Friday, April 25, 2008

Heroes Series [Ezra]

Yesterday I came across a story on that was about ten months old. It was originally printed in the OC Register, about a ten year old boy named Ezra who had brain cancer. What made the story extra-special was that when Make-A-Wish came round to offer a wish, he asked to go the offices of World of Warcraft game designer, Blizzard. He made this wish because he and his dad had become avid gamers in World of Warcraft.

Now in World of Warcraft, Blizzard created a fantastic game that for 3 years has entertained over ten million people. However, while it's never happened to me, I've heard of many bad customer service experiences about Blizzard. I'm sure that when servicing millions of people, you're going to have SOME mistakes, but unfortunately bad mistakes are quite loud.

In any case, what I read in the story made me very impressed with both Blizzard and Ezra. Blizzard welcomed this little gamer with open arms. They toured the facilities of course, but also opened up the game for him by letting him explore the highest reaches, by giving his character all sorts of great gear, and even let him design a weapon, a quest, and a Non Player Character -- which Ezra voiced himself! They didn't have to do any of that, but they did, and did it very well. I'm proud of you Blizzard!

And Ezra was excellent as well. He was polite, well-mannered, strong, and resilient -- showing far more courage and tact than men four times his age. When he was offered to design the weapon, he didn't create some uber-pwnage god-stick, he simply put together a very cool (little more powerful than average) crossbow. Blizzard wanted to attribute the weapon to him personally, but he humbly declined, not wishing to appear egotistical. A Class-Act all around! (And he looks wicked cool with an eye patch!)

There are many, many people rooting for Ezra's recovery -- myself included. You can catch up on Ezra's story and get updates at the Gadgetress Blog.

Don't make me [MIND BLAST] you...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ruins Terra et. al.

While I've been writing fiction since I was very young, my stuff did not get out of the "It's Crap, but my mom will tell me she loves it" stage until after college and my first post-college job. I wrote occasionally, doing mainly short stories, but also thinking about working on "the novel" -- or as I like to call it, "the giant elephant sitting and pooing in the corner of the room."

I didn't really start working or producing as a writer until I joined a writing group here in Fort Worth, Texas. Ironically, this name of this group of talented writers is called "Writing Group." For any fledgling, failing, flailing, or floundering authors out there, I highly recommend you join a quality writing group. That and read Stephen King's non-fiction book, On Writing. The individuals in this group are wicked smart, fun, caring, and can be brutally honest about each other's work. That honesty and other external input, I find, is greatly needed to produce good writing. Since we meet every two weeks, I am also driven to write and consistently come up with... something, where I might have wussed out and done nothing before.

It was also because of my writing group that a story of mine, "Airholes," was cleaned up and improved. They even gave me some suggestions on where to submit and that is how I got my first publishing! In Ruins Terra, "Airholes" is comingled with some great stories by authors like Adele Cosgrove-Bray, Jenny Blackford, Leila Eadie, Kfir Luzzatto, and Brendan Connell. Let me take this moment to thank the editor of Ruins Terra, Eric T. Reynolds, for including my story and Jonathan Shipley for introducing me to the anthology. You can read Jonathan's story in the twin anthology, Ruins Extraterrestrial.

As this blog turns, I will be including some short stories I have written -- and put to the writing group test. We'll see how you like 'em!

Lead a dog to water and he will lap it up and slobber on you...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brittish Brilliance!

There are many things I like. There are many things I think about, follow, muse, reflect upon, and watch. I wouldn't call myself a rennaisance man because while I am interested in and do many things, I'm only good at a handful... unlike DaVinci, that overachieving know-it-all.

One thing I do know how to do is write. Which is good for blogging, emails, and get well cards. Another thing is I can appreciate really good content, even if it's off the beaten path -- even if it's not mine!

For those of you who don't look at the Digg List everyday, or who hate video games and the people who play them, I am going to introduce to you one of the funniest Britons since Monty Python -- or Mitchell and Webb, but they are still in their first season. Believe it when I tell you that I will be talking more about them in the future. Oh, and Graham Norton. He's hilarious as well!

Anyway, what I really wanted to cover was the extending of a helping hand to those who really, really need it by introducing you to Zero Punctuation, hosted at The Escapist Magazine (with new ones every Wednesday). Here is Yahtzee and his latest Magnum Opus!

(A word of Caution: Yahtzee is British, but that just means that his occasional cuss word is spoken in a Brittish accent.)

Wasn't that simply brilliant!? I've seen them all and can't get enough. I don't think he invented the phrase, "Pants-On-Head Retarded," but he uses it often enough.

And I for one salute him for it. Thank you, Yahtzee!

Write like you don't have a backspace and edit later...

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Not long ago, I was giving out some very good advice to a friend knowing full well that the friend would not follow it. Oh sure, they were interested and said the ideas were sound, but I knew they couldn't be reached. It doesn't matter that we've been in this spot before, they asking and me giving advice. It doesn't matter that I'm dead-on 98% of the time, that I called it, or predicted it, or simply flat-out told them what would happen if they did... whatever. I know that I'm right so much because I get the fallout report. I get to hear what happened, exactly how I predicted it, know what they did or did not do contrary to my advice, and how it all played out just like I said it would.

It is UNBELIEVABLY difficult to not say, "I told you so."

But I don't and I'm sure they appreciate it. I get something out of it too: I get to know how right I was.

It's been a long time since I blogged and the fault is all mine. I've been putting my creativity in other places.

SHINY LESSON #1: Blogging is like pumping iron. While it may seem that blogging would take you away from your writing projects, be they a novel or press release, it actually helps to make you a better writer. Like pumping iron: it may take away time from practicing football or wrestling, it may even sap your energy, but the end result is that you are a much better player or wrestler because of time spent in the gym.

Feverishly working to finish an article...