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

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    Monday, December 27th, 2010
    12:23 pm
    The Witching Hour of the Century...
    lucy1

    And now for something completely Millenniumistic...

    Many thanks to Mark Hayden for putting all this together and to Sarah-Jane for all her hard work, for Lucy Butler, and for the coolest Christmas since the original Optimus Prime. :)

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
    1:10 am
    The Midnight of the Century...
    lucy1
    There is a rare and wonderful Christmas gift on the way...

    Fans of the show MILLENNIUM will recognize Lucy Butler in the picture above, the show's most iconic villain to its hero Frank Black. Every time Lucy showed up in an episode I wore a wicked smile, knowing the tale would be dark, mysterious, and horrifying. As villains go she is one of my favorite of all time, the personification of true evil, played to dark perfection by Sarah-Jane Redmond.

    Recently I entered a contest to write a Christmas story featuring Lucy Butler. The winning story would be read aloud, sometime around Christmas, by Sarah-Jane Redmond herself.

    I am honored to say that the results are in and as soon as it becomes available I shall post the link to a Christmas story entitled "Star of Wonder" by yours truly. This is going on my list as one of my favorite Christmases ever. 8)

    Watch this space.

    Until then check out the version of the song that helped inspire the story...

    There's another song that always stuck in my head in connection with Lucy Butler, but I shall post that along with the story.

    Best and Happy Midnight of the Century!
    --James

    Millennium fans, find more info, news, contests, and fellow fans at http://www.tiwwa.info/

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Sunday, October 31st, 2010
    1:13 am
    Happy Halloween!
    A quick post tonight as I have many preparations still to make, not to mention washing up all the pumpkin blood after stuffing flaming candles in their hollowed out skulls. I have bowls of worms freezing to keep the swamp juice nice and cold for later. My windows are full of zombies as shall my television be most of the day, all leading up to the much anticipated premiere of THE WALKING DEAD.

    If you're on Netflix and get the chance, I was recommended a movie by Jeff LaSala (http://www.ashlock.org/ author of THE DARKWOOD MASK) called LAKE MUNGO. It is available streaming from Netflix and is a great little film for Halloween. Dark, creepy, with a long slow build that is perfectly haunting. Here's the trailer:



    I highly recommend it (and many thanks to Jeff for mentioning it!). Now, with that spooky under my belt, bring on the little beasties who we shall attempt to placate with chocolate and sugar before they crash through the door and devour us alive. I'll keep swords and axes sharp, just in case...

    ...and also for carving dinner.

    Have a Happy Halloween, get scared and be scary!
    Best,
    --JPDavis

    Current Mood: devious
    Friday, October 29th, 2010
    10:46 pm
    Forgotten Realms Authors Speak: The Lost Tapes
    Many moons ago, in the early days of the Forgotten Realms ongoing author interviews on the WotC Novel Group, there was once a call for monsters...new monsters, beasts no one had ever seen before, existing only in the minds of your favorite writers. Well if this weekend, this Halloween weekend, isn't the right time for a monster then I don't know what is. I had fun with this little project, first visiting one of my favorite places in D&D, then tackling the monster type that I first wrote about in the Realms.

    So, without further ado, I give you the Dragon of the Far Realm...

    Far Realm Dragon Page

    And here's the full sketch that I did.

    Far Realm Dragon

    And here is the far superior drawing that my good friend Jeff Welborn put together based on the idea.

    Jeff Dragon

    Also, upon examining the idea further, I have to conclude that this would be a species born in the Far Realm, but that eventually escaped, maintaining the general shape of a dragon if having nothing biologically in common with other dragons. I would imagine that any creature brought into the Far Realm for breeding that did not escape would become, in time, an unrecognizable nightmare so far removed from its origins as to be an entirely different creature. In other words, being an unrecognizable nightmare, far more fun to write about in my horrific opinion.

    So, enjoy! Give it stats, sic it on your favorite characters, or take the basic idea and run with it, this holiday can always use another monster. Tomorrow I'll post some more Halloween fun.

    Happy Halloween to all and Season's Beatings!

    --JPDavis

    P.S.: For more of Jeff Welborn's awesome art, please visit: http://jeffwelborn.blogspot.com/

    Current Mood: creative
    Thursday, August 19th, 2010
    3:11 am
    Lovecrafty
    “The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life.”

    --H.P. Lovecraft "Supernatural Horror in Literature"

    Have had little to blog about recently, busy dealing with house-work, battling swarms of evil insects, digging deep into my horrific little heart to write and write and write some more. Still working on the first draft, staying ahead of schedule so far, and pouring everything into it. Most importantly, working at my own pace. I haven’t done a painting in a long time, but I can’t help writing in a style similar to how I paint. Seemingly finished details would disappear as the composition of other parts of the work started to take over, so I had to go back, illuminate or change to make things match, to keep the overall picture in balance.

    I tend to do the same when writing, going back to make new details consistent with previous chapters, altering relationships when necessary, and building on the creepy every chance I get. It takes a bit longer, but it’s just how my mind works, a long, slow and evolving OCD project. 8)

    Speaking of creepy, plenty of research, inspiration, and fun recently and forthcoming for we horror fans. I’m currently reading Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s THE FALL, the second book in their Strain Trilogy (I got an advanced copy at work). So far it is great, perfect. I know a lot of people enjoyed THE PASSAGE, but Del Toro’s trilogy has all the ‘fun’ stuff that THE PASSAGE used a hundred years to skip over. Plus the vampires are just cooler IMHO. Also looking forward to the AMC series based on the comic-book THE WALKING DEAD, debuting in October.

    Until then I’m already starting my steady stream of horror movies, books, and music to carry me through to Halloween. I hope to knock out a huge chunk of writing during my favorite season and if all goes as planned I’ll start second draft edits in late winter, maybe have something ready to start shopping around near the end of spring.

    Also working on some Lovecraft inspired scripts, a few short-stories, and starting a brand new D&D campaign on the 21st, w00t! Much as I loved the epic ending to our last campaign—a final battle that will live on in tales and song for as long as the Late Knights (our unofficial group name) gather—I look forward to meeting the new first level characters, the return of some old friends to the table, breaking out a new DM screen, and grinning maliciously every time I roll a nat 20, mwahaha...actually, according to my players I tend to wince before smiling, they hate that, heh.

    What about the other DMs out there, have any particular ‘tell’ when you roll a twenty (or any nasty result) on a player?

    As news breaks I’ll stop by and fix it (and I’ll certainly be around more for Halloween posts), until then…

    …Happy Birthday H.P. Lovecraft (August 20, 1890- March 15, 1937), a little early I know, but that’s how I roll.

    “Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.”

    --H.P. Lovecraft "The Picture in the House"

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: creative
    Saturday, July 31st, 2010
    1:15 am
    Perspective
    It's not the first horrible thing I've read, likely will not be the last, but seeing her face on the news-stand at work all day...Just stop and take stock once in a while. Some people need...a little perspective...

    Time 7/30/10
    Saturday, May 29th, 2010
    2:53 am
    E-Books, Samples, and Iron Maiden
    Okay, another long, busy, occasionally torturous month…another blog-post.

    A few cool new things, first up: E-books!

    There are now versions of Circle of Skulls and Restless Shore available in both kindle and e-pub formats for those e-reader things, various cell-phone devices, and the good old-fashioned computer. Restless Shore is available now and Circle of Skulls is on the way in June. Infect your electronics with a little dark fantasy. :)

    For Kindle:
    Circle of Skulls http://tinyurl.com/2djdrpl
    Restless Shore http://tinyurl.com/2fvv7hh
    For nook (e-pub)
    Circle of Skulls http://tinyurl.com/2chz46t
    Restless Shore http://tinyurl.com/266t87u

    Or if you’re looking for an entire set of Waterdeep e-book goodness… http://tinyurl.com/2byxsht

    Next up, free samples! Well, aside from the obvious free sample of Ed Greenwood’s Elminster Must Die! lying in wait at the end of Circle of Skulls, there is a sample of Circle of Skulls lying in wait on the Wizards of the Coast website. If you haven’t picked up the book yet and want to get a taste, here ya’ go: http://tinyurl.com/2akct4b

    I had also planned on making a new book trailer (with real special effects this time!), but with the death of my old computer also came the loss of the Windows XP Movie Maker program I was using and though I love Windows 7, this new Movie program just doesn’t measure up, not even close. All the same, many thanks to the Powers-That-Be at WotC for the legal assistance and Nox Arcana for the permission to use their awesome music.

    In response to a question on my previous post, I am not currently working on a Forgotten Realms novel, which, after the last three years, is an odd feeling since the last three books have been written right on the heels of one another. On one I was actually finishing up second draft edits as the contract for the next book was arriving in the mail, lol. Though I am completely open and totally ready for another dive into the Realms, a nice little breather this time is not unappreciated. The horror novel I’m currently writing is moving along at a steady and self-appointed speed, giving me plenty of time for consideration of each chapter before steamrolling into the next. My monsters, based on some obscure bits of Greek mythology, are constantly evolving in my imagination, so it’s good to have a loose personal deadline.

    Speaking of, ‘tis quite late now and I am well into my normal writing hours. Time to fire up some music and make some more headway down a dark southern highway…



    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: creative
    Monday, May 10th, 2010
    4:34 am
    Frightmarish May
    So, jumping into a story, dissecting notes, rearranging outlines, developing characters with more personal problems and quirks than a...uh...than a metaphor delivered in a deep southern accent could possibly convey (and I couldn't think of one at the moment). Delving into the horror, the batteries wanted a boost (and I wanted a vacation), so I went to the nearest source: Texas Frightmare Weekend. Much fun was had...

    Day One:
    Photobucket
    Met Elvira. Awesome. Got her autograph and took a pic with her (picture of Elvira and I on a friend's camera, coming soon). We all decided she is immortal and will never die. There was much speculation upon how she accomplished this, top theories including: bathing in the blood of virgins, eating babies, and the quickening.
    Photobucket
    Met Christine...
    Photobucket
    But Megan got the better picture I think.
    Photobucket
    And Lance Henriksen, aka Frank Black from Millennium, aka My Favorite TV show ever. Autographs and pictures acquired. He said we kicked ass...that kinda' kicks ass. :)

    That night we went to eat at the hotel restaurant, last minute decision. It was mostly empty, our table and one other at the interior tables. At that table sat, Lance Henriksen. Then, a couple at a time, the entire cast of CHRISTINE filed in, having their reunion dinner just a couple of tables away. Julian Sands (WARLOCK, ROSE RED, ARACHNOPHOBIA, etc.) wandered around nearby, chatting on his cell-phone. Meg Foster (THEY LIVE, BLIND FURY, etc.) skipped in singing 'Stayin' Alive' to join the CHRISTINE crew. Derek Mears (Jason Voorhees in the new FRIDAY the 13th...and the nicest giant person you could ever hope to meet) sat nearby as well. My friends and I very discreetly gawked and nodded knowingly at one another...our last minute dinner decision was an awesome idea.

    The last part of Day One was the showing of a low-budget horror film...I hesitate to say the title, for I certainly expected cheesy and bad (I often thrive on such movies), but to even give this one a bad review would give it credit for deserving a review at all and place it within a category of real movies that get reviewed. I can't do it. It was, sadly, the only downside of Day One. I only mention it because of how awesome a day we had, even a movie, no, film? No. Even a series of recorded images played in sequence this bad couldn't ruin the time we had. To be honest, Day One dominated the weekend. Will definitely return next year.

    In other news, Wizards of the Coast has posted a special bit of fiction related to CIRCLE OF SKULLS, an extended ending! And I warn all who may be interested to definitely read the book first, otherwise, the extended ending will make little sense and spoil many plot points. That said, here be the link to "Speak of the Devil":

    http://wizards.com/dnd/article.aspx?x=dnd/4dnd/20100506

    As for now, my horror batteries properly charged (not that they ever really die), writing continues as always. I'm aiming to be done by Halloween...we'll see how close I make it.

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Friday, April 30th, 2010
    3:25 am
    Waterdeep, City of Splendors...
    …and of wizards, mysterious pasts, justice, the dead, dragons, and skulls and angels and devils and, well, you get the picture. There’s a lot, it’s a city and there’s a lot of stories. I’ve always loved Waterdeep, either as a jumping off point for a game or as a setting for a complete campaign. And much as I loved all that was familiar in the city, what I loved even more was carving out little spaces for myself, a tavern here, a secret dungeon entrance there, tracking down the dark, shadowed spots where I could open up new stories…Never did I think, nearly twenty years since I started playing D&D, that I would have a chance to make some of my little ideas a real part of Waterdeep and have them published alongside several other wonderful stories about Waterdeep.

    And yet here is the book, in my house. My wife, my best friend, and my mother-in-law have already started reading it…and all of them racing toward one particular chapter that, while I’m proud to have written it, may make them …well, no spoilers here. I’ll just say the novel was masterfully edited (thanks Susan!) and uncensored. Of course, I tend to be a bit darker at times (shock).

    And I’ll say also a big THANK YOU to Ed Greenwood for his awesome introduction in the book. Was quite speechless when I first read it and I still feel that just saying ‘Thanks!’ doesn’t quite cover it. I’m glad he enjoyed and I hope everyone else does too.

    Circle of Skulls should be hitting shelves next week and I hope everyone gives it a shot along with all of the Waterdeep novels if they haven’t started them already. I was going to give a rundown of the entire series, but I think Mr. Greenwood has already done a good job of it in this video interview.



    And for my next feat…now that I’m back on a real computer with a nice big normal keyboard (whoohoo!) I’m taking my ton of notes and tackling some real-world horror (finally!). I still hope to write more for Forgotten Realms, but during the break I gotta’ keep the story-demons in my head appeased and they are pushing to get this little tale out into the world. So, after taking in an extra dose of horror at the Texas Frightmare Weekend horror convention (again, whoohoo!), writing resumes in overdrive and the playlist has Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast on repeat.

    I’ll update soon with some horror-con pics. For now I gotta’ go pack, must look my best when I meet Elvira, mwahaha! ;)
    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: creative
    Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
    4:48 am
    Stuck on Survive
    Been almost a month since my last post, an eventful month and not always good events. Car trouble, major computer trouble, minor sickness, household appliances refusing to obey my commands...you know, the usual junk.

    I'm using my wife's laptop and her tiny keyboard full of typos. Just feel out of sorts on this thing, like I'm sleeping on a friend's couch while my house is being remodeled or something. Laptops are useful, but a full desktop is my comfort zone. So, luckily, my latest writing project is complete and in the hands of my editor and I'm taking a wee break before tackling the big project that I have planned next. Also lucky, I've felt very 'in the zone' writing-wise, I just need a full screen and a bigger keyboard to keep that going. Until then I'll stick to my favorite pens and graph paper notes to hang on to the momentum.

    Also doing some new character sketches, but drawing lately has been a crap-shoot....or a box of chocolates...or something totally up to chance, or choose your favorite metaphor for an uncertain future event and run with it. I churned out one decent bit of artwork (on display sometime this month maybe? Links will be provided.) and then the talent went on vacation, it's a skill I rarely work out, maybe that explains why the writing feels more solid.

    Anyway, less than a month until CIRCLE OF SKULLS hits shelves, possibly the last of the Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep books? At least the last one that I know of, there's certainly no end to the stories that hide in the City of Splendors, so who knows? I haven't seen copies of the book yet, but I'm watching for delivery trucks everyday, ready for that "it's real!" feeling when I get my hands on something I wrote in its final form. Also curious to check out the sample of Ed Greenwood's ELMINSTER MUST DIE! included in the book, should be good fun all around. :)

    On that note, you can watch for updates on all Wizards of the Coast novels, and find some great posts by authors and editors with excellent writing and publishing advice, at the Wizards of the Coast novels book club. Found right here: http://community.wizards.com/bookclub. Every Monday the Forgotten Realms authors have fun with random questions posed by editor Susan Morris and bookclub members. And everyday there is something new, on writing, publishing, new releases, signing events, book recommendations, etc.

    So, hopefully soon I'll be back in my comfort zone, sitting at the desktop, surrounded by notes and research, tearing into my next novel with a vengeance. Until then I shall squint at a smaller screen and a tiny keyboard while my wife taps her foot impatiently nearby until I'm done. Nah, just kidding, she's a nice lady...all her impatient foot tapping goes on in her mind...but I can see it in her eyes...

    Until then, keep an eye out for this in a few weeks...

    Circle of Skulls

    ...and sometime in between I'll show up to provide some artwork and book teasers, we shall see. ;)

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: contemplative
    Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
    2:59 am
    Back to Work
    Well, my vacation is now almost exactly one day from being over. I've been both busy and exceedingly lazy all at once. Writing projects took a breather, hit the reset button in my brain...well, mostly, I did work on some notes for a Circle of Skulls related project...and some artwork, character sketches for said project...and finished up inking a wicked beastie to show up soon over at the WotC Community.

    Other than that a nice time-off that should have been spent outside camping in Devil's Den, but then stormageddon came along and shot that trip down. Ah well, did some gaming, nearly killed the entire party less than a few encounters away from the BIG finish at the end of the campaign. That fight was at 13 rounds where we left off and likely to go another 13...if they're lucky.

    Anyway, back to the writing tonight. Should be fun. Had to write out some extensive background to detail the focus of the story. Digging into some deep Realms history and found some bits that were missed by the historians. Providing an explanation for those bits should be interesting ;)

    Overall, April should be a fun month of gods and monsters. I'll keep ya' posted.

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: creative
    Saturday, February 27th, 2010
    2:50 am
    Get Your Mind Outta' the Bloodgutter...
    Or don't, no big. While I can only guess what the bloodgutter might be when spoken of in that context, I'm sure it's somewhere just outside the realm of what may be called 'normal' and is likely a perfectly legitimate way to spend one's time so long as nobody gets hurt.

    The latest round of answers over at WotC Community revolves around the subject of A+ papers, or if not A+ then at least our favorite papers. My answer reminded me of all that time in the library researching stuff I would have normally been reading about anyway. Swords, axes, the evolution of armor, the dominance of the longbow. That was my favorite and last year of high school in my favorite class, English, with the coolest teacher I ever had, Mr. Shanks (without whom my transition from comic-book artist wannabe to author might have taken a bit longer).

    I'm especially reminded of the paper because Mr. Shanks enjoyed reading the trivia regarding the 'bloodgutter' (or the fuller), a narrow groove down the length of a blade, usually on both sides. He enjoyed the bloody parts of the stories and books we read for class, so we had quite a bit in common. Until then he had assumed the bloodgutter was just that, to allow blood to run down the blade or to allow bleeding around the edges of the blade while still embedded in a victim. In truth the former is a bit silly and the latter a bit impractical, i.e. how long might one have to wait, in the middle of a battle, for someone to bleed to death? Hope ya' brought two swords...or a Snickers bar, you're not going anywhere for awhile.

    Anyway, the groove was cut simply to lighten the blade (usually by up to 3 or 5 pounds, depending on the length) and to stiffen the edges, making the blade stronger. Pretty basic, practical stuff, but it was one of the details cited by Mr. Shanks as 'very cool'. For me, hearing a teacher say 'cool' or 'awesome' in a genuine, not 'trying to relate to you youngsters' kind of way was one of my favorite things. I had few teachers involved enough to talk like that (and never a math teacher...well, maybe one, but he thought math was cool...freak).

    Well, I feel as though I'm on the edge of a wandering ramble and must end this before it takes a weird sidepath and concludes with theories on quantum mechanics and questions like, "Why can't it be Schrodingers's Dog? Or, more intriguingly, was the cat really a dog all along?" Man, don't get me started...So, Author Roundtable: go read it! Cool Teachers are, invariably, cool. And a bloodgutter is no place for your mind, for if ever the two should meet one can be assured of having a very bad day that will probably last for the rest of your life.

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: amused
    Friday, February 19th, 2010
    4:44 am
    Of Writing and Ink...
    So. over at the Author Roundtable discussion here (question: What can't you live without?), I mentioned my unnatural love of the needle-point, black Pilot pen with which I write everything. Everything. Every story and novel I've written started its physical existence on the tip of one of these pens. As is my current project slowly coming to life and even more slowly making the transition from ink and paper to 1's and 0's.

    I say slowly not because it's difficult, but because I've been taking my time, letting the story get a few cleansing breaths before committing it to a first draft. I've been considering doing more short stories, submitting more and faster, but though the ideas keep coming and are being neatly filed away I know I'm not going to be that dozen-projects-at-a-time writer. Once upon a time that realization was a bit frustrating, but now I find it quite freeing. I take my time and I don't sweat it.

    So my latest project has grown into two one-inch binders full of notes and background, at least two pens worth of ink and two pads of quarter inch graph paper. And though the actual writing has only barely begun, the creation stage of a book is always my favorite part. My outline is organized, but loose, so I'm finding more and more detail to add in here and there. Eventually I'll have a first draft, then a second, then maybe something worth submitting. Either way it gives me something to do with all of these pens that I tend to hoard up on 'cause I fear that one day I'll go to the store and they'll be gone forever, heh.

    Obviously, I joked about the pens in my Roundtable question, and I must admit that Erin Evans gave an excellent answer, conjuring up the idea of a world without meat (shudder), but my real answer to that question is one that I hope isn't necessary to put into words. It's not pens or graph paper or even writing. Not even tasty, tasty meat. If I have to type it then I'm doing something very wrong. She knows my answer.

    Best,
    --James



    Also, I want to give a shout out to my good friend Jeff Welborn, artist extraordinaire, with a couple of links to his work. Check them out and let him know what ya' think!

    http://jeffwelborn.blogspot.com/
    http://www.jeffwelbornart.com/

    Current Mood: content
    Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
    3:24 am
    Creeped Out
    Being creeped out is not my usual state, in fact, should there be anything fitting the description of creepy in my vicinity one will find me moving steadily in its direction to get a better look. Honestly, I would be the most boring ghosthunter in television history with my own show, walking into the dark, eager to stand face to face with the ghost that I just found out was a dumb ol' shadow. But occasionally I'll see a movie or read a book that sticks in my head, a few examples are here http://tiny.cc/LnbV6 in the latest Author Roundtable with the Forgotten Realms writin' crew.

    Mostly though, when watching a movie or reading a book, when something really creepy happens and my wife covers her eyes...I cheer. When the little kid in The Ring freaks out because his mom helped Samara and you find out she's not dead yet, I cheered, gleefully. When Michael Myers gets up after you're certain he's dead. Me, cheering. When the explorers in King Kong end up in the giant bug caves, the music stops and all you hear are the echoing sounds of crawling legs, men screaming, and mandibles clicking, there's me, edge of my seat, grinning like a goon just drinking it all in. Same as in Paranormal Activity and in every good horror movie or book I've ever seen or read.

    Perhaps some think that a bit morbid, but I've never felt morbid about it, never seen it in that light. It's always just been fun for me or maybe fascinating is more the word for it. So, I cheer when the villain-monster-killer gets up or can't be killed, otherwise the story is over...unless there's one of those teaser endings, where the big bad is defeated, but still kickin'. 8D

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: creepy
    Sunday, February 14th, 2010
    2:45 am
    Monsters!
    To expand upon my answer in the latest Author Roundtable (found here: http://community.wizards.com/wotc_vetanda/blog/2010/02/12/fr_authors_speak:_monstrous_affection ), I have given in to the pleas for a recount from all the other monsters in every Monster Manual I own. So I decided upon a top ten, all with a combination of features I enjoy in the game and in fiction...and maybe even a couple to appear sometime soon, hmmm...

    10-- The Wraith: all purpose, need a creepy, incorporeal, freaky undead to make the unsuspecting players realize they have no special weapons capable of touching a ghost? Done. Add a few class levels and weapons and you might even make a PC cry :)

    9-- Mimic: wanna' have the PC's view every object they encounter in the game as a possible new scar? Done. Not to mention the long-running jokes about how a random PC got attacked by a (insert embarrassing item here)...

    8-- Kraken: 'cause I like puttin' on the dramatic Lawrence Olivier voice and announcing "Release the kraken!" And, honestly, who doesn't? Well, I guess my players don't enjoy it when I do that...

    7-- Mindflayer: representin' the Lovecraftian crowd are my favorite cephalopod-faced beasties. Eating brains, talking in your head, and keeping goblinoids as pets (and snacks). Decent base creature for any spell casting class, therefore making them extra-scary brain-melting fireball-slingers. Super-fun for the evil DM.

    6-- Dracolich: Need I explain? It's a skeletal dragon! With spells! It's one of the most heavy-metal monsters in the game and it rawks.

    5-- Death Knight: And perhaps you might need a heavy-metal warrior to complement your heavy-metal dracolich? Done. A lich-like template for the warrior classes, made ever so much more cool by Lord Soth of Dragonlance and Ravenloft fame.

    4-- Star Spawn: one of my favorite of the new 4E monsters. Malevolent representations of the slumbering old gods among the stars. So many ideas for these guys. Evil cults. Villains who think they're gods. Rampaging little deities ripe for madness and sacrifice. The list goes on. (Dibs! Dibs!)

    3-- Demons, Devils, and Angels: a category of beings that needs no explanation. From slightly more challenging random encounters to constantly reappearing campaign villains, these guys fit the bill. My favorite, getting tired of slinging pit fiends at higher level characters and swapping them out for fallen angels. (mwahaha...)

    2-- Avolakia: a large worm-insect-squid-spider-combo than can look like almost any humanoid, whose favorite food is corporeal undead, and who, therefore, is usually surrounded by various undead under its command. This was a strong contender for my number one spot. Pure creepy, disgusting, intelligent, magic-using monster. Love. It. :)

    1-- Night Hag: and of course my number one choice. It all started with a few movies, LEGEND, PUMPKINHEAD, and CLASH OF THE TITANS. Meg Mucklebones in the swamp, the Old Lady what has powers and lives up in the hills, and the Stygian Witches. Spooky, selfish, mystic, and mysterious ladies that display proudly all the creepiest aspects of mortal aging, like living mirrors reflecting youth's exaggerated fear of the rolling years and the slow, stalking presence of time...

    ...and the utter horror of Bugs Bunny's struggle for survival against the persistent Witch Hazel (shudders)...

    And that, after much consideration is my top ten. The beasties that my gaming group knows to fear, because when these guys show up the PC's know I will fight to keep them alive for as long as possible, mwahaha! And if one of my fav monsters survives an encounter, escaping all attempts at pursuit, the group knows they'll encounter it again and again and again...

    ...being a bloodthirsty DM makes me feel all warm inside.

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: mischievous
    Monday, February 8th, 2010
    12:37 pm
    Captain Obvious...
    ...or Captain Oblivious? You decide.

    The latest round of Forgotten Realms author questions attempts to delve the obvious in search of the elusive secret that hides in plain sight. I of course try to hide all my secrets whether they be innocent or not, so be careful what you go searching for...you just might find it...

    ...fair warning.

    http://community.wizards.com/wotc_vetanda/blog/2010/02/08/fr_authors_speak:_captain_obvious

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: amused
    Thursday, February 4th, 2010
    2:47 am
    Unexpected Talents
    New question with answers from Forgotten Realms authors at the
    Author Roundtable 2
    .

    Personally, pooling all of our talents together I see a traveling road-show of some sort. We have a decent bar, a juggling act, a sharpshooter, pie-stand, navigation, etc. As for a show, well, I doubt we'll have much trouble putting together a decent story.

    Acting on the other hand...who knows? One way or another, it'll be entertaining.

    As far as my Feng Shui talent goes, I've been noticing its effects in other areas of my life. Novel planning for example. My outlines are certainly driven by a certain amount of OCD, but there does seem to be a composition effect to the way my notes are laid out. Hmmm...

    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: curious
    Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
    3:17 am
    On the Subject of: Zombies
    Zombies, cute, cuddly pet of the decade or dead, flesh-eating cannibal?

    I say, why can't they be both?

    Over at Wizards of the Coast Community (courtesy of the curious questioneer Susan Morris) Forgotten Realm authors, including myself, are put to the test and asked what their plans are for the coming zombie apocalypse. (and more questions and answers to come, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!).


    Check out our answers here


    To expand a bit on my answer, here are a few things you can learn from the movies...on what not to do...all of course in my humble opinion...

    1--Guns Are Bad!

    I know, I know, not a popular answer. And with all due respect to those who wield them in glorious battle against the advancing hordes of undead, I say keep up the fireworks for as long as you can...I'll be stealthily heading in the opposite direction. Why guns bad? Well, noise for one. Zombies seem to have two hunting senses, sight and hearing, try not to engage either. Another reason, despite drawing every zed within earshot to your location, would be infection. Splatter to be exact. Infected blood in your eye, your mouth, a cut on your hand, your lunch, or your water. Close shots reduce the chance of a wasted bullet and up the chances of infection. A long shot, unless you're with the zombie eliminating army, just draws attention.

    I know, guns are cool and intimidating in the zombie genre. They have good PR. But survival would likely mean killing as few zombies as possible and avoiding them at all costs.

    2--Resources

    Let's say you're trapped in a mall and you feel the need to make a break for the great wide open. It's quite possible there are many viable weapons and equipment in the mall...and more than likely, there's a leather store. Use it. Leather hard to bite through, 'nuff said.

    3--Zombie Brains

    They don't have much going on upstairs, so use that as well. Ever see a zombie climb a ladder? Not much coordination there either. One zombie isn't too big of a problem, but a thousand can be worrisome. One mistake in many monster movies involves the heroes trying to kill the unkillable. Chainsaw through Michael Myers not working? Why not cut off a leg? Or an arm? Can't walk, can't catch you. Can't stab, can't kill you.

    So, can't kill it? Figure out a way to stop it, either by terrain or some clever dismemberment.

    Just some helpful things I've noticed...or rather things I've yelled at certain movies while simultaneously rooting for the zombie/monster/creature that obviously represents the characters' destined fate, heh! Be prepared, the zombies are coming...and try not to appear excited ;)

    Best,
    --James

    P.S.--For those curious, links to my various social-networking presences. Friend me, follow me, stop by and say hello! Choose your favorite flavor:


    Wizards Community

    http://www.myspace.com/quinsareth
    http://www.facebook.com/quinsareth
    http://twitter.com/James_P_Davis

    Current Mood: accomplished
    Thursday, December 31st, 2009
    1:38 am
    So Long 2009...
    Been a bit of a while and I've been meaning to post more for some time, so I figure New Year's Eve is as good a time as any to jump on and say goodbye to 2009. 'Twas a strange year with more downs than ups and I shall not be sad to see it well behind me. Ready for a fresh start. I'll certainly update with news and whatnot as I usually do, hopefully more frequent than I have recently. I've been focusing less on the internet lately and paying more attention to the world (the 'outernet', if you will). Buckling down on my writing, tackling the projects I always said I'd get around to one day, trying to make sure all my 'one days' are in the here and now. I might even dabble in movie-making soon, well, writing the script and consulting anyway. So, prospects for 2010 looking good.

    As for 2009...good riddance.

    I have started my resolutions two months early, eating better, working out (15 pounds gone bye-bye!), getting out of the house (and the state), camping, cutting my smoking in half, etc. I figure that way it'll seem more impressive if I'm actually following through on my resolutions by the end of January, heh!

    For now, I have a party to look forward to, less to ring out 2009 than to welcome in 2010. I will be silly, possibly loud, likely a bit inebriated, and among many friends. When I recover, sometime in the late afternoon of January 1st, I'll clean up the house and sit down to start writing. I've had a bad dream swirling around in my head for more than a decade and it's about time I put it down on paper...or rather on the computer screen, using a ton of notes on paper, so I guess it's already on paper, just as a super-rough draft.

    Anyway, everyone have a safe and happy new year!
    Best,
    --James

    Current Mood: anxious
    Saturday, October 31st, 2009
    1:49 am
    Happy Halloween!
    Ah, tis time, tis time...the house is covered in webbing and a creepy orange glow and I have fresh pumpkin guts in a plastic bag. I shall display their hollowed out bodies with appropriate candle lighting this evening. The TV shall display naught but horror movies, history channel halloween themed shows, and if need be, news reports warning us all of the zombies running loose in the streets. And it looks as though, if the weather forecast be correct, that we shall finally, after several years of hoping, have a cold Halloween night (whoo-hoo!).

    Until then, there's plenty of halloween horror to be found online...



    And full, free movies at Hulu!

    Silent Hill: http://www.hulu.com/watch/105292/silent-hill
    Fright Night: http://www.hulu.com/watch/104928/fright-night
    The Exorcism of Emily Rose: http://www.hulu.com/watch/105222/the-exorcism-of-emily-rose
    Candyman: http://www.hulu.com/watch/104931/candyman
    Puppetmaster: http://www.hulu.com/watch/103126/puppet-master
    Dawn of the Dead: http://www.hulu.com/watch/92766/dawn-of-the-dead
    Pit and the Pendulum: http://www.hulu.com/watch/67354/the-pit-and-the-pendulum
    House on Haunted Hill: http://www.hulu.com/watch/70582/house-on-haunted-hill
    Night of the Living Dead: http://www.hulu.com/watch/41065/night-of-the-living-dead

    ...and many more, these just caught my interest first.

    And a cool little zombie survival quiz...

    http://www.newsandentertainment.com/zfzombiequiz.html

    Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!
    Best,
    --JPDavis

    Current Mood: energetic
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