Now Live! Rethinking Horror in Games Interview with Dr Megan Connell

If you recall, a few weeks ago I shared the story behind my Rethinking Horror in Games Interview with Dr Megan Connell. This interview is now available for you to watch and/or listen to on the G33ksLikeUs Channel on YouTube! Or, click on the embedded video below. I encourage you to listen and share the video—Megan does get into some deep territory, jamming lots of information into an hour-long conversation, and it’s well worth your time.

New Release! SISTERHOOD: Dark Tales and Secret Mysteries

SISTERHOOD: Dark Tales and Secret Mysteries
In churches and convents and other religious communities, sisterhood takes many forms, forged and tested by such mundane threats as disease and despair, but also by terrors both spiritual and cosmic-Satan`s subtle minions and the Lovecraftian nightmare of the Outer Gods.

Sisterhood: Dark Tales and Secret Histories presents sixteen horror stories by some of the genre`s leading female voices. Their settings range around the globe and across the centuries, from 14th century Spain to 17th century Virginia to England in the present day.

In this collection, find my Mythos-inspired story “From an Honest Sister to a Neglected Daughter” written as a prequel to “The Dunwich Horror”.

Now available wherever books are sold, including

Announcing a Patreon Exclusive! Into Shadow Coming Feb 2021

Into Shadow | An Exploration of Personal Fears | Poetry

In my newsletter recently, I described how my nightmares and anxiety caused by the violence in our nation’s capital affected my ability to write last week. I announced in that update I’m channeling these emotions to explore my fears in February. I’ll be writing a poem a day for a #28DaysofPoetry challenge.

This month-long project will be offered to my patreons through Patreon for $2. Yep, that’s right. $2 for 28 poems about my personal fears.

Why charge so little? Since launching my Patreon, I don’t feel I’ve done a very good job helping patrons feel vested in my work. Last year, my patrons helped fund a new web cam–something I desperately needed during the pandemic and am hugely grateful for. I’m hoping that the $2 price will help reassure patrons that their financial support is greatly valued.

In terms of “What am I going to do with this?” The answer is: “I don’t know.” This idea is new, raw, and will be a journey. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written or studied poetry, and I’m not sure if any publishers would be interested in this type of collection. What’s more, now that I’ve been practicing mini-art pieces for #makedontbreak, my creative mind might shift to illustrating these too. I just don’t know.

I hope you’ll consider joining this project. If you are already a patron, please accept my enduring gratitude. I look forward to sharing my fears with you.

Thank You Fans of Hunter The Vigil Second Edition!

Hunter The Vigil Second Edition Logo As I write this (after what’s been an emotional two days) I have to giggle. I left my office just before dinner last night; when I came back upstairs this morning, I realized I’d left a lone candle burning in the darkness. I’m on theme!

The Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition Kickstarter funded quickly, and we’re well on our way to achieving stretch goals. We’re also on the cusp of debuting the compacts and conspiracies in the corebook, too, and many of you are already digging into the lore. Rules to create the compacts, conspiracies, and their Endowments are present in the Storyteller’s chapter. If you don’t see a hunter group you want to play, you’re encouraged to create one of your own. There is room for you and your approach to the Vigil. We all uphold the Vigil the way we feel is best, but that doesn’t mean our approach is the right one–or that hunter groups are monoliths. Ahhhhhh! There’s so much more to come!

Of all the games I’ve worked on, Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition means a lot to me because it’s a game I can see myself playing. Chronicles can be focused on hunting the monster-of-the-week just as easily as they could explore the nuances of a conspiracy’s political structure or an initiative to search for Bygones. I want that feeling for you, too, and hope you’re inspired to draw from movies or shows you like (or even your own background and culture) to hunt monsters in your backyard.

Thank you again for supporting Hunter: The Vigil Second Edition on Kickstarter. Keep those candles lit!

Pesky Emotions. Storytelling and Heart’s Cockles.

Shiva Final Fantasy X Avatar

Okay, I admit it. I’m penning this instead of diving back into storytelling and game design. I’m a bad writer, I know. But? I write this post and away I go. In a way, I need to get this thought process down into a digestible form that provides some amount of solace, comfort, and I suppose, in a bizarre sort of a way — complacency.

Emotions have been on my mind. I finished editing a non-fiction book earlier this month and I felt like I had grown another head, cut it off, and then seared it with a hot poker so it wouldn’t grow back. After the book, then, I experience this broad range of emotions that run from ecstatic to relief to. . .sadness. Yep, I get teary-eyed because the book is out of my system and it’s in the wild.

But, obviously, the process doesn’t end there.

I talked a bit about this with one of my other (more creative than I, if you can believe that) friends, and she said that it sounded almost like I was going through a mini-depression. Okay, if that were true, that frightens me like you wouldn’t believe — but, was she right? Was it possible I was wallowing in post-creation sadness?

I’m not sure. What I think is true, though, is that creatives have to tend to their psyche and well-being, and take great care to ensure we are doing what’s best for ourselves in order to produce efficient and quality work. In this context, I mean “quality” within the boundaries of what we feel is good enough, pending where we’re at in the process. And by well-being? I also mean holistically. Diet, exercise, friends, family, relationships, creatively. . . All of it.

Writing requires a certain amount of emotional connectivity to characters and story; the more formulaic the tale is, the easier it is to see the “seams,” and the less emotionally-responsive I get. Stories can be wholly and technically correct in every way — but they can lack emotional connectivity. While not everyone will agree with what I just said, I feel tales that offer the reader the chance to get emotionally-involved with the characters are the ones that resonate the best. Sometimes, there’s other factors involved with that emotional vibration that have nothing to do with the story. Is the book popular? Do you love the author and know what to expect? Usually though, I do think it’s how we consume that story as part of the relationship between writer-and-reader. (Key word: relationship. I’m not writing for myself, you know!)

But what happens when the writer pens sad scenes or violent snippets or characters that are “off.” Do we become our characters? No, I don’t. I may try to understand them through my writing so they’re more believable, but that doesn’t mean I could ever blow up a building or harm someone myself. It’s very easy for me to move from real world to fiction/games and back again, save for a touch of emotion. I do, after all, write characters I can’t stand and then attack them vigorously. And as I’ve said many, many, many times before, I write in the dark because I want to highlight characters that are either overcoming that evil or that not everything can be tied up nice and neat with a little bow. I love stories about heroes. Real, unlikely, reluctant, brave, nervous, etc.

Sometimes, though, it’s the research part or the emotional let-down that sends me into a strange tizzy. And then I get a touch of the “I’m not really sure I want to write this, but I feel compelled to, and I’m afraid of it.” One story I’m writing is. . . It’s everything I hate about the current climate and treatment of women. That’s a “theme,” however. That’s just a small piece of the layers and layers for that one. It’s fun to write, a blast to structure, and there are ways I’m getting my writer-nerd on here. Still, experiencing that kind of emotion doesn’t just “happen” in a bubble.

Knowing what my response is to a work means that I can either run from those potentially-negative emotions or dive in with full abandon. (Guess which one I’ll have to do? Hrmmm?) But, it also means I had to find ways of dealing with those emotions outside of the writing to prevent a darker mood in real lifeTM. How do I do that? With the silly, of course! Why do you think I decompress with crazy-fun illustrations, comics, bright colors, extraordinarily silly accessories, and games like Star Wars Legos or LittleBigPlanet? They’re brainless (after a fashion), a lot of fun, and they whisk me away from the darkness.

Lessons I learned: avoid reading dramatic books where characters die when writing dramatic books where characters might die. Oh, and. . .there’s nothing wrong with being silly, reading something silly, or just having fun with a silly game/comic/book/song, etc.

Well, I guess I lied. I guess there is one way I’m like most characters (e.g. humans). If I’m sinking into a character’s dark mood, I need to recognize that’s what’s happening and put something wholly enjoyable and fun into my post-writing routine. After all, one cannot experience light without darkness — a fact that’s both reassuring and terrifying all at the same time.

And a-way I go.

    Mood: Can I cackle? Is that allowed? Or. . .not.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I see buzzing people.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: I keep walking, but never seem to get anywhere.
    In My Ears: Strange Tales podcast
    Game Last Played: Star Wars Legos
    Movie Last Viewed: The Raven
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press
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