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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

"When I'm not writing" with Stephen Blackmoore

Stephen BlackmooreI'm really excited about this week's guest, Stephen Blackmoore. DEAD THINGS, the first book in his Eric Carter series, was so original and exciting, and now Eric's back again in BROKEN SOULS, which came out on the 5th. Stephen Blackmoore is a truly talented writer and one I think you should all be following! Enjoy his post. :)

"When I'm not writing" logo

When I'm not writing I play a lot of video games.

No, wait. Scratch that. I LOSE a lot of video games.

Seriously, I suck at the things. Multi-player Call of Duty? Arma? Team Fortress? I'm just a walking headshot. I'm just there to bump up your score. I'm a giver that way.

So I tend to gravitate toward games that don't depend on a win/lose mechanic. Games that are more about a story that popping off heads. Things like Mass Effect, BioShock or Dragon Age. Games that don't punish me for sucking at them. Unlike, say, L.A. Noire, which given that I write paranormal noir novels set in Los Angeles you'd think it'd be a shoo-in. It's a beautiful game, it's wonderfully written, the acting is superb.

But you can't drive the cars. Seriously, it's horrible. After a frustrating two hours unable to get anywhere I said to hell with it, walked away and popped in a DVD of L.A. Confidential to watch, instead.

Even when I'm playing a story game I'll probably play them on an easy mode, or, if I get really stuck in some stupid final level boss-fight, cheat. Because I don't care about how many kills I get, how many points I rack up. I'm just there to see what happens next.

Which brings me to my favorite story game out there, GONE HOME.

GONE HOME is nothing but story. It's a first person view game and you can move around and pick up and manipulate objects. That's it. There are no guns, knives, weird portal devices, anything like that. In the story you're Kaitlin Greenbriar returning home to Oregon from a trip abroad. While she was gone the past year the family has moved to a much larger house that she's never been in before.

She gets dropped off by her taxi expecting to see her mother, father and kid sister, Sam, only to find no one home. That's all you start with. You explore the house looking for clues as to why your family is gone. All of the clues are part of the environment. From the books on the shelves, to the mix tapes Sam has made for her friend, to the notes, brochures, clothes in the closets, items in the dresser drawers. And as you go through the house and see these things a story emerges of Kaitlin, Sam, and their parents. The attention to detail of the developers to tell this family's story even extends to the things that are missing. Items you would expect to find are gone and that too is part of the story.

Though the game may sometimes feel spooky, after all this is a big, empty house in a storm, it isn't scary. It is sad, and melancholy and at the same time hopeful. There aren't puzzles so much as there are story points to discover. And though some of the game aspects are a little clunky, they make sense in context. By the end of the game you're left with an emotional impact and care about these people's lives.

That's the powerful thing about story games. Like the best books, if done well they make you care. They tell a story as compelling as any book, any movie. They give you an emotional experience that's more nuanced than excitement.

So though I lose a lot of video games, games like GONE HOME reminds me that there can be more to them than winning or losing.


Thanks so much for visiting us, Stephen! For more about Stephen and his books, check out the following links:

Website | GoodreadsTwitter


Here's the scoop on BROKEN SOULS:

Broken Souls by Stephen BlackmooreSister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. Necromancer Eric Carter's return to Los Angeles hasn't gone well, and it's about to get even worse.

His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he's not sure how far it will go. He's starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he's losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis.

While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte's hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone's form, powers, and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but this guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere.

Now Carter has to change the game — go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row bruja and a ghost who's either his dead friend Alex or the manifestation of Carter's own guilt-fueled psychotic break.

Everything is trying to kill him. Nothing is as it seems. If all his plans go perfectly, he might survive the week.

He's hoping that's a good thing.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

And here's where it all began:

[caption id="attachment_13098" align="aligncenter" width="124"]Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore Click on the cover to read Jenn's thoughts[/caption]


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favourite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit  us? Please email me at jenn (at) tyngasreviews (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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