Friday, January 30, 2009

Don't forget to mail in your Ballot (for Huff!)

Please mail in your ballot today, and vote for Sherril Huff, the current King County Director of Elections. To learn more about Sherril go to http://www.electsherrilhuff.com.

To be honest, I've relied on Jeff Grubb to do the heavy lifting on researching who to vote for in this special election, and Mr. Grubb says Huff is the one. Trusting his instincts and following his reasoning, I agree.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Audible Reading Chapter 7 Plague of Spells

Wizards posted a podcast of me reading Chapter 7 of Plague of Spells HERE. Take a listen! (there is about a 10 second gap in the middle as of this posting, hopefully that'll be fixed up soon enough).

-http://media.gleemax.com/podcasts/DnD_Episode32b.mp3

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Social Media: Is it Good?

My gut reaction to the explosion of social media like Twitter and Facebook is that they waste time.

Is that true? Certainly it seems like people are displacing old activities in order to spend more time interacting online.

If the displaced activity is watching TV or playing a non-social video game, I guess the interaction FB and Twitter provide is far superior.

But is the base premise even correct? Are people doing less "worthwhile" stuff because of excess connectivity?

Who's to judge what's worthwhile? Humans are inherently social creatures and being social is something that brings most of us happiness simply because of our biology. Thus social interactions, even mediated online, are enjoyable. And we should seek out enjoyment when we can in this life, I believe. It could be in some cases people might forgo actual physical interaction in order to stay home and post to their social media site.

I find it works the opposite; social media sites improve my ability to interact with a wider group of people when I see them in the flesh, if for no other reason than I have already forged a connection with them that is current. I know what they've been up to lately, they know them same with me. We have common points of reference.

Of course, "worthwhile" could be defined as doing your job in a timely manner. Do people who routinely check Facebook do worse in their jobs or more frequently miss deadlines? We require an actual evidence gathering mission with a large sample size rather than anecdotes here. All I can say is that I enjoy checking my social sites a few times a day WITHOUT it becoming an obstacle toward getting my daily work completed.

This does require some mental discipline, I won't lie. But lots of temptations to not do work require mental discipline to a greater or lesser degree, and we've figured out how to manage them--shouldn't be too much harder to figure this one out.

Or so say I.

Tomb of Horrors


My colleague Rob Schwalb penned a great article with fantastic art that touches on the adventure Tomb of Horrors by Gary Gygax. As some of you may know, awhile back I wrote a follow-on, Return To the Tomb of Horrors. Rob's article incorporates lore from that adventure, updating a few creatures to 4th edition D&D and providing all new horrors to boot. That plus several other interesting bits!

Download the article here (DDi members).

Fantasy Book Critic on Plague of Spells


Many thanks to David Craddock and Robert Thompson at Fantasy Book Critic for their review of Plague of Spells HERE.

An excerpt:
The warrior monk's Spellplague-caused trauma temporarily renders him an amnesiac, and this loss of identity puts the reader on equal footing with the character. Though Raidon has appeared in other Forgotten Realms works, not much is known about him at first: he has a daughter, and he is a creature bounty hunter. As Raidon regains his memory and searches for his daughter—Did she survive the Spellplague? Raidon doesn't know, and neither do you—the reader is able to follow Raidon step for step. The result is an easily forged connection with the character, as well as the world itself.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Plague of Spells Desktops!


My friend Miranda Horner created these fantastic desktop images for Wizards to promote the novel Plague of Spells. As the author, I'm more than happy to promote them, too. I've actually had the one pictured here as my desktop on my computer since before the holidays... and as the desktop on my new phone, now that I think of it.

Here's your opportunity to see novel art in its original large size. A lot of details I missed on the cover become visible.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blog Commenting Experiment

To maintain the sliver of geek cred I may have once been able to lay claim to, I am going to try to add Facebook Connect to my blog so people can comment on the many and varied stories I post here [/sarcasm] using their Facebook identities, instead of having to come up with some other commenting identity.

The theory is that a lot more people use Facebook than Open ID, or who are on Blogger. If you have a Facebook account, stop by in comments and say hi as part of the experiment if you have the time :-).

When you click on comments, one of your choices will be Facebook Connect; click on that and leave your comment. Actually, I'm probably going to try it out myself since I'm here already, but I'd love to see if it works for other folks too!

UPDATE: Well, the critical linch pin for this integration is a commenting technology called Disqus. Apparently they are doing maintenance at the moment, so I may not get the first comment after all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009