Having recently finished (more or less) getting Television Man out the door, I’m taking a little break before starting my next project (because of course I have one) to do something I haven’t done in the past — ask indie book blogs for reviews. For those who might be looking to do the same, there’s a good list of indie book reviewers at The Indie View, sortable by date, searchable by genre, that you can use as a resource to find people who might be interested in writing a few words about your novel. None of the review sites listed at The Indie View charge for reviews.
I’ve never submitted a book for a paid review, but, years and years ago, I did submit to a few agents who charged reading fees or variants thereof. I also many years ago submitted a book to an agency that for a larger fee included a “manuscript evaluation” in their response which, when I read it, had obviously written by someone who hadn’t read the book. (Among other glaring inaccuracies, it repeatedly referred to the main character as a “fireman” when he was, in fact, a police officer.) So that was the last time I spent anything on a “manuscript evaluation” or review service. I think you’re probably better off with a local reading group, although I don’t belong to one myself.
In the end, one of those reading-fee-charging agents did end up representing me for a while. He never sold anything, though, and I eventually let him go and sold Night Watchman (whose main character was the aforementioned police officer), A Flock of Crows is Called a Murder, and Dragon Stones on my own, though the small press that published Crows went out of business soon after, and I canceled the contract for Dragon Stones after the publisher sat on it for nearly a year.
Anyway, because I have no new book material to post at the moment, I thought I would revisit a post from last year, about the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” board game, which I haven’t played in a long, long (long!) time, but for which I wrote a bunch of my own scenarios. The game shipped with ones where the Scooby Gang (AKA the “Forces of Good”, also AKA the “White Hats”) took on three of the Big Bads from the first four seasons of the show, plus Season 2’s decoy Big Bad, “The Judge”. Was four scenarios enough? Of course not! So I wrote several of my own, based on other villains from the show. The one I posted last year was for Season 2’s actual Big Bad, (20-year-old* spoiler alert!) Angelus. This post eventually elicited a very nice comment from a reader who, among other things, said:
I wanted to tell you that I have seen a lot of the scenarios for angelus out there and this one is by far the most in tune with the show. Good job even if you don’t remember the game.
I promised the reader I would post more scenarios, so to that end, here’s another one. This scenario is for the Season 2 episode “Halloween”, in which Our Heroes all get their (Halloween, natch) costumes from a sinister shop run by soon-to-be-a-recurring-pain-in-the-butt Ethan Rayne, a sorcerer and former associate of Buffy’s Watcher, Giles. The costumes obtained from Ethan Rayne’s shop turn the wearer into whatever the costume represents, so over the course of the episode Buffy becomes a swooning Southern belle, Xander becomes a soldier and all-around badass, and Willow becomes a ghost, although she retains her original personality as well as the short, tight, and skimpy outfit Buffy convinced her to wear underneath the ghost costume. The other two don’t remember a thing about who they are or how they usually behave.
Got all that? No? Oh well. Here’s the scenario anyway.
The Halloween Scenario as a PDF.
A 2nd Season Scenario for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Board Game from Hasbro
Ethan Rayne is in town and causing trouble with cursed Halloween costumes. Buffy has become a Southern belle, Willow is a ghost, and Xander thinks he is a soldier. Only by forcing Ethan to cast a counterspell can everyone be restored to their proper condition.
Ethan starts on the Judge’s start space in the Factory. He may not leave the Factory until he is identified as a legal target (see below). Ethan has 1 Fight die and 4 Majik dice. He has eight life points. Ethan can draw Research cards and can carry a maximum of four cards, mixing Evil cards and Research cards freely.
Ethan starts with Spike, Drusilla, and Vamp X as minions (but see below for restrictions).
Use the Soldier’s Costume as the Story Artifact. Once the carrier uses it, his or her statistics become identical to Xander’s (see below). The costume cannot be traded once used and cannot be used by Evil characters. The soldier costume does not have its usual effect in this scenario.
Escape. Ethan escapes by reaching the Hellmouth once he has been identified as the villain (see below).
Substitute Angel for Oz. Angel has 3 Fight and 2 Majik dice. Like Oz, Angel can carry 1 card of each type. He gets 12 Life points (use the Werewolf / Oz track to record these). Angel is a “Good Vampire”, so he can be burned by the sun (but see below – there is no sun in this scenario), but he may also enter private homes. Angel starts on the “Oz Start” space in the Bronze.
“Southern Belle” Buffy retains her Life points but has 1 Fight die and 1 Majik die. She can carry 2 Help cards, but only 1 Weapon card.
“Soldier” Xander retains his Life points, but has 4 Fight dice and 1 Majik die. Damage done to “Soldier” Xander is divided in half (round down). If he finds the Soldier Costume artifact, he gains +1 Fight dice and +2 Life points. He can carry two Weapon cards, but only one Help card.
“Ghost” Willow retains her Life and Majik points, but has 0 Fight dice. “Ghost” Willow cannot be the target of physical attacks, cannot be Sired, and cannot carry Weapon or Artifact cards. She is able to move through walls, closed doors, and other characters, including Evil ones. Other characters, including evil ones, can also move through her. She cannot move over the Hellmouth. “Ghost” Willow cannot be used to trap Ethan.
Identify Ethan as the instigator of this mess, and corner him in a building or outdoors. Once Ethan is blocked in with no path of escape, he is beaten into submission and forced to cast the counterspell, releasing the curse on the good characters. Killing Ethan does not win the game for the Good characters.
Ethan cannot be attacked or targeted by spells until he has been identified as the culprit. Ethan can be identified by obtaining either the Giles Help card or the Cordelia Help card, or by finding the Soldier’s Costume. (If either Help card is used to identify Ethan, it cannot be used for any other purpose and must be discarded.) Ethan cannot leave the Factory until he has been fingered as the villain.
When you roll three small flames, you may also move Ethan, if he has been identified as the villain.
Because Ethan is not actually in control of Spike, Drusilla, or Vamp X, he cannot exchange artifacts with them. They can exchange artifacts amongst themselves, however, and if Ethan summons a minion, he can exchange artifacts with that minion.
This scenario takes place entirely at night. Skip over the Sunrise phase. If a card is played that would move the Moon counter to Sunrise, place it on the first position after Sunrise.