Read my Guest Post about Dracula on the Crackle.com Blog

Crackle.com LogoFolks, I’m pleased to announce that I have a guest post over at Crackle.com.The best part about Crackle.com, is that you can legally watch original and older content for free online — without a lot of commercials! As part of their Halloween celebration, they’re offering really, fun movies for fans to watch like GHOSTBUSTERS and CANDYMAN.

When they asked me what vampire movie I wanted to write about, I initially chose FRIGHT NIGHT as my first pick. When they had mentioned that they needed someone to write about BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, I was interested because I’ve often considered the film to be a “paranormal romance.”

In the novel, Mina does not return the Count’s love. In the film, she not only returns his love, she pities him and fights for him. This is an important difference between the two because this version of Dracula does eventually find forgiveness from the same God he turned his back on centuries ago. The phrase “the blood is the life” holds layers of significance here as well: the blood of God and the vampires’ primary sustenance. — SOURCE: Love, Blood and Fangs: Bram Stoker’s Dracula at Crackle.com

If you’re interested, I invite you to check out my post on Crackle.com’s blog. Remember, you can then watch BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA for free, too. Enjoy!

Life in Crazytown, New Releases and a Favor

First? I need to offer all of you an apology. I haven’t been blogging lately, because things have been a “bit” busy on this end. After my appearance in Indianapolis for GenCon, things slowed down a bit in September, but quickly picked back up. Why? Can’t talk about all of it, but I can talk about some of it. Blasted Non-Disclosure Agreements!

Halloween and White Wolf

As project manager for FlamesRising.com, every year we do something special for Halloween. Last year, we offered Halloween flash fiction from several authors including E.E. Knight, Matt Forbeck and Jess Hartley. This year, we decided to pitch a gaming-related idea to White Wolf Publishing. After some “tough” negotiations (*sarcastic*), I wrote and designed DEVIL’S NIGHT: a free Storytelling Adventure System Scene for the World of Darkness, which was released today. This type of release is “huge” for FlamesRising.com, because this is the first time we have partnered with a publisher to offer free gaming material on the site for fans. If you’re interested in reading more about the design process, check out this post entitled, “Devil’s Night: White Wolf, FlamesRising.com and your Free One-Scene.”

Today, Matt is going to be flying down to Atlanta for the International Camarilla Convention (ICC). This was a spur-of-the-moment trip that was made possible by White Wolf. With our trip to Las Vegas only a week away, we did some scrambling to ensure we had some great content for you on the site for Halloween. Special thanks to Jess Hartley who also pitched in this year. She wrote a great guest post entitled 13 Etiquette Tips for Halloween as part of her One Geek to Another series.

Upcoming Appearance at NeonCon in Las Vegas

Next week Thursday, I’ll be flying out to Las Vegas for NeonCon and…well…Vegas. I have been confirmed as a guest with Jess Hartley on the Women in Gaming panel. Even though I’m going to enjoy some time away from the computer, this will be a fun trip to reconnect with some of my friends in the industry.

Novel Revisions and Original Fiction

After I got back from GenCon, I had a panic moment. You see, I definitely want to continue writing for the gaming industry and pursue some media tie-in fiction opportunities, but I also want to leverage that with my original fiction. I have some breakthroughs on that front, and have gone back to start revising ARGENTUM. The novel isn’t coming along as well as I had hoped, and some last-minute projects have kind of taken over my brain. I know I need a vacation, which is why this trip to Vegas will be well-deserved.

Guest Posts on SFWA, Writing Groups and Crackle.com

I’ve started to expand my non-fiction guest blogging, so be sure to hop on over and read my guest posts by Monica Valentinelli on SFWA.org if you haven’t already. The folks over at SFWA.org are really doing some great things by keeping up on current events, so definitely bookmark the site and follow-up when you can. Also, I have a guest post going up on the Crackle.com site soon. I’m really excited about it, because it offered me the chance to get really detailed about a horror film, which is part of the reason why I started the Girls of Gore series on FlamesRising.com. If you enjoy that sort of detailed criticism, I recommend checking out some of Mary Robinette Kowal‘s or Ken Hite‘s non-fiction works.

In addition to guest blogging, I’ve been attending some local events for writers, too.

So That’s Life in Crazytown

So that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. There’s a lot I can’t talk about, but let’s just say that I’m very excited about the next, few months for many reasons. First, “the day job” at my wonderful employer Musicnotes.com sheet music picks up as we head into the holiday season. It’s going to be frantic-but-fun as we ensure that we fulfill song requests for our customers and provide them with a great experience. Outside of work, I’m looking forward to the snow and cold weather. There are some long, wintry nights ahead and I’m definitely ready to sit in my writer’s cave and get some projects done.

The Favor I Need to Ask

Because I need to focus on paying gigs, I have to be more selective about my non-paying opportunities and time spent on social media. Please, please, please keep me updated with what you’re all up to. I enjoy reading about my fellow authors and game designers, and I hope that you have wonderful news to share as well.

Well, that’s it for me. Back to making brownies in the shape of ghosts and getting reading for another music-filled day. Take care!

[Video] Printing Process for THE LOST SYMBOL

This YouTube! video shows the printing process for Dan Brown’s THE LOST SYMBOL. I thought you might enjoy seeing how a book is “born,” because there’s a lot of work involved. From the video, you can see how the cover art is etched by hand!

Songs for the Cyclical Nature of Publishing

I’ve been really busy working on revisions for ARGENTUM and a few gaming-related things that have popped up. In between thinking about all the cool projects I’ve been working on and lamenting my novel revisions, I heard a song in my head. Literally. That song was “Bang Your Head” by Quiet Riot. I thought to myself how that was the perfect song when I’m engaging in “writer’s avoidance behavior,” otherwise known as writer’s block.

From Quiet Riot to Muse, here’s my pick for songs that represent key moments in my life as a writer.

    When You’ve Been Rejected: I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor really says it best for me.

    When You’ve Got a Check in the Mail: Big Spender from the musical SWEET CHARITY. Because that’s how fast the money goes!

    Why I Can’t Work for Free: I Work Hard For The Money by Donna Summers. Seriously.

    When You Need to Re-Write Your Manuscript: Here I Go Again by Whitesnake. ‘Cause it won’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last.

    When You’ve Been Plagiarized: Play The Unforgiven by Metallica and you’ll feel a helluva lot better.

    When You’re Finally Making a Living as a Writer: At Last by Etta James and, of course, Take This Job and Shove It by Johnny Paycheck.

    When You Have to go Back and get a Day Job: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ by Jessica Simpson is a lot of fun, too. Definitely a song about that “one day” scenario.

    When Your InBox is Too Full: Yes, I know you might want to Beat It by Michael Jackson, but remember –> There’s either Somethin’ In The Swamp by Shel Silverstein or a piece of Sunken Treasure by Wilco. (In other words, you never know what you’re going to find, so DIG IN!)

    When You Want to Give Up: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey is an obvious choice, but I also like It’s My Life by Bon Jovi. Because really, it’s now or never!

    When You’re On Deadline: Final Countdown by Europe or Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley.

    When You’re Celebrating or Hit Goal: Dance Magic Dance by David Bowie and 1999 by Prince. For me, I like anything by Queen. We are the Champions is especially good.

    When You’re Depressed: Anything by Type O Negative will keep you depressed. Anything by They Might Be Giants will remind you you’re sane. Of course, there’s fun songs like Funkytown by Lipps, Inc. or Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas that will make you giggle, too.

    When You’ve Gotten a Bad Review: The Show Must Go On by Queen. Yes, bad reviews suck. But guess what? You just gotta keep going!

    When You’ve Got Writer’s Block: My writer’s group tells me that writer’s block is really writer’s “avoidance” behavior. To help boost my creativity, I usually default to music I normally don’t listen to, so I can get out of my normal mode. (E.G. Musicals or Disney-related.) If I’m really, really, really stuck I’ll listen to very annoying high-energy dance music to psych myself up. Pump Up The Volume by MAARS is a good one for that. Otherwise, I’d definitely go with Bang Your Head by Quiet Riot.

    When You Screwed Up: Sing For Absolution by Muse. (I heart MUSE!)

    When You’re Writing: Anything instrumental works for me, especially music by Nox Arcana or movie soundtrack scores. Of course, sometimes I need absolute silence, too.

    When You’re Working with a Great Editor: I don’t know about you, but great editors are my heroes/heroines. So [insert superhero theme of choice] here.

    When You’re Not Working with a Great Editor: Hate To Say I Told You So by The Hives and No More Lies by Iron Maiden.

    When You’re Being Pulled in Too Many Directions: Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi.

Well, that’s all the songs in my head right now. I’m sure if I thought about it, I could come up with more songs that represent different aspects in the publishing cycle. For now though, these are the moments that really sing to me. Literally.

Happy writing!

Writer’s Block? Check out this Horror Plot Generator

ready-set-scareIt’s often funny how I get ideas from the weirdest places. Last month at a writer’s meet-up, we were presented with some word lists to help foster our creativity for character types. Before I went to the meeting, I was having a terrible week. (I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about.) I was in that black pit of despair, to the point where I just couldn’t write or be social, which pissed me off even more. Enter the writer’s group and its profound effect on my psyche.

Coming out of that meeting, I was so energized that I thought about how cool it might be to create this random horror plot generator for FlamesRising.com, to share with other authors and game designers.

So that’s exactly what we did. Here’s an example:

A centaur with the ability to manipulate pheromones, whose home base is in a state-of-the-art gymnasium, wants to build a time machine. Supported by bees, the centaur appears to have one weakness – friendly puppies. Interestingly enough, the centaur can write hieroglyphics.–SOURCE: Horror Plot Generator

Over several hours of interesting word choices and some fancy hours of programming from our PHP god, FlamesRising.com now has a random horror plot generator that people can enjoy. When I was working on this, I kind of went a little nutso with some of the word choices, so the generated plots range from paranormal romance to modern horror and every possible permutation in between. There are some pretty silly ideas that will generate, but there’s also some nuggets of inspiration there, too.

I’d like to invite you to check out the horror plot generator on FlamesRising.com when you need a little pick-me-up. It was a lot of fun to work on, and I hope that it inspires you like it did me.

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