Writer tips, tricks and fun.

I have come across many tips, tricks and cheats for assisting the would be author on the road to publication.

I have shared a few of these over twitter and thought it would be a great idea to add them here as a blog post.

One I found that was fun is a picture of editing marks. Common and not so common.

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Who can wear the badge of writer without knowing the basic keyboard shortcuts?

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And the most helpful thing I found was this…

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#JustaGamer

It has been going on for years.

Female Gamers get mocked, harassed, abused and ridiculed.

The Geek community has made a huge launch to abolish abuse of female community members.

It is time that the Game Community join this movement.

I am a Girl. I am a mother. I am a writer. I am a Gamer.

Back in the early 80’s I would ‘role play’ Thundercats with my brothers and the other neighborhood kids. Or G.I. Joe (Gotta hand it to them for making chicks badass, too bad they were still side characters). I was very much a tom boy, out kicking ass and not taking any crap from the bullies and boys in the area. Thankfully this was not discouraged by my parents and I was never pushed to be anyone other than myself. The girl who loved make up but would kick your ass if you picked on her little brothers.

I would spend mornings before school at a friends house playing Super Mario in the NES. I knew all the tricks.

I was not formally introduced to pen and paper games until High School where a group of us discovered The World of Darkness. Vampire, Werewolf and Mage.  This was after a personal family tragedy that left me doubting my own self worth and the young, strong me was forgotten.

I would hear comments from the male gamers under their breath about how “It figures.” My character description was an attractive woman, confident in her own skin.

Introduce LARPing. OMG! I was in heaven!

A society filled with women notoriously drenched in low self esteem because they are not the Cheer Leader body type. Who have decided to handle that with an overly aggressive attitude against anyone who might threaten “Their” position as a woman among the boys and men of the group.

Women are competitive against other women by nature. It is our need to be the best possible mate match that drives us.

Some women will deny this by saying “I don’t care what other people think of me.” but when you are being honest with yourself you understand that you can’t get away from the desire to be “attractive”. Whatever that means to you as a person.

I am not fat. I am not horribly disfigured.

So naturally the aggression I received as a female in a “mans world” was from the other women who had discovered this wonderful world of make believe. Ignored, back biting, rude rumors flying.  Accusations of ‘sleeping my way to the top’ because I was friends with the guys who started the group and took time to help with the running of things.

I just wanted people to like me.

I will admit I had my own share of aggression due to feelings of social inadequacies. I know that this attitude did not help me gain friends and fellows among the other women of the group.  I like to think that when I return to a LARP community I will be able to look at the other players and say “Sup” with a friendly nod and only receive a nod and “sup” in return.  (Personal growth and all that stuff)

Enter MMORPG’s and the Wonderful World of EverQuest.

At this time I moved from Seattle Wsshington to a tiny little town called Northome Minnesota. Talk about Culture Shock!

EverQuest became my social outlet. My husband (Boyfriend at the time) and I would take turns playing on the one computer we had in 1999 early 2000.

Our son was born in May of 2000.

So new boyfriend, new place, new baby, new everything.  I was feeling disconnected from everything and escaped into EQ. My life became Work, baby, EQ.

Over the years things changed and I spent time in many other MMO’s.

Star Wars: Galaxies, Minions of Mirth, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest 2, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Asherons, Call, Anarchy Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, E.V.E Online and I am sure I am missing some here.

As you can see I have become a fan of the MMORPG world. I love the stories. I love the social interaction with other people from all over the world. I love that we get the chance to make our own stories in these worlds and share them with others.

What I don’t like is the harassment from other players telling me I am not good enough to join their group because I am not in the top 100 on my server. What I don’t like is logging into voice chat and hearing a dozen male voices go “Oh My God!” when I just say Hello.

What I don’t like is when they find out I am female they start explaining what basic terms mean or that I would be better at my job if I used THIS equipment instead of what I currently have on.

The need to correct my game play when all I want to do is figure it out without the condescension.

As a mom I also get the “We don’t want her in the group because she will have to go afk.” (SO Sorry I am interrupting you by taking care of my kids and practicing good parenting, but that is a different blog about Parenting as a Gamer)

How often has a female player made a male character in order to avoid criticisms? I know of a few.

What can we do as a community to change the Gender Bias that plagues our game play?

Should we be given social tools in game to ‘silence’ players who are offensive?  How would abuse of this be handled?

Can speaking out against the Problem help? What about the players who don’t understand what they are doing wrong? There are those who honestly do not see the damage they are doing. They really don;t understand that asking for a pic to prove you’re a female is insulting. (What does this do to a transgender person?)

Want to join the community in speaking out against Gender Bias? Join the hashtag #justagamer on Twitter and tell us your story.

What are other gamers saying about the issues we face?

Follow:

@Ever_Cae  and @EverCast_Show

http://evercae.tumblr.com/

She was the awesome behind the hashtag #justagamer.

Or

Leave a comment and link to your blog about being #justagamer.

If this post does one thing, I hope it gets you thinking about how you treat other players in your gaming community.

Most started out as a bonding of outcasts from main stream society. Now we are the Main Stream. We need to be better than bigoted Gender Bias AssHats.

When gamers cry…an NPC is Born.

Do gamers cry?

Do they feel anything for their fellow players?

Who else but another gamer can understand some of the things we go through? YouMadBro? Dodging Trolls. Hours spent getting through dungeons to get that slot item or crafting the best gear! Making it to the top of the PVP lists! Mad skillz bro!

I read an article linked to Twitter today about a little girl who was honored by “MechWarrior” after she lost her fight with cancer.  A specially designed ‘mech chassie’ you can purchase for $10 was created. The money goes to the Canadian Cancer Society ( here is the link to the article http://t.co/hP1wveNIbI).

I took the time to read through the forums and found dozens of comments from gamers of all walks who shared their story of a friend, loved one, co-worker, who had been honored by their game of choice in a similar manner.

I myself have experienced 2 unexpected deaths of fellow gamers. One of which was a very dear friend of mine who I had never met in person but considered to be family.

His name was Bilin. (His given name was Chris.) He has an NPC named after him in the MMO game Dark Age of Camelot. h-Bilinhttp://camelot.allakhazam.com/db/search.html?cmob=3944

He died suddenly when his gall bladder burst. My husband and I received a phone call from his sister telling us the news. Our number had been in his favorites listed as Family.

The other was a guild member in World of Warcraft. Our guild was always thought of as our gamer family so when someone from his family took the time to log in and explain to the rest of us about his sudden passing it was like hearing a cousin or aunt had died. I was grateful that they understood how important this extended family was enough to inform us of his passing.

We RIP’ed his characters Information in the Guild Roster letting future members know his status and informing future guild leads to leave them on the roster.

I hope the the friends and family who don’t game learn what a wonderful community of people there are that play video games. That we are willing to come together in support of each other when times are difficult. Being a virtual shoulder to lean on during times of grief.

Most people see just a bunch of lazy boys sitting eating chips, doing nothing but staring at a computer or TV all day long. They don’t catch the social interaction that happened, because until just recently most of that was done through text.

Regardless of what game you happen to play, if you learn someone is also a gamer, your ideas about them shift. Gamers come from all walks of life (Take the woman who ran for political office who was a WoW player). So before you get the idea in your head that we are all lazy slobs who don’t have jobs and are too fat,ugly, stupid for society to want us, remember we are people (and some studies show we are SMART people!) Flesh and Blood Humans.

Video games have been a social outlet for the social outcast to the celebrity. The bonds forged in the Field of Bone on  Kunark, or the Triumph of Defeating DeathWing are made in the fires of a Dwarven Forge! Allowing people to be who they are and not judged by how they look or what job they have.

We are Gamers! We are Family!

So, Do gamers cry?

Yes, we do.

Do gamers care about flesh and blood human beings?

Yes, we do.

Racism/Sexism in Nerd/Geek Culture

I know what you’re thinking.

What?! No way are nerds/geeks racist/sexist!

Are you sure about that? I know that those public figures in our awesome fandom of geeky goodness all preach abolish hate and love thy human next to you.

Take a moment and think about racism/sexism and the last Con you where at?

Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Spiderman, Captain America, Ironman, Wonderwoman, BlackWidow, Storm. (How many of you thought that a Black Green Lantern was weird? I thought it was cool and mentally High Five’ed them for it.)

I am not saying that we should reinvent any of these Iconic figures into the “Black Version” or the ‘Chick Version” That can end up just as insulting as saying something rude and bigoted.

What we can do is ignore color/sex as we move forward. (And I am not just talking to the White Guy in his Grandmas basement either. I am talking to Every Person who claims the Title of Geek/Nerd/Dork/Human.)

Background, Life, CHARACTER. Focus there instead of highlighting the things that scream RACE. Search for things that are common across the board. (There are just as many absent white baby daddies out there. And just as many  picket fence Black Families.)

I love watching BBC programming because they have decided that it does not matter what color a person is or what their sexual orientation is. What matters is WHO a person is. Doctor Who, Primeval, Torchwood, Being Human. All these are Big Hitters for BBCAmerica television and the biggest thing I notice is that Race is Never a Problem.

What is a Problem, In my opinion is when people make it a problem.

Now I know that is a touchy subject these day but Ya know what? Get over it! Both Sides! There shouldn’t be Sides. White/Black/Yellow/Purple/Gay/Straight. It should never come into the picture. EVER.

There is Culture. Certainly there is a difference there. Maybe that is why Britain has less issue with color on TV than America does. We like to think of ourselves as a ‘melting pot of culture’ while still clinging desperately to what makes us unique. What makes us who we are. (  I am sure Britain has there share of ‘culture issues’ but I don’t live there so I don’t know.)

Maybe that should be the focus of some of the New Hero. From Great Adversity Comes Great Hero. Overcoming Terrible Things is a common theme among Superheros. Maybe the new heroes should ignore those things we seem to keep focusing on that make us diverse and start highlighting the things that make us all HUMAN.

My Favorite show for abolishing Race is Star Trek. Where RACE is E-Raced and Culture Is Highlighted. Can we be more like That?star-trek-tos

Making time, Like a Time Lord!

Being a writer is all about making time.

That’s a funny statement; Making Time.

Are writers actually Time Lords that have been abandoned at birth only to rediscover their identity through the printed word?

Really, we have all of time and space at our fingertips. The only thing holding us back is our own lack if imagination! Each book is a TARDIS and every reader is a Companion. Are you ready to join the Ponds?

We actually have it one up on The Doctor. Writers are not limited to one Dimension. Alternate Universe needs exploring? We are there on the front lines, pen in hand to bring you the latest and greatest stories of daring and passion from realms beyond.

Making Time to write can seem pretty daunting. There are days that feel like everyone and everything is out to get in your way. The kids will have a meltdown (Worse than a nuclear power plant), the phone will ring every time you sit down at your computer, the spouse will choose that moment to need you (You dirty mind!).

Regardless of what may distract you or get in your way, the only way your book or script will get finished (or started) will be if you MAKE TIME. Even if it is only a few minutes between stuffing your face with a bagel in the morning before you run out the door to sit in traffic (Take a voice recorder and talk your book out while you sit behind that semi on the interstate!) or before you head to bed after the kids are all settled in.

The idea is to be putting words on a blank page (digital pages count). Find out if Word Count keeps you excited or if counting the number of Pages works better. Whatever you need to do to continue to pour out the Universe in your mind. (Otherwise you may explode and I don’t think two universes can exist in the same time and space.)Image

Next time you open a book, remember; They are much bigger on the inside!

I survived the #SharkNado !!

It was incredible! Sharks flying through the air! People running and screaming, blood flowing through the streets.

Lucky for me there was much advanced warning from folks on twitter such as Wil and Anne Wheaton, Craig Engler from SyFy, @RedCross and well as many others. I don’t know if I would have survived without their brave reporting on the situation.

In the aftermath all we can really do is think about those that were lost and stock up on tornado stopping home made propane bombs!

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Ok, so I don’t live anywhere near SharkNado alley. You have to admit that it was one hell of a ride if you where anywhere near twitter last night. The morning feed is full of exclamations about what happened and how this TV movie became such a hit on the Internet.
I didn’t actually get to watch the silly thing until after the craze had passed. My local cable company was a few hours behind the rest of the world.

I sat and watched the sharks hit the chainsaw at 9pm pacific. I wasn’t disappointed. It was every bit as cheesy and B-movie that I expected.

If you missed the phenomenon, tune in to SyFy again on Thursday July 18 7/6c for another chance.

@KseniaAnske, and other things.

Good morning fellow writers and readers!

I wanted to post a quick Random Thoughts.

I read a blog post by a fellow Washington writer by the name of Ksenia Anske.
She talked about how to get started writing a blog. Her words are great advise. She has one book soon to be published as well as a very active twitter audience. Not to mention a background in social media.

You can find her at http://www.kseniaanske.com or on twitter @kseniaanske. She is great fun and twitters a ton. Writes a ton.

Her most recent blog entry talks about how to get started writing a blog. It got me thinking about my own blog and that one guy/girl I must be letting down by not adding something new on a regular basis.
I vowed not to write unless I has something decent worth saying. Ksneia suggests to be sure to add something to your blog at least once a week. She posts twice a week. I want to amend my vow to say, I will come up with SOMETHING worth saying at least twice a week.

Like any new writer/blogger I check my stats and can sometimes get bummed by the lack of views. However, I have noticed there is one view every day even if I don’t post something. So, to you my one daily viewer. Thank You! From the bottom of my heart. You have encouraged me to make this a better place to visit. You have helped keep me going in the midst of turmoil. (Really!)

This blog is intended as a warming up and a recounting of my journey as a writer. Becoming a writer has been the one constant in my life. The one occupation I have always dreamed of. Now I am almost 36 and ready to do it. My life is at a point where I can sit down and do what I dream of.

Self employment is Hard. As a writer you are self employed. If you do not have the drive to do it all yourself then you will never make it as a writer. If you do not have the discipline that is needed to sit your butt in your chair and ignore the rest of the world long enough to meet your word count (Whatever that may be for you. Mine is 2000 words a day. I know pro writers who push 8k+ in a day.)

On a more personal note: If you do not have a spouse willing to let you sit on your computer dreaming all day, it is going to be that much harder. You NEED a companion willing to have faith in you. Who will tighten their belt a bit and take over some of the things in life that NEED to be done. (like paying the bills or doing the Job thing) It takes time to become successful. Hard work, tears and sweat.

I talked about writing for the money in an earlier blog. I still think that you can do that. It is a business. These days it is an authors world. With self publishing available, anyone who has written a book can get it out there. I have read some REALLY BAD books. But you know what? They are published. I’m not. (yet) So who is ahead?

Thanks again reader!

Times a wasting…what am I doing?

Well, here I am.

It has been a while. Been M.I.A. For medical reasons. Though I do make it a point to check up on my social media now and again. So I am not totally out of the loop.

I promised not to post anything unless I had something worth saying besides ‘Today was a good day. I blah blah blah’. Well, sorry. I figured it had been a while, So I am going to update everyone on life in the Mad House.

Father’s Day. I allowed my kids to wake their dad by climbing on top of him in a giant pile of arms and legs. The dog thought this was a great idea. He joined in the mayhem and there was dog breath, Ew.

We have 6 boys for those who don’t know. That’s a lot of kids on top of my husband. Add an 80 pound black lab. Yup.

We had a good day just relaxing and hanging out with the kids.

I hope to get back on track with writing and doing author interviews in the coming weeks. I have read a few books from new authors recently that are just amazing. I look forward to sharing them with you all. If you want a hands up on the books I have read or am reading check out these names:

Divided by Jennifer Sights **** Star rate

Revealing Hamilton by Sarah Jayne Carr **** Star rate

Currently reading Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines

Will be reading Lust, Money and Murder by Mike Wells.

So follow along and tell me what you think of each book. I know the authors would love to hear from you as well!

Marriage Equality, my take…

Today the Internet has been full of marriage equality and gay rights.

I read posts from the Christian stand saying that marriage is between a man and a woman. Yes, under the law this is true. Under the old contract there were many things that were asked of the people for their health and safety.

As a Christian myself, I believe in the new contract forged in blood by Jesus that we, as modern believers, should show that God is Love. Not continue to spread fear and hate under the guise of religion.

God is not ‘rules and regulations to make you feel guilty your entire life’. He is LOVE.

The church has forgotten that over the many years it was and has been in power. You all know the saying. ‘power corrupts….’

It won’t hurt me or by belief in God and it will certainly not change His love for me to show His love to the lgtb community by allowing them the same freedom to love. It may just change their opinion of a sadly corrupt state of Christians today.

I take a stand now as a Christian and say marriage equality is the loving thing to do. I know I am going to get ‘flamed’ for this by well meaning Christians. But those people need to stop and ask themselves, if a man murders someone and the later accepts Christ, will he still go to hell? I don’t think so.

This is my opinion. You are entitled to yours.

For the love of writing.

I keep seeing people post about how you should write for the writing and not for the money.

This is awesome advice.

Hard to accept when you are not financially stable.

I watched a biography special on JK Rowling. The woman wrote because she had nothing left. It was her last hope, her way of coping when there was really no where else for her to go because financially there was nothing left.

I really connected with her position. Sometimes it isn’t even about the writing itself. Sometimes diving head first into a fantasy is the only way to keep your sanity when the world around you is falling apart. When the house is in foreclosure and the kids need new shoes.

Sometimes, we writers can find the golden sunshine spots in our lives when we create mayhem for our characters. We can think “Well at least I don’t have Zeus trying to kill me…” when the baby is running around naked and he left his stinky diaper on the floor.

Or we can discover passions we did not realize we had when writing that hot sex scene between two characters that make you want to light up after. Finding those passions keep our connection to reality. Not the other way around.

I am not ashamed to say I am going to write for the money. Everyone always says to do what you are passionate about, find a job you love, do what makes you happy. Well, my happy is writing, I hope to make money doing it. I know it will be like any other job where you start out as an entry level assistant who does all the hard parts and gets a meager paycheck in return. I am not stupid. However, I see the road ahead and it is paved in paperbacks. (Or EBooks)

One day, I will be able to say I make enough money to pay my bills and get my kids through school. For now I am going to write for the love of writing. To gain the skill I need to become a professional writer.

Write for the love of writing. Write to make yourself happy. Don’t worry about anything else. Those things can be chewed on and spit out later. When you write, let everything else fall away. Become the world you’re writing about.

This includes letting go of dreams of big paychecks and movie deals. Those are things outside of the writing. Yes, be business minded about your work, know your worth (be honest here). Business minded also means knowing when to let go of things you have no control over.

The best writing comes when you can drop out of the world you live in, no matter how difficult things are going, and ‘zone out’ into the world you are creating.

You can find the balance between writing for love of words and writing to make money. Professional writers have found that. They put in the time, paid the dues, earned the paycheck. For the love of writing they climbed their way to the top and earned the right to sit and do nothing but write all day.

It is work. Never for a minute think that it is not. You will WORK and work hard as a writer. Probably harder than you would at a ‘traditional’ job.

So when a writer says don’t do it for the money, in part they are saying don’t let that be your only motivation or you will never make enough for the amount of work that goes into being a professional writer.

Stay positive and don’t give up.