Sunday, November 29, 2015

Books read in 2015: No. 34 -- Fuzz

by Ed McBain

Started: Nov. 25
Finished: Nov. 29

Notes: As the year winds down, I realize I've not read an 87th Precinct novel since January, so it's time to rectify that. This one is from 1968, and it seems the Deaf Man will be returning as the villain.

Mini review: Yes, the Deaf Man makes an appearance, trying to extort thousands from the city before carrying out the murder of local officials. And as is usually the case, there are other crimes which take up the time of the 87th gang. Unusually, however, all the crimes in this one run smack into one another near the end of the tale. I wouldn't say this is one of the best 87th books, as it felt a bit generic in places, but it did have a fine ending to it. Also, this is the first time I've read an 87th novel in digital format, and I don't believe I'll do so again; McBain's 87th books have a certain cadence to them, and I didn't feel it worked as well in digital as it does in print.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

At Giving Thanks

Since it is Thanksgiving this week, my Nerdarchy article offers thanks for those in the role-playing community who have been friends or influenced me over the years. I'm sure I missed some people, so if you think you're one of them, I beg pardon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Books read in 2015: No. 33 -- How to Launch a Christian Best-Seller Book

by Lorilyn Roberts

Started: Nov. 21
Finished: Nov. 25

Notes: I've no plans to take up writing Christian fiction, but if I were ever to turn near such a direction, it would likely be in the non-fiction field, possibly apologetics. However, I figure it never hurts to get marketing advice from all quarters, and I might learn a few new things.

Mini review: The gist here is basically networking, specifically through the John 3:16 Marketing Network for Christian writers. Other elements of marketing and success are covered, but the big emphasis is on the power of a networked group of writings working to help one another. Not sure I learned anything new here, but it never hurts to hear about positive points of view.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Books read in 2015: No. 32 -- Inherit the Wind

by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee

Started: Nov. 20
Finished: Nov. 21

Notes: I'm not much one for reading plays, but from time to time I do like to expand my horizons. So, here I turn to this McCarthy-era play concerning the 1925 Scopes Trial.

Mini review: The writing style is definitely dated, but the story is as relevant as ever. Hard to believe we're still arguing about this stuff after all these years. I'm not sure the pro-Darwin argument here is as strong today as it was when written, but it still makes sense.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Books read in 2015: No. 31 -- Crawl

by Edward Lorn

Started: Nov. 19
Finished: Nov. 19

Notes: Reading Stephen King always reminds me of Edward Lorn, and having recently read King, I now turn to Lorn. For me, it's a natural.

Mini review: As always, Lorn turns out a clean tale with little to no fat in it, one that keeps the veins pumping with excitement and offers a chilling ending. Budding horror writers could learn a lot here.

Books read in 2015: No. 30 -- Black House

by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Started: Oct. 30
Finished: Nov. 18

Notes: Still trying to catch up on my back log of King works, the handful which I've not read. This one is a sequel of sorts to The Talisman, also by this pair of authors.

Mini review: Not King's best, and I felt Straub's work here weakened King instead of helping. Predictable, reading like a primer for half a dozen other King novels, but that is likely because this is another one related to the Dark Tower. Still, as is often the case with King, the characters are likable, and when the writing works, it works, and it is still better than many an author out there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

At Monty Python and D&D

This week over at Nerdarchy, I offer a few rules to add a touch of Monty Python to your Dungeons & Dragons game.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

At Nerdarchy: Playing against character types

This week my Nerdarchy article suggests playing across types for characters and classes. Basically, this means playing a fighter like a thief or playing a wizard like a fighter, etc. It might sound a little crazy, but it can be done with the proper planning, and it can breath some life into a game.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

At Nerdarchy: Has Chaotic Neutral gotten a bad rap?

My Nerdarchy article this week takes a look at the D&D Alignments system, specifically the Chaotic Neutral alignment.

If you don't understand alignments and Chaotic Neutral, now you know how gamers feel when you're talking sports.