Michael A. Ventrella

Michael A. Ventrella was born in Richmond, Virginia on August 3, 1958. His father was an artist who did commercial graphics and his mother did her best to control Michael, his two brothers, and a sister.

In High School, he started his own “underground” newspaper which had more in common with Mad magazine than any real journalism. He also wrote a musical comedy called “But I’m Allergic to Horses” about a reluctant sheriff who cleans up a western town using only his wits. The play was a hit, receiving great reviews from the Richmond newspaper, and running for an extra week. Mike received the “Most Talented” award from his senior class. He also played bass in a number of bands at the time, meeting his future wife Heidi Hooper (an artist) at one gig.

College beckoned and Mike majored in Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he graduated cum laude. He was elected to the student government with the highest vote count and chaired the important judicial committee. Mike also served as program director for the college radio station and wrote for the school newspaper. During this time, his band The Naughty Bits headlined the major clubs in the area with their “new wave” sound reminiscent of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker.

After college, Mike moved to Boston to attend New England law school. While there, he edited the school newspaper and became involved in Boston politics.

Heidi and Mike married in 1982.

After graduation, Mike worked primarily as a public defender; however, he also was a lobbyist for the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action (and later served as the Massachusetts chapter President for a year), taught political science courses at Bunker Hill Community College, and was a campaign manager for a state representative.

During this time, Mike wrote songs and performed in two prominent bands, Agent 99 and Big House, which played the major clubs in the Boston area and received airplay on local college radio.

Mike also started a magazine about animated films called “Animato” in the mid 80s which grew to be quite prominent. He has been quoted in many publications as an animation expert, including “Entertainment Weekly” and in the recent book "The Dream Team: The Rise and Fall of DreamWorks: Lessons from the New Hollywood" by Daniel M. Kimmel.

In 1989, Mike and Heidi helped form the New England Roleplaying Organization which has evolved into The Alliance LARP ( http://alliancelarp.com) with campaigns all over the country.

In 1997, Mike and Heidi moved to the beautiful Poconos, where Mike now works as an attorney. Heidi’s artwork is seen in galleries around the area. (http://heidihooper.com). They love the pitter patter of little feet (they have four cats).

Mike is a regular fixture at science fiction conventions on the east coast, where he appears on panels to discuss fiction, animation, and gaming. His web page is http://michaelaventrella.com and he can easily be found on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other networking sites. His blog about writing (link at the web page) has interviewed many prominent science fiction and fantasy authors.

Titles Available from Michael A. Ventrella

The Alliance Live Action Role-Playing game has chapters all over the country and this rules system is based on over 20 years of use. Included are large sections explaining how a LARP works, what you can expect to find, advice on how to get the most out of the game, and plenty of pictures, charts and graphs. The rules themselves are easy to understand and designed to provide the most fun, so players can jump right into the game without having to spend hours studying or arguing over silly details.

Michael A. Ventrella is one of the fathers of modern live-action role-playing games in the United States, having helped form the first major LARP in 1989.

This edition also includes table-top rules if you don't have a chapter near you or don't feel like getting out for the exercise!
When a cowardly young bard is called before the Duke and told that he must perform a task because of an ancient prophecy involving a mysterious Arch, he is certain there has been a grave mistake. When the Duke’s own men later try to kill him and he is forced to run, unsure who to trust, he realizes that it may be his own grave that is in question.
This is the Player’s Guide for the live action roleplaying game of Ashbury from the Alliance LARP
Werewolves, barbarians, and misguided goblins stand in the way of Terin’s attempt to resolve three contradicting prophecies.
Welcome to Fortannis-a place where adventure waits to waylay you around every corner.

It’s a land where humans mingle with stubborn dwarves, mysterious elves, and feathered biata against shape-shifting gryphons, necromantic zombies, and silly goblins. It’s a land where things are never as they seem; where good and evil are not always clear-cut, and where the strong do not always prevail.
What is really fascinating about an anthology like this is seeing what the world of Fortannis looks like through eyes with so many different perspectives. Old familiar friends are here – Ventrella's own squires Terin and Darlissa, Curso Brambletoes the clever, subtle hobling, exiled sellsword Sarlon and his companions Minnow and Mumblepeg – and new ones, including a unique view of the life of a rather unusual Goblin in "Shiny Savior", the eponymous and clever hero of "The Life and Death and Life of Beryl Truesword", Brenlund in "Blinded" who has to overcome his preconceptions to save both himself and others from a terrible fate.
Michael Ventrella's Fortannis setting has produced a lot of fine fantasy fiction, and the fourth collection maintains a high level of quality throughout.


Welcome to Fortannis-a place where adventure waits to waylay you around every corner.

It's a land where humans mingle with stubborn dwarves, mysterious elves, and feathered biata against shape-shifting gryphons, necromantic zombies, and silly goblins. It's a land where things are never as they seem; where good and evil are not always clear-cut, and where the strong do not always prevail.

In Fortannis, one can learn magic by summoning the power of the flow of order in the world, to tie yourself to the living cycle of all around you. Or, if your inclinations are darker, you can be tempted by the flow of chaos and entropy, which allows you to create undead abominations and cast substantially more powerful spells (in exchange for the corruption of your soul). Hey, the choice is yours.

This is the fifth collection of stories which take place in the world of Fortannis. Some of these stories feature characters introduced in the novels and the first four collections, but you don't have to read the earlier ones to enjoy these stories. You'll enjoy them more if you do, however. I recommend reading the books in the following order to keep the timeline consistent: Arch Enemies, The Axes of Evil, A Bard's Eye View, A Bard in the Hand, A Bard Day's Knight, It's a Wonderful Death, A Bard Act to Follow.

“A Bard’ Eye View is a wild and weird collection of fantasy stories that present some of the freshest writing around. Derring-do with a great sense of fun. Highly recommended.” – New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry, author of The King of Plagues and Dust & Decay

Irreverence? What’s that?

Well, that all depends on how the word is used. The context, you know. Irreverence is not limited to what many people think-something to do with religion, although that can be a large part of it. Nope, it is a big word with broad meaning. Let me give you a few examples of how it is used:

Irreverent is the adjective from which the noun "irreverence" comes.

Its basic meaning is "disrespectful". Now you have an idea of just how broad it can be. I’ll wager you can think of a lot of ways to be disrespectful. There is a whole world of irreverence in the pot. Our authors gleefully dip their pens into that pot and scribble out their twisted views of this world-or other worlds.

Words that can be used in place of irreverent (synonyms) are: aweless, cheeky, cocky, contemptuous, crusty, derisive, flip, flippant, fresh, iconoclastic, impertinent, impious, impudent, insolent, irreverential, mocking, out-of-line, profane, rude, sacrilegious, sassy, saucy, tongue-in-cheek, ungodly, unhallowed, unholy and so forth. As you can readily see, the majority of the Twisted Tails authors are world class representatives of the word in all its specific meanings; not just a couple.

I have gathered together several cheeky authors whose impiety is well known and asked them to grace these pages with words of insolence for your reading pleasure. As always, there is no genre restriction. Here you’ll find Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Thrill-a-minute-even Mainstream. The only common element here is Irreverence. The other big deal about the Twisted Tails series that is a must are unexpected endings and sheer quality of writing. Each author brings his/her unique style and voice to the page, but to get to the page the quality of writing demanded in the Twisted Tails series of anthologies had to have been there or it would have been a "no-go". Just another rejection slip to add to the stack in an author’s dark corner. Have fun while you cringe at their out-of-line talent at twisting irreverent tales and we hope to see you again-should there be a next time. I have it on good authority that there probably will be a next time, so keep a watch for it.

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