Kotaku’s “What In The World Do Video Game Writers Do? The Minds Behind Some Of Last Year’s Biggest Games Explain.”

March 7th, 2013 by Darin

Ever wonder what it is I do as the writer at id Software? Kotaku‘s Phil Owen offers a great write-up on the job description.

David J. Schwartz’s Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic

February 13th, 2013 by Darin

Damn, $2.99 for the whole serial. Sweet.


February 4, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Announcing Launch of New Kindle Serial

GOOSEBERRY BLUFF COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF MAGIC

Gooseberry Bluff is not a school for the chosen ones. It’s a school for those who have run out of choices. An unlikely place for an international conspiracy. But after suspicious paranormal signatures are reported and a professor of magical history goes missing, the possibility of demon trafficking seems more and more likely.

Read the rest of this entry »

Barth Anderson’s Factory Farm Inc.

January 29th, 2013 by Darin

My pal and fellow author Barth Anderson is doing some crowd-sourcing for his next novel, Factory Farm Inc., a “mystery/thriller with a dairy farmer as sleuth, uncovering a flu outbreak and a string of murders in the sordid underbelly of the corporate farming world.” Seeing what he did with The Patron Saint of Plagues and The Magician and the Fool, FFI has got to be punchy, honest, quirky, and dark. You really oughtta get in on this.

Barth’s one of the guys who helped me figure out the publishing industry way back, so you just know his going mustang like this will open all sorts of narrative possibilities that the Old World probably wouldn’t otherwise indulge him. It’s gonna be boss.

[Link]

Good Guy British Scouts

December 5th, 2012 by Darin

From BBC News:

“The 105-year-old movement is launching a consultation to see if members would back a Scout Promise for those who feel unable to pledge a “duty to God”.

Versions of the oath already exist for the Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths, but this is the first time such an adaptation has been considered.

Man, the Brits are better at Scouting than we are.

[link]

Mark Teppo’s EARTH THIRST

December 4th, 2012 by Darin

I don’t get excited about new releases very often. My backlog of titles to read is so long and ever-lengthening that I rarely read the latest hot thing right when it comes out. It usually takes me a year or two, at least, to get around to what everyone’s reading right now. However, one book I am going to grab off the press is Mark Teppo’s latest: Earth Thirst:


Fig. 1: Earth Thirst

“The Earth is dying. Humanity—over-breeding, over-consuming—is destroying the very planet they call home. Multinational corporations despoil the environment, market genetically modified crops to control the food supply, and use their wealth and influence and private armies to crush anything, and anyone, that gets in the way of their profits. Nothing human can stop them. But something unhuman might. Once they did not fear the sun. Once they could breathe the air and sleep where they chose. But now they can rest only within the uncontaminated soil of Mother Earth—and the time has come for them to fight back against the ruthless corporations that threaten their immortal existence.

“They are the last guardians of paradise, more than human but less than angels. They call themselves the Arcadians. We know them as vampires. . . .”


That just sounds right proper kickass. Though, of course, I hope he lets the corporate swine destroy the Earth. I love a good Whelp-there-goes-the-Earth book.

Fig. 2: The Teppo

I’m also excited about this book personally because Teppo’s an old friend of mine. He and I spent our pre-published time in the trenches together, huddled alongside a few other desperate souls who’ve all gone on to steady careers in the field. Teppo’s Codex of Souls books were great occult-noir without being cheesy or simplified … which seems so often the trend for today’s vapid reading proficiencies. And then he went on to become the Chief Creative Officer behind The Mongoliad, with guys like Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. (Yeah, Mark’s cooler than you.)

It makes me feel good about the field that a guy who works hard, dreams crazy, and doesn’t sleep can carve himself a perch. I’ve conspired with Teppo on plenty of secret projects, and I’ve never been able to keep up. (Remember this madness?!) You wanna get in on Teppo before he starts writing books in some algebraic moon-language distributed on 200 burner phones locked in dust bins and drive-thrus in Seattle, Bangladesh, and a grain elevator outside Omaha. Competition for the material will just be too stiff then.

Review: Benriach 10-year

December 4th, 2012 by Darin

As a 10, this particular Benriach is young—though the distillery does produce 12- and 16-years as well. As such, its color carries understandably less gravitas than some other whiskies I’ve reviewed here. The Benriach is primarily a yellowed orange, beset, here and there, by viridescent highlights. It wears its age on its sleeve, but with more chutzpah than some other 10s.

The nose is uniquely short-winded. After the dram has had a moment to catch its breath outside the bottle, it opens into the aromas of pungent pear and grape. Noticeably (but not overwhelmingly) phenolic, this aroma is sharp and fragile, sustaining itself predominantly with hints of dry maple. Afterward, the nose dissipates readily.

On the palate, the Benriach 10 begins with hot, steeped cardamom and bitters. Uncomplicated, it follows this salvo with slight citrus while stabilizing itself with dry, starchy almonds.

The finish is steep and cool—a typical Highland counterpoint to the “heat” of the malt upon the tongue.

The aftertaste is slightly cloying, flirting with a kind of pistachio-syrup. In the end, though, the aftertaste is very pleasant and understated; it lingers like all good Highlands.

On a scale of 1-5, I rate the Benriach 10-year a 4. This is a very good 10 that shows a lot of promise. I worry that older Benriachs might decay a bit too much into brandied or bourbonized characteristics, as this is a thin line that the 10 treads quite well.

The Night is a Disco

November 21st, 2012 by Darin

A while back, I read from Noise as a part of a mixed media experiment with Shiny Around the Edges. They’ve got a baller new album out: The Night is a Disco. It’s straight hypnogogia—experimental, ambient, and jazzy.

Dig it.

Review: Tormore 12-year

November 12th, 2012 by Darin

It’s been a while since I’ve re-posted one of my old scotch reviews, so to re-commence: something trusty—a Speyside . . .

The Tormore 12 is a comely malt: its thick, brassy skins only barely conceal full-bellied, golden highlights. In a tumbler, the Tormore catches ambient light greedily in the nebulous, bronzed wedge of its heart.

The nose is only moderately phenolic, and it predominantly offers a sweet, doughy aroma—one sweeter than is characteristic of most other Speysides. Layered under this hearthy perfume are suggestions of heathered cream, ripe currant, and sharp cherry.

This palate is bright and active. It arrives with bittersweet cocoa and soured apple—a dry, dusty drink.

The Tormore finishes long and hot, reminiscent of the famously long-winded Springbank. The diminuendo of this whisky’s flavors is a dark, heavy counterpoint to the drink’s spritely palate.

The aftertaste tarries in charred sugars and bitters—a dying, medicinal spike their only company.

On a scale of 1-5, I rate the Tormore 12-year a 3 1/2. It is a complex and beguiling whisky that easily outperforms many other 12s; however, the aftertaste is overstated, and the Tormore lacks some of the hot, sugared cinnamons on the palate that are commonly the hallmark of a quality Speyside. The Tormore tastes more like the geographical convergence of Lowland and High than an actual Speyside.*


*The Speyside region actually is more-or-less the convergence of the Lowlands and the Highlands. However, the whiskies that originate here are usually so much more than the meeting of High- and Lowland malts.

Ian Walsh on the Economy

September 5th, 2012 by Darin

Over at his blog, Ian Walsh summarizes the state of the world depression quite succinctly. Worth the 60 seconds it takes you to read it.

“Some basics on the economy”

Audible Noise

August 24th, 2012 by Darin

For the audio fans out there, Noise is now available as an Audible audio book.

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