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Jul. 12th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

What’s the BUZZ?

Last night BUZZ had its debut play-testing. Two games, one with four players, one with five players. (Thanks to all who participated! Richard, Thorin, JSanderson, Rachel, Peer, MLE and Aaron!)

The artwork received general approval. A commenter on LJ had thought the Wild cards too different in style from the basic symbol cards, but this was an advantage in play – making it easier to see the distinction when the special cards came into play – unlike the art sample posted online, there are far fewer of these Wilds in relation to the rest of the deck (18 out of 130).

The cards are also larger in hand than the sample on-screen, showing as more pleasing the contrast between color borders and shades-of-gray symbol art. The main visual problem was between the nearly indigo shade of blue (which had seemed more a royal blue on-screen than when printed) and the purple, making for some confusion - I’ll be shading the blue more toward cyan. During the printing and cutting process I found other evidences of Human Error to be corrected.

In play, the main issues discovered were with the new ‘Color Wild’ cards and ‘Jokers’ that I’ve introduced to play. As originally proposed, and with six colors, each including 2 scorpions, the Color Wilds made nearly endless conga chains of Scorpion stings possible.

My original thinking was to introduce the Color Wilds as an alternative to doubling the number of Change Symbol or Change Color Wilds.

First of all, players agreed that ‘Color Wild’ wasn’t descriptive enough of the role of the card, which changes the color of any color-card (non Wild) it’s played upon. We considered terms like ‘Orangeify’ and ‘Purpleize’ ‘Red Shift’ etc., but I think ‘Color Shift’ or ‘Colorize’ will be the final title.
To avoid the endless conga chains of Scorpions, we agreed on a need for some sort of Anti-venom. So, the Color Shift cards will also provide Protective Coloration – they can be played on top of a Scorpion, but don’t count as a real one, just let the player avoid the sting(s) while letting the Scorpions pass by without increase. (They’ll work the same way when played on Skips and Reverses, allowing the player to make the play without invoking the effect of the Action card.)

And the Jokers (there are only 2 in the whole deck of 130 cards) will work as a true Anti-Venom, squashing any accumulation of Scorpions flat. Of course, the player can choose to make the Joker into any other card – including a new Scorpion starting a new chain if they wish. (Played on the Change Symbol or Change Color Wilds, the Joker becomes another card of that sort, given that these Wilds are ordinarily not allowed to be played on top of the opposite type, making the Joker a little more powerful than these Wilds, while honoring the principle of not allowing the major Wilds to interfere with each other).
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Jul. 9th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Car pooling and ride sharing for conventions

I've been putatively in charge of ride sharing and car pooling efforts for Minicon for the past couple years. Right away I knew there must be a technical solution that would make the idea work and I put out the request for help from someone who might have the know-how to create a simple application for coordinating riders and sharers.

No one appeared, and it finally occurred to me this year, to look around for pre-existing applications. I think I've found something to help, and have set up a free account for car pooling to organization events.

He-e-ere's Carpool WorldCollapse )
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Jul. 8th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Is this the prize?

Hi! I'm getting ready to list the BUZZ project and have been looking at other Kickstarter card game projects and thinking about what kinds of rewards I can offer to backers. Here are some ideas. There are a few question marks and I welcome suggestions for those and alternate ideas on other items:

$1 Backers
Access to all Kickstarter updates and Thank You listing on website

$7 Backers
Get pdfs of all the cards and rules to print out for yourself. Plus a Thank You listing on website

see the artCollapse )

$11 Backers
(First thought: I will mail you a bite of potato salad)
Get a 50% discount on the game, plus pdfs of all cards and rules and mention on the website

$23 Backers
Get an autographed (on the box) copy of the game itself. Plus pdf of cards and rules suitable for printing. Plus Thank You listing on website
More levels and Stretch GoalsCollapse )
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Jul. 7th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Kickstarter Progress

I made a lot of progress on the Kickstarter project. For one thing, the game now has a name! It's Buzz!

I’ve come up with a full set of cards all ready to print out and play test and I wrote up the rule sheet. The image below includes samples of all six colors, all six symbols and the different types of Wild cards and special Action cards:


What is new? The Color Wilds, which can be played in place of any other card of that color – not just the regular Symbol cards, but also Action cards of that color. And there are two Joker cards – Wilds that can substitute for any card in the deck, but if they are played on top of another Wild, they become that type of Wild (but not a Match.)

Jul. 2nd, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Take these broken wings and learn to flutter them a bit

I'm finally reading 'The Incrementalists' thanks to the loan of the book by thorintatge . I've only read part of the book as yet and have not digested my reactions, but today came across a passage talking about the ways in which a person can experience events in life that make lasting changes on her personality.

This prompted me to look back at some of the ways I've changed over the years. In college I was pretty much a 'blithe spirit.' I hardly knew what it was to feel angry, and I had a positive attitude toward the future. Since then, I've experienced a number of losses and disappointments that I am sad to admit have left me feeling too often guarded and resigned, persisting in my goals more through grim determination than optimism. I've changed in other ways, that I'm better pleased to own, but this bothers me.

Facing it, I reminded myself that I have choices about how I respond to life's disappointments. I can be hurt and wary and discouraged, but I can also embrace those feelings with compassion (also learned from my hurts and losses). And, being hurt or disappointed doesn't mean I can't still value my sense of humor and my good nature or enjoy all the things in life that are still worth enjoying.

Jun. 30th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

In my-y-y life I've loved them all

An updated Bio for my Naomi Stone website:
When I first learned to read I soon fell in love with books and stories. I loved fairy tales and tales of magic from the very start. Even before learning to read, I loved to daydream; I daydreamed myself into adventures with my favorite TV characters. I dreamed up adventures crossing time and space, meeting characters out of history and legend. Books gave me the sense that there was a home waiting for my daydreams, a place where they belonged – and it’s my great pleasure now to share them with other readers.

I started with fairy tales and progressed to Fantasy & Science Fiction. In grade school, I devoured every f&sf book our school library had, reading a dozen books a week. As an adult my schedule had to make way for other interests, but I still love reading in the genre that was my first love. I became interested in romances when I read an article about a study that found romance readers reporting themselves generally more satisfied in their love lives. My inner researcher determined to study the genre to see just what it was that might have such an effect. Surprise: romances concern themselves with the issues involved in creating intimate emotional relationships.

With strong interests in both genres, my next step was to concern myself with finding and creating stories that could satisfay both the f/sf fan and the romantic in me. Not an easy task. I shuddered at the first 'cross-over' book I met - in which the science of the world-building could only be called ludicrous. I soon tired of vampires and dark, angtsy romances. I wanted imaginative, intelligent stories with a sense of fun as well as romance. When my f/sf fan friends tell me they don't usually read romances, but mine don't detract from the fantasy and adventure, and my romance reader friends tell me they don't usually read f/sf, but mine work as romances, I think I've succeeded.

My first crush was on Rocky the Flying Squirrel; I later crushed on Alan Alda's Hawkeye character on the MASH tv series, and on Kwai Chang Caine of tv's 'Kung Fu' series... I have a long history of crushes on imaginary characters, so I suppose it was only natural to start writing about imagined love interests such as the amazingly powerful djinni, Al-Marid, of 'Spirited,' and the lovable nerd-turned superhero, Greg of 'Wonder Guy,' - not to mention all the Talented superheroes of the Team Guardian series and the ordinary mortals touched by the magic of the Fairy Godmothers' Union. I hope you'll check them out between the pages of their books.

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Jun. 28th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

If you don't know where you want to go, it doesn't matter what road you take

Yesterday, Carole and I attended a free seminar for women in transition, hosted by New York Life. They gave us sandwiches and talked about financial planning. Five women attended, all of us out of work and looking.

Carole and I both spoke up about how impossible it is to plan when you have no idea where money is going to come from, or to save when you have barely enough to survive.

I liked the distinction one of the presenters made, about the difference between having a plan and having a strategy. No one knows the future, but we can develop strategies for dealing with situations as they arise.

The presenters also offer some free guidance on an individual basis and I'm planning to pursue that. My situation is not without hope. I've got another novella coming out in October; I'm working on a new novel; I'm building a client base for formatting work, planning a Kickstarter, etc. It may be helpful to form a strategy for building on what I've got.

Before this, I'd been praying. I told myself that since I do believe in a supreme wisdom, I'd be foolish NOT to look to it for guidance, and guidance is what I prayed for. I like to think that's what led me to propose the retainer idea to Nancy and to go to this seminar (when I would ordinarily think it a waste of time, because of its being impossible to plan when you don't know and save when you don't have, etc.).

I really think someone who knows more about the financial aspect than I do should write a book about financial planning for people who lack income and monetary resources, but do have skills and community, etc. There's more to wealth than money. Money is a measure; wealth is that which it measures - or attempts to.

Money's a fairly recent invention on the evolutionary scale; humans evolved to work together for a common good. There was no such thing as a steady paycheck; we evolved to live with uncertainty, relying on each other, our skills, and knowledge of the world around us. I'm sure that's still where the key to actual wealth resides.
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Jun. 23rd, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Let's do this Kickstarter thing

I'm now wondering about art styles. This is an opportunity to do a set of completely new, fun art.

/ / / / / / / /

I've experimented with a number of different styles over the years, from fairly realistic and representational to more abstract-expressionist to cartoony. (Feel free to take a look at what's on my portfolio site: http://www.dreamspell.net)

What do y'all think might be most appealing in this kind of card game format?

Sent out an inquiry to three different companies that print custom game cards:

"Hi, I'm asking about a custom deck of 126 cards, sized 2.25 x 3.5" (Bridge size), Custom artwork on front and back; some cards could be two-color; some are four-color, full bleed on fronts. I'd provide all artwork to your specs. What would you charge per deck for 100 decks? for 250 decks, etc.? What packaging options do you offer?"

Also: reading up on Kickstarter FAQs and advice.
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Jun. 9th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Week of June 2 - 9

I made reasonable goals’ progress this week. The WIP has been slow; the general story setup is exciting, but I’m in one of those transitional sections where I have to feel my way, unsure of exactly what happens to get me through to where I know I’ll wind up later.

My CPs have sent a lot of material for me to read and I’m making progress with that, too. I won’t have nearly as much as they to contribute this month.

It’s all too easy to feel like the odd-man-out in any group. I’m the only one of the Critique Group who’s not married with kids, the only one now who hasn’t been a Golden Heart Finalist, the only one with a real sciffy background, and I can think of too many other traits that set me apart. Fortunately, each of the others has reported the same misgivings: Ellen was the late-comer to the group, she’s youngest, she hasn’t got an agent or been published like the rest of us, the only one writing historicals. Nancy isn’t published Like Liz or I, but does have an agent; she’s the only one with a full time job and a doctorate degree. Liz reports feeling insecure as well – maybe because her career is progressing a little faster than the rest of ours, making it harder for her to keep up with the critiquing process. Anyhow, it helps me feel less insecure, knowing how easy it is for anyone to feel like an outsider despite how little reason there may seem for it objectively.

I’d thought my recent job interview went well and that I could fit in with the small office environment, but they chose someone else. Disappointing not only financially, but feeding into my insecurities about being an outsider in society in general. Most people have jobs. I don’t have a ‘job.’ I have plenty of work, mind you, just not steady employment with a steady check and this reflects on my sense of how I fit into society. I’m an odd cog in the wheels of the economy. I’m not a cog at all, and tend to remind others that neither are they.

So, when the interview crapped out, I thought about starting a Kickstarter project. I have dozens of ideas for picture books, coloring books, games etc. that have come to me over the years. I’ve had more ideas than time to develop them on spec, and was really hoping for feedback on which might be most worth my time and effort.

I ran a poll on my LiveJournal page (http://skylarker.livejournal.com/932081.html), to see whether I should go with a picture book project I’ve had in mind for some time, or a card game project. Unfortunately, despite my seeking participation via Facebook, Twitter, LJ and an email directed to all my friends and relatives, only ten people took the poll. I take this as a bad sign for getting enough backing for a Kickstarter campaign should I proceed. As ever, marketing ability seems to be a prerequisite for making a success of any other ability. It seems I need a marketing manager.

In other areas, I made and kept my dentist appointment, got the Muse newsletter out, and have been making progress with the latest Fiverr project.

This is a picture book, part of a series that promises some recurring business. It surprises me how much (unpaid) time goes into correspondence with clients (even potential ones that don’t follow through) in order to answer questions and deal with issues that arise, but I’m finding that my patience in that area does lead to more satisfied clients and repeat business.

I’d forgotten the Rise Up Singing circle on Sunday, but remembered in time to arrange a ride with the gracious Cid (WINOLJ), and had a great time attending yesterday evening. The music is always a joy, and I got to see Karen’s extensive garden in full spring bloom, and Lynn suggested that I bring my picture book manuscript along to read at a story time sponsored by her church next Sunday. I’ll need to dig up hard-copy print outs of the sample art and manuscript and take the scarce Sunday bus downtown, but it’s a good opportunity to start a mailing list for the potential Kickstarter project.

For next time:Collapse )
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Jun. 5th, 2014

Renaissance Woman

Please Help Me Decide!

The options are explained here: http://skylarker.livejournal.com/931750.html

Poll #1970740 Which Project Should I Start With?
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 11

Which one to try on Kickstarter?

View Answers
Picture Book: 'Would You Be a Baby?'
4 (40.0%)
Card Game: BiZZare?
6 (60.0%)

Something different I'll explain



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