Archive for November, 2010

Back to Atlantica…

Some of you may or may not know, but I was once a game correspondent for one of the largest gaming websites in the world: MMORPG.COM. In fact, the first thing I ever got paid to write is still online: Atlantica First Look Preview

Yeah, it’s not the best, but you gotta start somewhere! In fact, 2 years later, the Atlantica Homepage quotes me as their “marquee quote” (lower right, this screenshot was taken today):

Why the frig am I bringing this up today? Well, I’m playing it again so I guess this post can qualify as “what matt’s playing in Nov.2011.” Yeah, if you have no interest in games, go back to searching for new porn as this info won’t interest you.

My favorite type of CRPG is the “Strategy RPG”, so Atlantica kept me busy for quite some time. Why did I stop playing back in 2009? I got worn down by “the grind.” Many Asian games are setup this way – it takes a long time to accumulate experience and wealth. At the time, I always played these games to speed to the end. For some reason, I felt like I was only succeeding if I was playing in the “endgame.”

I really have no idea where that feeling came from.

Today, if I’m enjoying a game, I leave it at that. I don’t speed to the end, worry about the endgame, or take stock in what anyone else is doing. I just play the game to enjoy it.

Armed with that new gaming outlook, I spent some time last night in Atlantica again and I forgot just how great the gameplay was/is. I get my geek on by slowly building a party and controlling them in combat – and combat in Atlantica is FUN. It’s hard to get bored of the combat when there is a timer and other enemies can jump in mid-fight. Good stuff.

I’m not worried about how long things take or what all the other players are doing. I’m just doing my thing and building my party of adventurers… which is where Atlantica shines. Now that they added a new tactical system that more closely resembles FF:Tactics, I’m even more psyched.

Feel free to read the article I linked above (I wrote even more for this game). If Atlantica seems interesting to you, feel free to reach out to me and ask me questions. I’ve tried many “strategy RPG MMO’s” over the past few years, but Atlantica is still the best.


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Next Book!

I’ve dropped hints for a while now, and I’m confident I can make an announcement at this point.

The next book I’ll be releasing is called “For Duty”. The manuscript is with my editor right now, and Axel is doing the artwork again. If all parties meet their deadlines, I should have it out in early December. If not, likely January 2011.

What is this book? Well, lemme tell ya!

If you listened to my ramblings at the “Eden” launch party, you know I have dozens of novels all started. Well, one night many years ago, my wife asked me to just tell her a story (she’s so demanding).  I picked one of my many unfinished novels and started talking. I think it took me about 30 minutes, and at the end she was floored. The story I told her was actually “For Loyalty”, and that novel remains on the shelf until something pulls it together. “For Duty” is a precursor to “For Loyalty” and this story came together quite quickly after one of my “what if” moments. (then, I wrote it in 2-months time)

Actually, another song was the glue that bound the story – “Stuck in a Moment” by U2. At the time, I mistook the words (yeah, yeah – we all know my limitations as a human being). I thought the lyrics were: “Stuck in the middle”. Don’t ask… I blame the radiation. Shoot, have I already used that one?

Anyway, the story revolves around a small planet (yes, this is sci-fi) stuck in the middle of a war they want no part of. I don’t have the book-blurb ready yet (you can wait). Plus, I’ve always wanted to write a tragedy, so it all fit. I’m a big fan of tragedies, but they “don’t sell”, at least that’s what one agent told me last year when I shopped “For Duty” around. Bullshit. I’m certain there are more folks out there who enjoy a good tragedy just like I do… fuck it – fire in the hole!

“For Duty” cranks up the steam as well. A member of my A-team asked me if I wrote the book for her demographic… I guess, maybe… I dunno. I don’t write to an audience beyond myself and my wife. Sales don’t mean shit to me, only that I have the ability to share.

Anywho, more info to come! Enjoy:

Artwork by Axel Torvenius

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Thanks to everyone who made it out last night to the party – we had quite a crowd! (though I didn’t get any good pics of that crowd)

If you couldn’t make it, no worries – there will be more!

Here’s how the place looked before we trashed it:

Special thanks go out to my awesome friend, Jay – he manned the cash box. Certainly the worst job of the evening 🙂  You’re a great friend! 

Here’s Bonnie singing the song that pulled Eden together for me all those years ago:

I stayed away from topics that would have made me ball like a little girl with a skinned knee… but, my friends and family who spoke/sang came close to breaking me. I really wasn’t expecting that many people, and I was floored. Thanks again!

If you didn’t get a hardcover (we sold out), you may purchase from Lulu and I’ll gladly sign it anytime. Keep watching the blog for coupon deals. The only coupon right now is “3FOR2”, where you buy 2 hardcovers and get the 3rd free. If you want to buy Eden in bulk as X-mas gifts, that’s your play!

If you couldn’t make it and you want a paperback, I have some extras from the party. It’s the cheapest way to get Eden in dead-tree format ($10). I’ll gladly fill your order, sign it and ship it to ya… or meet ya somewhere seedy for the delivery. Just drop me a line!

Stay tuned this week for a special announcement about my next project…

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Customer Service: A+

I’ve had two major issues recently with purchases, and service I received was exemplary!


I’ve been buying Dells for a while now. Let me explain why.

In the “olden days” of personal computing, I used to buy parts at computer fairs (the internet didn’t exist back then). Then, I’d build computers from those parts. This was FAR cheaper than buying a Compaq, Gateway or whatever else. When I was a kid in junior high/high school, this made a ton of sense. I had all the time in the world to tinker with the bits, and I felt a sense of accomplishment the first time those Frankenstein machines booted. Pure nerdgasm.

Nowadays? I just want to order something, have it arrive and turn the fuckin’ thing on. That’s where Dell comes in. I don’t know how they do it, but their prices are cheaper than should be possible. Perhaps they make their bank on peeps buying all the extra crap they don’t really need at the time of checkout. I dunno, but for people like me: Dell is the Holy Land for computers.

I had to buy my own laptop for the first time in my life earlier this year, so I hit the Dell Outlet (even cheaper). Then, last week, that laptop’s Win7 OS died. I needed a restore disc and found one was never shipped. I opened a case with Dell and they overnighted a restore disc within 24 hours. No hassle, no questions… all they wanted was my original order #.

As I said at the top of this article, I’ve owned Dells for many years now. I’ve had a few bad parts here and there, and I’ve always had speedy resolutions to my problems. From a customer service perspective, I’m quite satisfied. Of course, my next computer is likely a MAC, so my relationship with Dell may be coming to a close…

Amazon (Createspace)

I agonized over going the self-publishing route for many weeks. If you search Google for “Lulu” (where Eden’s hardcover and iBooks version are distributed), you see many hits like “Lulu Scam”, etc. For Lulu and other self-publishing enablers, I read countless horror stories about book shipments being lost, book printings arriving askew/faulty, and many other things that kept me awake at night.

Despite these things, I still decided to self-publish. I got the sense that many of the complaints came from people who just didn’t put the necessary time into their self-publishing endeavors. After going through some of the motions, I found my assessment to be accurate. I wasn’t running into any of the problems reported by others.

Then, half of the 100 paperbacks I ordered for the launch party went missing. The USPS claimed the box arrived “empty”. I opened a case with the USPS and also with Amazon. Within 2 days, Amazon responded and thanked me for pointing out their “error”. They overnighted the other half of the order to me free of charge. My brain still hurts whenever I try to solve the mystery of what actually happened to those books. However, if Amazon was really being crooked, I don’t think they would have just made things right on their dime without a deeper inquiry. They never even called or asked me any questions.

Anyway, just thought I’d share two positive customer experiences with two large companies (and two major purchases on my part). I was geared-up for a fight on both accounts, and I ended up whole without hassle and within a few days. Bonzer!

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So, the American Cancer Society decided to publish my survivor story. If you’re interested, I’m immortalized here:

Full Story Here

It was an interesting experience to be interviewed for this article. Those old memories were closer to the surface than I thought…

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Aside from our regional full-color spread in the Sunday paper a few weeks back, we also made it to the cover of the Southington Observer.  Story continues on page 17. Enjoy!

Check it.

Also, don’t forget, the launch party is this saturday! Don’t miss it!

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