fan Site Kit Policy for those interested in putting together a fansite for D&D 4th Edition (and it apparently covers Magic: the Gathering as well). Reactions have been…rather mixed so far:

The Seven-Sided Die has a good post called Wizards’ Fan Site Kit is not a fan site policy that is worth reading.

Geek Related tells us Wizards Fan Site Policy – What It’s Good For.


Block by Bloody Block RPG Review

Posted on August 7, 2009 by

White Wolf appears to be currently composed of scientists rather than writers. There is simply too much experimentation going on with these guys. They have released pre-generated characters for players who need that sort of thing. With Block by Bloody Block, they release pre-generated parts of a city. This isn’t a [insert city here] by Night book. No, these are the sections of any city, ready to be dropped into whatever city fancies your gaming group. The question becomes if the scientists are congratulating themselves over champagne or staring dumbfounded with charcoal-blackened faces and lab-coats.

The layout of this supplement remains true to the Hunter: the Vigil line (this game is intended for players of that game or the basic World of Darkness corebook).


Defining Genre: Not Quite Paranormal Romance

Posted on August 6, 2009 by

Last week, I talked about the paranormal romance novels that are easy to identify. So, what about paranormal novels that have lots of romance in them but don’t follow the category formula? Or what about novels that sort of follow the formula but have really deep world-building and a plot that reads more like an urban fantasy novel? Some paranormal romances read like romances with paranormal elements slapped on for fun, and others read like serious works of urban fantasy with a romance formula moving beneath the surface. Those are the cases where it’s harder to tell what you’re reading.

I struggled with Meljean Brook’s “The Guardians” series when I first read it because the world building was much deeper than paranormal romances I’d read before, and while the hero and heroine go through the usual pattern, there’s so much at stake in the series that the couple getting together doesn’t necessarily promise an HEA. The whole series also has a larger overarching plot that thickens with each episode, instead of getting closer to a resolution.


The Keepers (Hunter: the Vigil) Review

Posted on August 5, 2009 by

The first time I reviewed one of White Wolf’s ready-made character collections (Slaughterhouse V), I wrote a bit about experimentation and the benefits of pre-made characters.

Now that I’m reviewing my second character collection–this time a group of Hunters–I’ll blur right past that noise. This collection shows that none of the White Wolf lines gets special treatment as the Hunter the Vigil supplement receives its own supplementary material. In this twenty-six page (no ads) PDF, a five-person group of relative strangers band together after a notas- dead-as-they-thought party girl ends up fusing their lives together.

The layout to the PDF is amazing. Sometimes I feel the borders in games are a little hit and miss; however, the borders to this character collection fit perfectly.


Little Fears Nightmare Edition Preview Door #3: Monster Factory

Posted on August 5, 2009 by

Welcome to the third of the 13 Doors: an exclusive look behind the door at the upcoming Little Fears Nightmare Edition – The Game of Childhood Terror.

Door #3: Monster Factory

Little Fears Nightmare Edition is a game about kids fighting monsters. We already know about the kids, so what about the monsters?

The monsters in Little Fears Nightmare Edition can come from anywhere, that’s part of what makes them so much fun. Monsters can come from your own bad dreams, the fears of the players, urban legends, myths, cryptozoology, regular old zoology, a movie, literature—anywhere. Monsters in Little Fears are anything people fear. Fear is what gives them life, shape, form, power. Without people fearing them, they’re not really monsters at all.


An Interview with the authors of City in the Sand

Posted on August 3, 2009 by

City in the Sand is a new Mind’s Eye Theatre product from White Wolf using the Storytelling Adventure System. This is the first MET product using the SAS format and I was immediately curious about how the format would work in a live-action environment. Let’s just say I was impressed with the overall quality of City in the Sand and at the amount of cool stuff that was included in this product.

I contacted the folks at White Wolf and had the chance to talk to the authors (Eddy Webb, Kelley Barnes and Jess Hartley) about the design of the product and a bit about Mind’s Eye Theatre in general.


Check Out the New SFWA Website and My Article!

Posted on August 2, 2009 by

Folks, I am pleased to share with you that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have just rolled out a brand new website located at This look and feel, in my opinion, was a much needed face lift to not only bring the website’s technology and design up-to-date, but also to highlight […]


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