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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Ari's LiveJournal:

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    Thursday, October 9th, 2014
    9:47 pm
    October 9, 2014: Consolidating some release dates

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Covenant’s End is releasing in February 2015, in hardcover and e-book.

    If you didn’t want to buy the trade paperback or e-book version of Hot Lead, Cold Iron (WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!?! *sniff*), the mass-market paperback edition is due out in May of 2015. Just in time for…

    Hallow Point, the second book in the series, which is also out in May, in both trade paperback and e-book.

    Now you know; budget accordingly.  ;-)

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    Sunday, September 21st, 2014
    1:22 am
    Authorial nightmare
    As a fantasy novelist, my greatest fear is that grrm is going to run out of his own characters and somehow start killing off MINE.
    Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
    11:30 pm
    August 20, 2014: Another D&D Gift

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    So, a lot of you have seen my 5e Spell Sorter, and I’m really glad so many people are finding it useful. Thanks once again to the generosity of a friend–one who attended GenCon–I’ve had access to the 5e Monster Manual. And so, here we are again.

    Ari’s 5e Monster Sorter!

    Sort or filter monsters by name, CR, type, subtype (if any), size, alignment (if any), and whether or not the critter’s got Legendary and/or Lair abilities.

    You’ll note some monsters appear multiple times. That was because they have more than one subtype or alignment, and I wanted them to appear in both categories should you choose to sort them that way.

    As before, please feel free to download, to spread the word, whatever. And by all means, if you catch any errors, do let me know.

    Enjoy, folks. :-)

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    11:30 pm
    August 20, 2014: Another D&D Gift

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    So, a lot of you have seen my 5e Spell Sorter, and I’m really glad so many people are finding it useful. Thanks once again to the generosity of a friend–one who attended GenCon–I’ve had access to the 5e Monster Manual. And so, here we are again.

    Ari’s 5e Monster Sorter!

    Sort or filter monsters by name, CR, type, subtype (if any), size, alignment (if any), and whether or not the critter’s got Legendary and/or Lair abilities.

    You’ll note some monsters appear multiple times. That was because they have more than one subtype or alignment, and I wanted them to appear in both categories should you choose to sort them that way.

    As before, please feel free to download, to spread the word, whatever. And by all means, if you catch any errors, do let me know.

    Enjoy, folks. :-)

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    Friday, August 8th, 2014
    3:00 am
    August 8, 2014: A special gift for my fellow D&D fans

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    (Update, Aug 10: Sorter now revised to include subclasses and filtering!  :-D Also, concentration error for mage armor has been fixed.)

    (Original post) I didn’t expect to have this done for some time yet, but thanks to the generosity of a local friend who got his Player’s Handbook early, and the fact that I got a massive head start using the free Basic PDF, it’s ready to go. Thus, I present to you:

    Ari’s 5e Spell Sorter!

    What is it? It’s a spreadsheet listing every spell in the 5th edition Player’s Handbook! It makes sense that the spells are presented alphabetically in the book, but sometimes that makes it hard to search by other details. This spreadsheet allows you to sort by name, level, class, school of magic (you’re welcome, wizards and eldritch knights), by whether or not the spell has a ritual option, and by whether or not the spell requires concentration (you’re welcome, front-line casters).

    So have at. Download, spread the word to other gamers, and enjoy.  :-D (And if you discover any errors or omissions, please let me know and I’ll fix them ASAP.)

    Note the first: This is just a sortable list. It does not include spell descriptions, mechanics, or summaries. This is meant to enhance the spell chapter of the Handbook, not to replace it.  :-P

    Note the second: Two spells are marked with one or more question marks. The paladin’s spell list includes “destructive smite,” but there’s no such spell given. There is a spell called “destructive wave,” which I believe is what the paladin list meant to refer to. The other is “trap the soul,” which appears on the wizard’s spell list but does not seem to be presented in the chapter. (I believe, but am not certain, that it simply got folded into “Imprisonment.”)

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    Friday, August 1st, 2014
    2:16 am
    August 1, 2014: No matter how hard you try…

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    …some promises might be too big to keep forever.


    Covenants End



    February 2015.


    (Art by the absolutely incomparable Jason Chan.)


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    Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
    1:02 pm
    Urgent ArmadilloCon update!

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Hey, folks.

    I’m deeply sorry to say that I’m going to be absent from this year’s ArmadilloCon.

    hate doing this, especially so last-minute and especially to a local convention of which I’m very fond, but a medical issue that was supposed to be cleared up by now… isn’t.

    I should be fine fairly soon–don’t want to worry anyone–but it won’t be by this weekend.

    My most sincere apologies to everyone, fans and fellow authors/artists, I was hoping to see. When all this is done with, I’ll try to arrange a couple of local signings of my own somewhere.

    Thanks, everyone, for your understanding.

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    Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
    11:05 pm
    Marvel’s Well-Meaning Mistake

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Among the many changes Marvel is making to its characters in the Marvel Now! line, the most recent is the announcement that Steve Rogers is laying down the mantle of Captain America (for what I believe to be the 247th time), and his replacement is said to be Sam “The Falcon” Wilson.

    I have a problem with this, and it’s not the one you might expect.

    I’m pro-added diversity in comics. Thor’s a woman now, great! The Ultimates version of Spider-Man is Miles Morales, great! And while I have a personal attachment to Steve Rogers, if there’s going to be a new Cap, I not only don’t object to, but celebrate, the fact that he’s black. (Even if his new mask is kinda goofy looking.)

    But it should not have been Sam.

    Oh, it makes sense from an in-character perspective. Sam Wilson’s one of the good guys, someone Steve knows well and trusts. My problem is with the meta-narrative.

    Sam Wilson–the Falcon–may not be as big a name as Storm, or the Black Panther. The fact remains, though, that he is one of the few black superheroes to have built his own successful, popular identity. He was a success story, on a very limited list of success stories.

    Making him Captain America is taking that away. It’s the opposite of diversifying the line, because it’s taking a minority character who made it on his own, and turning him into another minority character who had to build on the name of a straight white male.

    I realize it’s too late, but… if by some miracle someone at Marvel sees this, please. By any and all means, give us a black Captain America–but let Sam remain the Falcon. He’s earned it.

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    Friday, June 27th, 2014
    10:00 pm
    This is your culture on drugs

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    There’s a short story open-call going around that caught my eye. Or rather, one detail in the submission rules caught my eye.

    I’m not naming the anthology in question, because my problem isn’t with the anthology. They’re just reacting to the culture in which we all live, and I don’t want people to misunderstand me and think I’m yelling at them. I’m not.

    I’m yelling at a lot of other people, though.

    The rule in question reads as follows:


    • Stories must conform to the “Indiana Jones” rule of thumb regarding, sex, violence, language, drug use, etc. We try to keep things here appropriate for most audiences, so if it’s something you’d conceivably see in an Indiana Jones story, it should be fine (i.e., melting faces are okay, F-bombs, in general, are not).


    Really let that sink in a moment. “Melting faces are okay, F-bombs, in general, or not.” Think about it.

    What the fuck is wrong with entertainment standards in this country?!?!

    Bullets flying, people dying, acts of horrific, gory violence… These are no problem. But a “bad word”? A breast on prime time TV? That’s a goddamn outrage.

    This is wrong; so wrong. Aesthetically. Ethically. Morally.

    It’s a word. Fuck fuck fuck. Fuckity fuck fucking fucky fuck.

    Or a body part. Oooh, your kids are going to be traumatized seeing something for two seconds that not only do they already know mommy has, but which they fed off of for a year and a half.

    I like violence and gore in fiction, where it’s appropriate. I’m not suggesting it be curtailed (though a case could be made for certain TV shows). But the idea that it’s okay, where the others aren’t? It’s backwards, in every conceivable way, shape, or form.

    Get your act together already, American culture. This isn't even Puritan; it’s just lunacy. And hypocritical lunacy to boot.

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    Saturday, May 31st, 2014
    11:32 pm
    Seriously, Fuck Cancer

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    I have far too many friends and colleagues, people I genuinely care about, suffering through one form or another of cancer right now. Hell, one would be “far too many.”

    I’m tired of wishing there was “something I could do.” So I’m doing something, however minor a gesture it may be.

    I have dropped the price of my short story collection, Strange New Words, across Amazon, Smashwords, and DriveThruFiction. This applies to both e-copies and hardcopies. I haven’t decided yet if this price drop is permanent or temporary.

    What I have decided is that I will donate the entirety of any profit I make on sales of Strange New Words, throughout the entire month of June. Not to an institute or to a program, but directly to a handful of the people I know who are struggling with cancer right now, to help defray the ungodly medical costs these things accumulate. It probably won’t be much, in the grand scheme of things, but I’d like for it to be something.

    If you haven’t picked up SNW yet, please consider doing so now. If you have, please encourage other people to. And definitely help me spread the word, if you’d be so kind.

    Thank you so much, every one of you.

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    Friday, May 30th, 2014
    2:06 am
    May 30, 2014: ArmadilloCon schedule

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Heya, folks. While travel budget (or lack thereof) is limiting my con attendance this year, I will be participating rather substantially in ArmadilloCon, here in Austin. This year, that’s July 25th-27th. Really hope to see some of you there.

    You can see the total programming schedule here, but my specific schedule is as follows:

    Friday, July 25

    6:00 PM, Conference Center: Required Fantasy panel

    9:00 PM, Room F: 40 Years of D&D panel

    10:00 PM. Conference Center: “If Only They’d Consulted Me” panel

    Saturday, July 26

    4:00 PM, Dealers Room: Signing*

    10:00 PM, Room D: Evil Characters panel

    Sunday, July 27

    12:00 PM, Room E: Sub-genres of Fantasy panel

    *Note: While there are book vendors in the Dealers Room, and they usually have some of my novels available, I absolutely cannot guarantee that any particular work will be there. If there are specific books that you’d like to have signed, I strongly recommend that you purchase them in advance and bring them with you.

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    Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
    6:55 pm
    Any of this sound interesting?

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    I haven’t a clue where I would find the time or energy for this, but…

    As a means of challenging myself a little, as well as providing some regular original content for my web site, I’ve been thinking of doing something I’m calling the ABCs of Fantasy. (Inspired by both the ABCs of Horror anthology film, and the various ABC blogging challenges.)

    It would work thusly:

    1) People send in suggestions for a word starting with the relevant letter. Said word (using C as an example), could be a mythical place (Camelot, Carcossa), a historical place (Coventry), a culture (Celts), a mythical figure (Cu Chulainn), a historical figure (Charlemagne), a mythical creature (cockatrice, Cerberus), a mythical item (Caliburne), a fantasy concept (conjuring), a writing concept (cliche), or basically anything else that could reasonably come from, or be applied to, fantasy. Creativity and outside-the-box suggestions would be encouraged.

    (It could also be a modern fantasy character, but it would have to be one of mine, since I don’t have the rights to anyone else. So, sticking with the above examples, C could be Corvis Rebaine.)

    2) After a week of people sending in suggestions, I would then put the various suggestions up for a vote (with some judgment on my part; see below). After a week, the word with the most votes wins, and I would then write a piece of flash or short fiction somehow involving, incorporating, or representing that word.

    (I would reserve the right to omit from the voting anything profane, racist, or otherwise objectionable to me.)

    Said story would be written during the following week, while people were sending in word suggestions for the next letter.

    3) Said story would be posted for free on the site.

    (I might, on occasion, post a guest story in place of one of my own, if one of my author friends has an idea for a chosen word and would like to participate.)

    The intent would be a tiny story every two weeks, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. Real life–and real deadlines–come up.

    Now here’s the thing. If I decide to do this, if I decide I can somehow dredge up the time and energy, it only works if I get serious audience participation, as well as help spreading word of the series. So–again, with the understanding that this may or may not happen; nothing’s decided yet–what I need to know now is, would you participate? Would you send in suggestions, vote on them, maybe comment on the resulting fiction, etc.? Does this concept even interest you? Please answer honestly; I need a genuine sense of whether I’d be wasting my time or not.

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    Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
    3:40 am
    May 13, 2014: LAUNCH DAY!

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Ladies and gentlemen–or, if you prefer, guys and dames–it’s time.

    Hot Lead, Cold Iron_cvr_soon

    Today marks the launch of Hot Lead, Cold Iron, published by Titan Books. This is the first Mick Oberon novel, a book unlike anything I’ve written before. Urban fantasy, set in gangland Chicago in the last days of Prohibition.

    Magic. Mobsters. The Seelie and the Unseelie Courts. Occult conspiracies. Gang wars. Wands. Tommy guns.

    And warm milk.

    You can read a plot blurb and find links to the book at various online vendors by clicking here.

    It’s a good book, one of my best so far–but of course I’d say that. I wrote it. So don’t take my word for it:

    “The potent mix of gangsters, magic, Fae politics, and a strega on the warpath makes for a ride that never touches the brakes.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

    “The conclusion strongly hints that there will be another Mick Oberon case and if it’s as fun and entertaining as this one, then Ari Marmell will soon be crowned the foremost purveyor of Macabre Noir.” –Starburst Magazine

    “Fae magic, witchcraft, and even the hint of other supernatural creatures, combined with the 30s setting, give this book it’s considerable charm. Add a hero like Mick Oberon, and you’ve got a winner.” –My Bookish Ways

    “The story’s skillful blend of fantasy and crime will also appeal to the mass audiences of popular TV shows Supernatural and Grimm.” –The Cult Den

    “All in all, Ari Marmell has written an absolutely brilliant mash up novel that mixes loads of different styles yet manages to make them all mesh so well that I was actually sorry when the book ended.” –The Curiosity of a Social Misfit

    “The book does a nice job of never tipping its hand, with a climax that delivers on all aspects.” –Bookgasm

    “The author leaves the door wide open for the sequel, and that’s just fine: the book is thoroughly entertaining, and Mick is a likable guy we’d like to spend some more time with. Urban fantasy fans should be all over this one.” –Booklist, starred review (requires membership, so I can’t link to it)

    ——————————-

    Still not convinced? Read the first chapter SF Signal!

    Give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

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    Saturday, May 10th, 2014
    3:21 pm
    Horror: Anatomy of an Ending

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Those of you on my Facebook page or Twitter have recently seen me ranting a bit about horror movies. You’ll have seen some of this before, but by no means all of it.

    In trying to recharge my brain, in the midst of multiple big projects, I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies (mostly supernatural horror, which is far an away my preference). And I’m starting to get seriously frustrated with them, almost enough–at times–to make me swear off the whole bloody lot.

    Point the first: End your Goddamn movie!

    You can have a happy ending. You can have a grim ending. You can have an ambiguous ending. You can have an open ending. All of those are fine in horror (but see point two). But guess what, guys? You still have to have some sort of ending!

    Cutting to credits in the middle of a scene, where a few of the main characters are still alive and no actual plot points have been resolved beyond “Lots of people died”? That’s not an ending. That’s lazy. It’s bad storytelling. If there’s not something that tells the viewer “This is why the story ends here,” it’s not an ending. And your movie, no matter what has led up to that point, is a bad one.

    Now, on a purely personal level, I really don’t much care for the “Introduce a bunch of characters, kill off all but one or two, make it look like they’re going to survive, then kill them and roll credits” technique. To me, that’s almost not an ending; it escapes qualifying as the above problem by the skin of its teeth. And it annoys the crap out of me. But, as I said, I recognize that as subjective opinion.

    Point the second: Did you know that horror doesn’t have to be nihilistic?

    Horror is one of the few genres where you can get away with really grim, downbeat endings. The protagonists are all dead. The monster wins. The world’s destroyed. The hero’s soul is doomed for all eternity, trapped inside a haunted bidet. Whatever.

    Problem is, the fact that it’s accepted has made it common, and the fact that it’s common has made it a crutch.

    If your ending is good, make it as grim/downbeat as you like. Again, that’s one of the genre’s strengths. But a lot of horror scripts seem to have down endings because it’s easier. Once again, it’s lazy writing.

    It’s easy to kill everyone off. It’s easy to go for that last jump scare. It’s easy to do, and it’s just as easy to do badly. You know what happens when it’s done badly? It makes the whole movie utterly meaningless. It becomes a non-ending, as above, because the whole film has become a non-story. If you’r going to do it, you need to do it in such a way that it still feels like the actual story has reached an actual end, not like you ran out of characters.

    You know what’s a lot harder? A happy ending in horror that flows well and feels natural to the story. You know who tries to write the harder stuff? Better writers.

    (No, I’m not saying if you don’t have a happy ending in horror, you’re a bad writer. I’m saying that if you have a horrific ending for no better reason than that it took less effort, or because you feel like you’re “supposed” to, you may need to polish your craft a bit.)

    Also? When down endings in horror were a significant minority of endings, it upped the suspense level of every horror movie. You honestly didn’t know if the characters would make it or not. But now that they’re so damn common, and so often lazy? I’ve found it much harder to get invested in the characters or stories of the horror movies, because I’ve reached the point where I don’t expect anything they do to matter.

    Before I go into point three, let me be clear: I am fully aware that point three is entirely subjective. While I have some opinion in points one and two, I maintain that the core of those points has some basis in the actual rules of storytelling. I make no such claim about point three; it’s entirely my own thing.

    (You’re still wrong if you disagree, though.) ;-)

    Point the third: There’s enough damn injustice in the real world, thanks.

    Did you notice above where I said that I vastly prefer supernatural horror? That’s largely because it simply falls more in line with my tastes. I’m a fantasy guy, and frankly, dark/urban fantasy and supernatural horror are the right and left hand of the same creature. I just enjoy it more, across the board.

    That said, there’s another reason I prefer supernatural horror to horror with human “monsters.” And that’s a question of, well… Justice, to be dramatic about it.

    If it’s a ghost, or a zombie, or whatever, then I can deal with most kinds of endings, happy or grim. But if it’s a human? I despise horror movies where the human villain wins or gets away with it. Hate them. It makes me literally gut-clenching, want-to-hit-someone angry, to the point where it’s so unpleasant, it utterly ruins my experience of the movie. If the villain of a horror movie is human, they need to get their comeuppance in some shape, form, or fashion by the end, or else I’d honestly rather never even watch it. No matter how good it otherwise may be.

    Along similar lines, I really don’t like stories of struggle to no avail (such as most of the “kill off the last character in the last shot” movies tend to be). Even if it’s a grim ending, I want the protagonists’ travails to have accomplished something. Again, personal opinion, but it’s a personal blog. :-P

    Given all of the above? It’s getting harder to find supernatural horror that I enjoy. I’ve reached the point of looking for spoilers before I watch a movie. How self-defeating is that? To know how a horror movie, of all things, ends before watching it. But all the above frustrations have gotten so ubiquitous that I find it preferable to spoil myself than to run into one of said endings without warning.

    So please, guys. At least points one and two, okay? I can work through the personal taste stuff on my own if you’ll stop trying to make me eat lazy writing along with it.

    P.S. Less about endings than horror movies as a whole, but…

    Supernatural horror shouldn’t try to explain everything, no. Leave some mystery, some stuff for the audience to ponder. But explaining too little? Leaving the audience without even a semi-clear idea of what happened? That’s not “Making the audience think.” It’s not “deep.” It, too, is bad, lazy writing.

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    Thursday, May 8th, 2014
    5:57 pm
    May 8, 2014: HOT LEAD, COLD IRON releases next week. Want it for FREE?

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Almost time. This coming Tuesday, Hot Lead, Cold Iron–the first in a new urban fantasy series set not in today’s world, but in gangland Chicago of the 1930s–hits shelves!

    And I’m giving away three signed copies. :-D

    All you have to do is check out the book’s cover, and then–knowing only that it’s set in gangland Chicago, and what you see on the cover–make up a translation of the runes shown in the wand’s magic aura.

    Be funny. Be creative. Be wacky. Or be thoughtful. Poetic. Whatever the heck you want. Think of this basically like the caption on a one-panel comic, so anything goes.

    I will be choosing three winners, as follows:

    1) Winner one will simply be chosen from among the translations I find most interesting/amusing. You will receive a signed copy of Hot Lead, Cold Iron.

    2) Winner two will be someone whose translation I find to be among the most interesting/amusing, but who also posted a tweet/Facebook entry/blog entry/anything else of that sort linking other people to this contest. Yes, that means if you help spread the word, your odds of winning improve. When you e-mail in your contest entry, also include a link (or links, if multiple) to where you linked people back here, so I can see it. (Make sure it’s publicly visible.) This winner receives not only a signed copy of HLCI, but, as a special bonus, a signed copy of Dreams and Shadows, another fey-oriented novel from friend and fellow author C. Robert Cargill.

    3) Finally, the third winner will be someone whose translation I find to be among the most interesting/amusing, but whose translation includes a reference to actual fey mythology. (Of any nation/culture.) Obviously, it needs to fit smoothly into the translation; you can’t just give me an unrelated line and then add, “Also, firbolgs.” ;-) This third winner receives the signed HLCI, and their bonus prize is a signed copy of both of Cargill’s fey-oriented books, the aforementioned Dreams and Shadows, and its sequel, Queen of the Dark Things.

    E-mail your entries (and links, if applicable) to ari AT mouseferatu DOT com. Please put [Translation] in your subject line. No attachments. You may enter more than once, if you have more than one idea.

    Entries must be received by 10 PM Central on Monday, May 12th. Feel free to e-mail or reply here with any questions.

    Good luck. :-D

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    Monday, April 14th, 2014
    7:05 pm
    One last howl

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Today, CCP–White Wolf’s parent company–pulled the plug.

    Didn’t know White Wolf was still around? That’s understandable. They stopped publishing pen-and-paper RPGs some years ago. A great many of the staff went and founded Onyx Path, the company that is currently publishing the World of Darkness games, as well as Exalted, Scion, and other stuff. They’ve been a worthy successor.

    But White Wolf still existed, in the form of people at CCP working on the Vampire MMO. Today, a huge number of them have lost their jobs, to say nothing of years of hard, thankless work that will now never see the light of day. The last formal vestige of White Wolf is gone.

    This is a big deal for me (though certainly not nearly as big a deal as it is for the people who were laid off). Vampire: the Masquerade was the first non-D&D game that I got into long-term. (I’d played others, but only briefly or sporadically). It was the first RPG I played with the woman I’d later marry. It completely changed the way I thought about running games.

    But more than that… White Wolf gave me my career. After years of failing to break into fiction, it was White Wolf–and Justin Achilli, specifically–who gave me my first professional writing shot. It was the freelance work for WW that led me to D20 work; the d20 work that led me to official D&D work; and it was through WW and Wizards of the Coast that i was finally able to get my foot in the fiction door.

    Would it have happened without them? Maybe. But it wouldn’t have been the same, and anyway, it did happen with/because of them.

    As I said, Onyx Path is a worthy heir. Heck, it’s many of the same people. I hope to work with them again in the future, and I wish them all the success in the world. But I’m still sorry to see the end of the company that started it all for me, and the effect it’s having on some very good, very talented people.

    Farewell, old wolf.

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    Friday, March 28th, 2014
    12:08 am
    What We Darn Well Better Not See in Star Wars VII

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    There are a lot of places the new Star Wars movies could go. A lot of directions they could take. Plenty of options, plenty of ideas.

    Let me tell you what is pretty much at the top of my list for options that would be absolutely the wrong idea.

    (Well, my “worst realistic possibilities” list. I’m not counting things like Gungan Jedi or finding out that Jabba is Han’s twin sister.)

    And the funny thing, it’s already been done. And it was a bad idea then, too.

    Let us return to… I don’t remember. Some year in the early 90s. And a comic book series called “Dark Empire.”

    “Dark Empire” was quite popular at the time, and to this day, I cannot fathom why. I mean absolutely zero disrespect to the creative team–there was nothing wrong with the writing as such, or the art, or any of that. Nonetheless, it was an absolute travesty as a chapter of the Star Wars saga, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. Jar-Jar was less damaging to the saga than “Dark Empire.”

    So, back to the movies, my number one thing I do not want to see. I won’t be so hyperbolic as to claim it’s a dealbreaker–I’ll be standing in that line, and we both know it–but it’s close.

    Do not, do not, do not, DO NOT bring back the Emperor. No miraculous survival. Sure as hell no clones. Not even whatever the Dark Side equivalent to the “Force ghosts” might be.

    NONE OF THAT.

    Vader’s sacrifice at the end of Return of the Jedi is the entire reason for the original trilogy to exist in the form we know it. (Stress “in the form we know it.” Before Lucas decided Vader was Anakin, it would’ve gone differently, of course, but that would’ve made two of the three movies entirely different.)

    It winds up being the focal point of all six movies we have to date. It is not only the single most meaningful decision point in the Star Wars saga, it was one of the archetypal such decision points in genre/popular culture. Period. Full stop.

    Bringing the Emperor back, after that? In any way, shape, or form? It renders that sacrifice utterly meaningless.

    I can already hear the arguments. “But it still showed his change of heart!” “But it still dealt the Empire a major defeat!”

    Yes, this is true. It’s also not enough.

    You cannot take away the primary accomplishment of that act, the single most impactful, important victory, and still claim it has the same meaning. It doesn’t change damage the story of that moment, but of that entire movie, and through that the entire series.

    “Darth Vader killed the Emperor at the cost of his own life, in order to save his son.”

    It is not just a weakening of symbolism, but literally bad storytelling, to come along afterward and undo that. To literally undo a prior story.

    Find a different direction to in the new movies, okay? Don’t try to recapture old glories. Create new ones.

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    Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
    11:00 am
    February 19th, 2014: Win a signed book! Win almost TWENTY signed books!

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Crossing_the_Streams

    Hey, folks. Welcome to “Crossing the Streams 2014,” a flippin’ huge, multi-author book giveaway! Some of you are familiar with this concept, as we’ve run this once before; for others, this’ll be the first time.

    I, and roughly twenty other speculative fiction writers (give or take)–mostly novelists, but some short story and comic writers as well–have thrown in together to create something huge for you guys.

     

    CLICK HERE FOR THE CONTEST PAGE!

    Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
    12:44 am
    A Heartfelt Thank You

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    Well, it’s taken me longer than I’d intended to put this up, but at least it’s here.

    Guys, I cannot begin to thank you enough. The call for help I posted was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but you all really came through with more generosity than I could have hoped. While things remain extremely tight, we were able to get through the immediate crisis due entirely to all of you who helped out.

    No idea how I’m going to show my gratitude yet, but I’m damn well going to think of something. You’re all the reason I do what I do.

    Thursday, December 19th, 2013
    9:23 pm
    I need your help

    Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.

    This is–in terms of both personal and professional pride–one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write. That it comes in the middle of the holidays just makes it even worse.

    As many of my fans and friends already know, I suffer from a number of health issues, both physical and emotional. For a large chunk of this year, the dosages on my depression meds were wrong, leading to a long period where I was far less functional than I should have been. One of the results of that was that I got less work done this year than I should have.

    Well, on top of that, I have several payments that are past-due to me that have not yet arrived, and I’ve just had several months straight of unexpected expenses (personal, health-wise, pet-health-wise, and other).

    Bottom line, we’re deep in the red and I’m not sure about basic expenses or rent next month.

    hate talking about this in public. I’ve stopped myself from deleting this blog entry several times already. Embarrassed doesn’t begin to cover it. But I need help, not just for me, but so I don’t let my wife–who’s always been overly supportive of me and my career–down.

    If you want to help… Well, my preferred method, because I have some pride left, would be for you to purchase a copy of Strange New Words. Because it’s self-published, I get a larger portion of the purchase price than I do on any of my other books, and I get said royalties much sooner as well. I know a lot of you gave to the Kickstarter and thus have a copy already, but if you’re thinking of a holiday gift for the fantasy fans in your life, this would be one good option. You can find the book here, on Amazon, or here, on Smashwords, or here, on DriveThruFiction.

    If you’d really prefer to just donate directly, my Paypal e-mail is amarmell@austin.rr.com. Every tiny bit is certainly appreciated. But please do give some thought to picking up the book instead. It feels a little less like I’ve got my hat in my hand.

    Thank you, all of you, for everything you’ve done. I hope my work has brought you–or will, in the future, bring you–enough enjoyment to make up for me asking this of you.

    Yours in gratitude,

    Ari Marmell

    aka

    Mouseferatu

    –Rodent of the Dark

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