Escaped One Last Time

“The Escape Artist” Skye, one of our beloved Siberian Huskies, finally escaped this world one last time this morning. I have no doubt she’s delighted to be finally rid of her human captors, and can run wherever she wants across the rainbow bridge. I will miss her, terribly. Meanwhile, her sister Ashe is oblivious and continues to be her old lady self. I suppose it’s for the best.

Kickstarter for my friend: Nicole Hamlett

I just helped launch a Kickstarter project for my dear friend Nicole Hamlett. She’s a talented independent writer and has already released two books in her Grace Murphy series. You can check out her Amazon author page. We made a silly video to promote the Kickstarter project, you can check it out on the project’s page. Here’s a brief write up about her books:

Nicole Hamlett’s Grace Murphy novels are a beloved Urban Fantasy series featuring a heroine who is real, raw and whiny. Grace, who just happens to stumble (quite literally) across her heritage, finds that she is part Greek Goddess with some crazy super powers. The first two novels, Huntress and Rifts follow her journey from bored single mom of a teenage boy to a woman struggling to adjust to her new super-self while trying to save the world at the same time.

The BLISTERING third installment, Volcanoes erupts into online stores August 6th, but YOU can get a DRM FREE eReader copy (MOBI or EPUB) (AND MORE!) TWO weeks before everyone else by PLEDGING at least $5 in this Kickstarter. Be sure to check out the sidebar on the right for some other AWESOME incentives! (Including an option to get your copy of an exclusive, limited run PRINT edition of Volcanoes!)

Help support indie writers, and back her project 😉

D&D 4E Paper Encounter Tracker

With all the electronic tools we have available for D&D tabletop sessions these days (such as the excellent iPlay4e), one might not need paper tracking anymore. Although, I found myself wanting a paper trail of all the encounters my characters have came across. After a campaign, it’s nice to see a stack of “battle records” and reminisce in the glorious battles fought. Therefore, I made the attached paper tracker. It’s two sheets fitted on letter-size paper. Both PDF and Excel versions are available, in case you want to make further tweaks.

The Brass Ring

(A short-short by me that won the August 2011 short story contest, held by the Aspiring Writers group on LinkedIn. The theme was “Adventure”, genre was “Young Adult”, and focus was “Amusement Park”, with strict word count of 715 words)

Cecile hid her tear-swelled eyes behind her long black hair.

“Have a great time!” bubbled the park employee as she took the ticket. Cecile muttered a “thanks” and struggled through the turnstile. Dusk’s light peeked behind her, framing her slender silhouette.

At the midway, Cecile closed her eyes and immersed herself in the surroundings. The amusement park had always been her escape. The dazzling lights, smell of cotton candy, and roar of machinery — they filled her senses and muted her sorrows.
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The Language of Music

(Rhogar’s my D&D 4E Dragonborn Bard. This is a short write up on how he performs his unique brand of Comprehend Language ritual.)

Rhogar reached out and traced the unknown language on the sarcophagus with his scaly claw. He retrieved his ritual book and flipped to the back pages of the volume where they were filled with sets of five horizontal lines. Without hesitation, he bit into his index digit. He winced a little at the slight pain. A small bead of blood oozed from the wound. Then, he started tracing the unknown symbols at various positions on the horizontal lines with his blood. He let his mind navigate the musical stave. To the untrained eyes, the symbols were static. To Rhogar, they drifted and shifted along the musical lanes. Inside his head, the unknown symbols echoed and resonated a cacophony. He couldn’t help but hum along with the music formed in his head.

When he’s done tracing all the symbols, he licked his finger and the wound closed. He then took out his lute and started playing the tune he heard. First, it was rough and primitive, like a novice learning to play his first song. As minutes go by, it grew in complexity. Rhogar’s fingers danced up and down the lute, traversing the string highways. Finally, with one final pluck of a particular high note, the symbols on the pages glowed a crimson red momentarily and washed the room with sonic energy.

Rhogar put the lute back on his back. He took a deep breath, gleaming he said, “I’ve got it!”

Professor Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

Dr. Randy Pausch, a huge proponent for game entertainment for education, gave his “Last Lecture” recently. He’s been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and only have three to six months of good health left. I have never heard of him before personally (there’s much in this world I don’t know). But after watching his special on Good Morning America, which highlighted some of his speech and some additional comments, there’s no doubt in my mind that our industry will lose a great deal when he’s gone. I am inspired and admire his courage in such situation. After seeing this, I guarantee you, your big problems won’t seem that big anymore.

You can view the whole lecture on Google. A transcript and other information are available on his university website. You can also read more about him on his Wikipedia entry.