Flames Rising is an online resource for fans of Horror and Dark Fantasy entertainment. This horror fanzine offers reviews of Games, Fiction, Movies as well as interviews. The site took the Silver ENnie for the Best Fan Product category at the Gen Con 2008 ceremonies. I sat down with project manager/reviewer for Flames Rising—as well as horror and dark fantasy writer—Monica Valentinelli.

How did Flames Rising get started?

Flames Rising started out as a site dedicated to a vampire LARP. From there it grew into exploring all forms of gaming, including indie gaming and White Wolf. And from there, we started expanding the content into some industrial music with bands like Midnight Syndicate. After that we started really expanding our content, doing reviews for Tor, DAW, Permuted Press – big publishers, small publishers, even some self-published authors. Recently we started doing indie films. We recently got an indie film called The Beckoning which we reviewed for our site.

We continue to keep growing the content focusing on both the quality and market of the product. By keeping in mind the market, we strip away the branding of if it was an indie game or a larger budget project and focusing on the quality.

What are you trying to do in terms of reaching out to the horror community?

We always encourage interviews with names in the industry, whether they’ve worked on one specific project or multiples. We have a project going on right now that’s a horror design project, where, for example, we have a first time screen writer who is talking about what gave him the idea, who helped him put it together, how he got his start, and a little bit about what the movie is about. So it’s a little bit more about the design aspect of what goes into a horror movie rather than just a back cover promo for the movie. It’s a little bit more from the creators viewpoint which is really fascinating to a lot of our readers because they get a more intimate take of what horror is about.

We also like to tie in interviews to our reviews. One of the most recent interviews we did which we’re most excited about is with the guy who created Darkwing Duck, Tad Stones, who worked on the animated Hellboy films. He had the chance to talk about not only the two animated Hellboys that came out, but his experiences working with Mike Mignola, the creative staff, what it’s like for new people getting into the industry (he’s a long time veteran). And also about the status of the third animated Hellboy, which he had written himself.

Where do you see Flames Rising going in the next year? What would you like to see happen?

Well, a lot of it is dependent on where we can take the content, because we never want to lose the focus on where that content is going to go. We don’t want to sacrifice the content in terms of the larger scale stuff. We don’t want to scale that back but rather develop more of it and have this community where people feel like they can really review and get into the products and get excited about what they’re fans of and interested in. And to be able to share that with a community of readers.

How does it feel to bring home an ENnie?

We’re just very grateful. One of the things we’re very grateful for is anybody that has either “fed the fire” or “spread the flame” as we like to call it. This is not something that we’re doing to shine the spotlight on us. The whole reason behind Flames Rising is to shine the spotlight on other people and let them know what the cool products are that are out there. It’s really about the genre of horror as a whole, but focusing on ways people contribute to that. We’re about what goes into these products, the love and the passion. That’s why the indie gaming and independent publishers have been so important to us because they’re very passionate people—just as much as the large guys—but never get that exposure.

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