Adventures in Games

For those not in the know (at this point, how could you NOT be???), my husband designs card games. He has been at it for a couple of years as an amateur, and recently designed a game so fun, so family-friendly, and so awesome that his publisher couldn’t turn him away.

In short, his first game was published at the beginning of this year. It’s called Spy Guys, and I consider it a cross between Memory and Gin Rummy, only with cuter artwork. My mother would have loved it. Hell, *I* love it, and not just because Honey designed it. He, however, never describes it as a cross between Memory and Gin Rummy, probably because he was never so consistently trampled by his mother at playing Gin Rummy as a child, because his mother is a Wolf, not a Card Shark. But that’s not why I was telling you this.

Every time we play-tested Spy Guys it was SO HARD to put the game away. “Let’s play it one more time, just to be sure.” We have introduced this game to all of our friends, and the Hensons loved it so much, we sent a pre-production copy home with them, whereupon Eldest Daughter, Age Eight taught it to her grandparents. We even took it to a friend’s game day, where no one else knew Honey yet; where when I mentioned playing it, everyone rolled their eyes. Oh, you think you’re a game designer, do you? And even all of them wanted to play “just one more time.” Because it’s fun! But that’s not why I’m telling you this.

Last weekend was Orc-Con. It’s a local gaming convention, here in Los Angeles. (Yeah, I didn’t know there was such a thing, either, until I met Honey.) There are all these rooms for different kinds of games: video games, board games, card games, miniatures games, war games, role playing games (a game-form of storytelling), live action role playing games (same as the latter, only in costume), collectibles games. For these rooms, the publishers and designers take different tables and time slots so that people can come learn about and/or just play their games tournament style. So there’s a slot for Dice Masters, and a slot for Heroclix, and a slot for … I don’t know… Uno. You sign up for what game you want to play, and at the appointed time, you try to trounce your fellow gamers, and there are often prizes for the winners.

There’s also a dealer room where you can buy games and fun chatchkies. There’s a flea market where you can buy used games and… weird chatchkies, and pins with funny phrases. (“Anybody want a peanut?”) There’s a library, where you can check out different games, set them up at an empty table, and then either you and your friends, or you and complete strangers who happen to wander by, can play off the clock. There’s even a Paint And Take table, where they will give you a miniature, and you can sit there and paint it and bring it home to either add to your miniatures collection/game or set it on your mantle, center stage, to show off your impressive miniature painting prowess. I made a Scottish Drummer guy (of course!), but I ran out of time, so he’s on the side of the mantle– that’s for mediocre prowess, you see. But that’s not why I’m telling you this.

For the last few years, Honey has been going to a bunch of these local conventions as a volunteer judge. There are a couple of games that are near and dear to his heart, and Honey is the kind of guy that Just Knows all the rules to his favorite games, no matter how complicated they are. He’s also fair and honest to a fault, so he’s kind of perfect for judging. This last weekend, he judged both of his regular games, and then… ran a demo of Spy Guys, which was awesome!!! We had six times the number of people show up for Spy Guys as for the other games he ran that weekend, and they were all strangers. And they all enjoyed themselves. YAAAAY!!!!

And here’s why I’m telling you all this: I forgot to take any photos. At. All.

You’ll have to trust me. It was awesome. Like Legos.

PS I might have forgotten to take any pictures, but I did pick up a 1up mushroom. Does that count?

PPS You didn’t think I’d forget the plug, did you? Pick up your own copy of Spy Guys at the Victory Point web site or on Amazon (but Honey gets a better commission if you buy straight from VP.) AND just to entice you, the game is currently for 3-6 players, but he is about to release an expansion pack featuring a two-player option, as well as some Lady Spies! Sa-WEET!


Photo by ME!

Dear fellow aspiring professional writers,

There is nothing so disappointing as picking up a book you cannot wait to read, and setting it down before you even get to Chapter One, due to bad writing.

Don’t get me wrong: I completely see why so many writers have turned to independently publishing their books. It is NOT easy to get noticed by a major publisher unless you’re already published. And with all the new software and avenues to reach readers… why not self-publish?

I say go for it! I say, get your best work out there. But I also say you should give your best work its best shot, and I promise you that 9 times out of 10, your best shot is a helluva lot more than your one friend who knows how to spell and all of your very supportive and well-meaning friends who don’t know how to string a narrative together and have no interest in writing anyway. Continue reading Dear fellow aspiring professional writers,


Apologies for the lateness of this post. Just because you write something, doesn’t mean it automatically posts when you want it to. Sleep deprivation and technical difficulties will do that to you.


As I write this, I am sitting in an auditorium full of people, awaiting one of my favorite teachers on the planet to take the stage. They would probably tut-tut me for saying what I’m about to say, but I like offering context to people who may or may not understand what’s happening here. Also, I’m not perfect. So sue me. Here’s the short version:

2005 was a bad year, starting out with me in the middle of a five-car pile up, and ending with the death of my mother and my first marriage only two days apart. Following that came a point in my life where I was dealing with some pretty major Depression.

I suppose you could say I was lucky, because at the time I was not working for an outside employer, so if I slept all day, nobody cared except for my grandfather. Of course, he had needs, so I really only got about two hours of sleep at any one point, day or night. Things got pretty rough for me– I was really deep in my hole. I don’t think I was ever suicidal; like, I wasn’t planning how to do it or anything. I had just stopped caring whether I was still alive.
Continue reading Blessed

A Tale of Two Oxygen Masks

I have been riding in airplanes since I was a small child; at first it was under the eagle eyes of my parents, and when I was deemed old enough, I got to be my sister’s chaperone when it was just the two of us flying together between our home and our grandparents’. It was a big deal for me, because I was responsible for her well-being. (Teens are big into taking on responsibility, you know.) For that reason, the first thing I did was teach her how to read her ticket, and how to find her connecting flight. That way, even if we got *gasp!* separated, she’d be able to find her way around the airport and get to her flight. She picked it up in no time, and was an instant flying ace on her first try!

But that first time, when we got on the plane, and I was still feeling the full weight of my awesome responsibility, I realized that the boring safety speech I had always ignored before take-off was actually important. I needed to know what to do in case there was an emergency. I even made Squeaky pay attention, too, so that in case we got separated, she’d be able to take care of herself.

Continue reading A Tale of Two Oxygen Masks