Site updated Jan. 15, 2010

 

OVERVIEW OF RAYA'S WRITING & EDITING

 

NOVELS & STORIES

Witchcanery, my wonderful novel about a modern-day witch, Shelley Kesinkowsky, who is proud of her computer skills, hit the shelves as a first edition on July 1, 2007. Since then, it has sold fast and furiously, to the point where I and my team felt that a second edition was warranted. iUniverse released the second edition of Witchcanery in November of 2008, both hard cover and soft cover. This second edition has also sold well. It also garnered two awards from iUniverse--their Editor's Choice award and their Rising Star award. For more details on the book, go to FantasyFic, my website.

Witchcanery can be purchased at most of the online outlets (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, iUniverse). If you prefer to deal with your bookstore, they can order copies from iUniverse. If you want an autographed copy, write me. If you want a limited first edition, numbered and autographed, also write me/

(See more details about the writing of Witchcanery at the bottom of this portfolio.)

 

FREELANCE WRITING

11-07 through 5-09 - The Miner-Journal - I freelanced as a special feature writer at this small weekly paper. Some of my articles, such as my 10-part series on alternative medicine (Part 1 here on page 12) and my three-part series on sleep apnea (Part 1 here on page 12) won a lot of attention and praise. I understand I am being nominated for a Saskatchewan journalist award for the latter series by my editor.

 

1-22-07 - SLOTS AT THE TOP - 'REEL DEAL SLOTS: MYSTIC FOREST' HEADS THE PACK - This one was a surprise. I saw that a slots game had beat out many other well known games to reside 8th most popular in a list headed by the redoubtable WoW. I had to find out why. I played and I was charmed. This story tells my experience and was slotted in Killer Betties - the site for gaming women.

2-06-06 - I am once again back at freelancing. It was a decision made by necessity, partly including the lack of attention my writing was getting. Editing and writing for online gaming sites was a fun romp, and I loved meeting all the people, but my novel was no closer to being sold than it was when I started. So, taking into consideration health issues and need to work at my career, I returned to my first love. Hopefully I will soon have links to show you where you can browse some of my fiction writing (written under my name Sandra Bell).

 

VANGUARD TEN TON HAMMER

VANGUARD TEN TON HAMMER: After working like a madwoman on my novel, I finally completed the urgent portion of what needed to be done. An avid Vanguard fan, I found I missed the excitement of being part of the atmosphere and fun of a Vanguard affiliated fansite. Lady Sirse, had moved from Silky Venom to Vanguard Ten Ton Hammer, as News Manager. I offered to help her in a silent partner way, with advice and suggestions, as well as writing the odd article or two and took on the role of "Advisor." When Lady Sirse became Site Admin, a vacancy occurred and she invited me to join her on VTTH staff. In the role of Asst. Site Admin, News Manager, Site Editor, and Sigil Liaison, I happily churned out articles, organized the news department, offered writing workshops to the writers, and worked with Lady Sirse on the beautification and improvement of the site. Although I was only with VTTH for three months in an official capacity, even I was amazed at the number of articles and ed/ops I turned out for the site. This was in addition to doing all the editing, working with the writers, scheduling writing pieces, working with the beat reporters and following a heavy site schedule for beat news as it happened.

EDITORIALS WRITTEN FOR VANGUARD TEN TON HAMMER

Ed/Op pieces became the most necessary vehicles and stalwarts of the VTTH feature page (not to mention many of the other Vanguard fansites) because of a number of things: the game had just gotten into beta1 and little information was being released, there was a media blackout imposed during the whole of December and into January, and the Vanguard devs were so busy that interviews and passing out information became a rare and valuable thing. So we (the media reporting on Vanguard) fell back on editorials and opinion pieces.

1-24-06 - WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN. This piece was for the monthly topic on the site's Tuesday's Takes. The theme for January was Adventures in MMOs and talked about experiences in a game that made an impression on our lives. This was a fun piece to write.

1-18-06 - ALTS IN VANGUARD: TO TWINK OR NOT TO TWINK? This topic has been a burning question in many other online roleplaying games. And Vanguard was no different. Pages have been written on forums debating this very question. A hot topic is a good thing to write about--lots of hits from this one.

1-13-06 - DO YOU HAVE PARASKEVIDEKATRIAPHOBIA? I was asked to do the Friday the 13th piece and had no clue what to write. I was googling around, looking for ideas, and spotted the word "Paraskevidekatriaphobia." It sparked my muse, and the rest is history. Surprisingly, this piece got more hits than the average piece. Thank the gods for Google!

12-21-05 - BETA BLUES - THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF BETA PARTICIPATION: The second in the Vanguardian series, this editorial was inspired by the miles of posts regarding beta participation from the Vanguard beta hopefuls, the beta critics and the Sigil devs. This piece was widely read and received pageviews weeks after it was published.

12-07-05 - THE VANGUARDIAN - Introduction: This was the launch of my weekly column comprised of alternating weeks of interviews of community members and Sigil employees with editorials on the "hot topic" of the week from the official Vanguard forum.

11-21-05 - THE GAME'S AFOOT!: A somewhat humorous look at what's involved in playing MMOs from the point of view of leveling characters.

11-14-05 - EXCUSE ME, BUT YOUR FUNNYBONE IS SHOWING: Remembering the fun and funny times of yesteryear in EQ. The laughter was always present, as were the closeness of friends and the delight of playing together.

INTERVIEWS WRITTEN FOR VANGUARD TEN TON HAMMER

Interviewing people seems to bring out the best in me, probably because I love talking to people and finding out the fascinating things they have done in their lives. Many people tell me they like being interviewed by me, which, of course, leads to a good story (and at least two happy people):

1-30-06 - WERTAF: AN INSPIRING ROGUE. This was for the monthly VTTH Staff Spotlight, and I loved writing this one. People are fascinating and a joy to write about, and Wert's story was no exception.

1-25-06 - PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES: Spotlight on Den Beauvais. What immediately stood out to me about this man was his prolific nature. Den isn't happy unless he is doing something creative. This shows in his huge output of first rate art, including the first comic book cover for Aliens. It was a joy for me, as well, to continue this series started at Warcry nearly two years ago.

1-11-06 - CINDY'S WEDDING. One of the most loved people at Sigil, the developers of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, is Cindy Bowens, Community Manager. The story of her elopement with well-known Vanguard fan personality Destral was the shocker of the season and a warm and moving story.

12-29-05 - WOODY OF GU COMICS, A MAN OF MANY LOVES. Woody Hearn, cartoonist and raconteur of some wit, is a familiar name in the EQ community - and now with the gaming community as a whole. This interview shows the many facets and skills of this talented man.

12-14-05 - LARGE AS LIFE - PIROTESS OF VANGUARD SPHERES. A person of rare determination, Pirotess went with a dream and made it successful with sheer grit and keeping his eye on the goal.

11-30-05 - KHELDON, THE BOY WONDER OF VANGUARD STRATICS. This fascinating young fellow has organized and developed the Vanguard portion of the large Stratics network into a popular and much-visited site. This is in spite of the difficulties presenting by living an ocean away (Sweden) and going to college full-time as well.

PRESS RELEASE AND MISCELLANEOUS

1-18-06 - TEN TON HAMMER NETWORK PULLS SECONDARY MARKET ADS. This was an exciting press release for me to write. The TTH network had announced a reversal of its policy regarding carrying any advertising promoting the sale of virtual items for real life money. I started by going for the story and ended up writing the network's press release. To date, the PR has had over 5,000 page views.

12-02-06 - HELP WANTED. I wrote this copy because VTTH needed more help, especially writers. It didn't seem to pull writers in on its own, but it was a handy tool when people were invited to join. They read this first and still applied.

 

SILKY VENOM

SILKY VENOM: In February, 2005, I was approached by Oloh, the site owner of Vanguard Silky Venom, a Vanguard:Saga of Heroes-only affiliated fansite, to run SV's News Department. I accepted and together, along with a select team, we built the site into the most successful Vanguard fansite on the internet. It became the final stop for the fans to get their Vanguard news, as well as breaking news in the gaming world. I "hired" most of the staff there and trained the news writers. Our news output was commented on by the folks at Sigil, the developers of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. During my time there, as a result of a six-month study I conducted, I published a nine-part report on women gamers, entitled MMORPGs - FROM THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE.

 

Multi-part Feature Articles

MMORPGs -- FROM THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE (nine-part series)

In the late summer and fall of 2004, I conducted an extensive survey of women who acknowledged their passion in playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). These 110 women were sought from fansites of MMORPGs, the majority of them coming from sites that were somehow connected with the hugely popular MMORPG, EverQuest - originally developed by Verant and subsequently updated and published by Sony Online Entertainment. It took me a number of weeks to pull together the data in such a way as to provide good information to the readers. The articles were subsequently written and published throughout June and July and into August of 2005.

6-11-05 - Article 1 - INTRODUCTION...AND THE GAMES GIRL GAMERS PLAY
6-20-05 - Article 2 - HOW GAL GAMERS GOT GOING IN MMORPGs
6-27-05 - Article 3 - JOY-HEARTACHE-FRIENDSHIP - THE EFFECT OF MMORPGs ON WOMEN
7-04-05 - Article 4 - DO GAL GAMERS REALLY WANT SPECIAL TREATMENT?
7-12-05 - Article 5 - AMAZING GAL GAMERS - HIT ON OR HIT BACK?
7-19-05 - Article 6 - UNIQUE FEMALE TRAITS
7-27-05 - Article 7 - THE PARTICIPANTS TALK ABOUT CHANGES
8-03-05 - Article 8 - GAL GAMERS GIVE THEIR OPINIONS ON MMORPGs
8-17-05 - Article 9 - SO WHAT'S WITH GAL GAMERS ANYHOW?

STRAHA SPEAKS OUT! - A FIVE PART SERIES

During August, 2004, I interviewed at length Jeremy Waller, the well-known cartoonist of the very popular EQ-based cartoon strip WTF Comics. The resulting series of five articles included not only interviews with Straha, but also interviews with some of the other "celebrities" featured in Jeremy's comic. This was a new format I devised for interviews—a few Q&A—and then face to face in-game interviews. The subject matter and humorous handling made these articles hugely popular with the fans.

8-01-04 - STRAHA SPEAKS OUT - PART 1: 1st in the series of interviews with Jeremy Waller. I originally wrote this article while I was at Gamergod. I then rewrote and republished it at Warcry. It received, according to the GG's CEO, huge hits at Gamergod, which is why it didn't receive as many hits as it might have on its second go-round at Warcry. It was still quite respectable though.

8-09-04 - STRAHA SPEAKS OUT - PART 2: 2nd in this series. Originally published at the Warcry hub as a feature article; subsequently published at Silky Venom.

8-15-04 - STRAHA SPEAKS OUT - PART 3: 3rd in this series. Originally published at the Warcry hub as a feature article; subsequently published at Silky Venom.

8-24-04 - STRAHA SPEAKS OUT - PART 4: 4th in this series of humorous interviews, interwoven with Q&A material, of the cartoonist of the EQ-related comic strip WTF Comics. Originally published at the Warcry hub as feature article; subsequently published at Silky Venom.

8-31-04 - STRAHA SPEAKS OUT - PART 5 - Conclusion to this memorable series. Originally published at Silky Venom as a feature article.

 

NEWS, VIEWS, INTERVIEWS WRITTEN FOR SILKY VENOM

8-04-05 - THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Report on concerns of environmental damage to the planet and comparisons drawn between Earth and Mars.

7-14-05 - MICHELLE BUTLER TALKS ABOUT SIGIL CUSTOMER SUPPORT: This second exclusive interview with Michelle Butler took the Vanguard community by storm. In it, she talked about the naming conventions that will be present in the game, the hiring of Game Masters, and the new concept of ingame Guides. The fans really appreciated the wealth of information.

7-14-05 - WE PLANTED A TREE... A story review of an excellent piece of fan fiction by Semantes at Vanguard Crafters.

6-25-05 - EMAIL CUSTOMER SERVICE SCORES LOW IN INDUSTRY: Brief report on how high-tech industries score in customer service satisfaction.

6-23-05 - THE VANGUARD RANGER: One of the first class-specific fansites, The Vanguard Ranger was unusual enough to warrant an article and an interview with Forsh, one of its co-founders and site admins. The article explains the love that people have for the Ranger class (in EQ and in the upcoming Vanguard: Saga of Heroes).

6-21-05 - BITTORRENT LASHES BACK AT MICROSOFT: Report on the rebuttal by BitTorent at claim by Microsoft of breakthrough P2P development.

6-16-05 - MICROSOFT RESEARCH'S BREAKTHROUGH IN P2P DEVELOPMENT: This article introduced the new P2P discoveries by the Microsoft research team and what kind of impact it might have on the gaming industry. Microsoft, of course, being the publishers of Sigil's Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

6-14-05 - NEW CONCEPT ART BY JEFF EASLEY: This news piece showed the latest art by artist Jeff Easley, new to the fans as a Sigil artist, but very popular in the fantasy art world.

5-24-05 - VANGUARD AT E3: TIDBITS AND MISCELLANEOUS: A roundup of miscellaneous information that came out of the 2005 E3 event in Los Angeles in May.

5-19-05 - MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU... Brief report of the amazing turnout around the world for the first screening of long-awaited Episode Three of the Star Wars saga.

5-12-05 - WHEN IS AN EXCLUSIVE NOT AN EXCLUSIVE? A REPORT ON EXCLUSIVITY THEFT: The first German Vanguard fansite, Online Welten, came online as an affiliated fansite, to a disappointing event where its first exclusive Vanguard screenshots provided by Sigil were copied from its site and displayed at other sites, including IGE-owned Okratas, as their own exclusives. The report follows the creation of the German site and the magnificent efforts of its staff to bring the site up to par, including the gargantuan task of translating all the English material regarding Vanguard into German.

5-02-05 - ON A CLEAR DAY...EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE BUTLER: This exclusive interview was a huge favorite with the Vanguard fans, since Michelle is a popular member of the Sigil team. Accompanying the announcement of Michelle's new position within the Sigil ranks of Customer Support Manager, the article followed Michelle's start in online gaming and how she has combined a successful career with a solid marriage. She also discussed some of the then-new concepts of the Sigil Customer Support Team.

4-22-05 - YOU'RE IN THEIR WORLD NOW - VANGUARD'S REPLY (AN EDITORIAL): Shock prompted my look at the startling announcement by Sony Entertainment Online that they were going to provide in-game sales of their own on selected game servers of EverQuest. I drew parallels and speculated how this development would affect gamers in general, as well as the gaming community at large. I also was fortunate enough to get a quote from Cindy Bowens on the Sigil stance at this announcement. Many of the Vanguard fans began to worry about Vanguard in connection to the announcement, i.e. would Sigil follow suit. It seems the answer was a resounding "NO!"

4-12-05 - EXCLUSIVE: CINDY BOWENS DISCUSSES THE SECONDARY MARKET: This exclusive interview with Cindy Bowens, Community Manager for Sigil Online Games (developers of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes) gave insight into the stance of Sigil against the secondary market purveyors such as IGE. It was a frank talk about a practice in the gaming community that is seen as harmful, not only to the companies that develop the games but to the players as well. Labeled as virtual profiteering, secondary market sales take profits from the rightful owners of the game and contribute conditions that spoil the game for many players.

4-02-05 - WITH A SONG IN MY HEART: INTERVIEW WITH NEPENTHIA: Anyone who has met Nepenthia will attest to her wit, charm, and kindness. Blend that together with her musical expertise and her great gaming skills as a bard (trust me, unless you have tried playing an EverQuest bard, you have no idea how difficult that particular class is to play well), and you have the perfect lady columnist. Nep has been a source of support and delight, including the huge amount of work she has put into her brainchild/baby, the Vanguard Phonetic Dictionary soon to appear at Silky Venom. The article explores the career of this lovely lady right up to her entering the Silky Venom fold.

3-25-05 - LAUNCH DAY - SILKY VENOM: L-Day was Silky Venom's formal introduction to the Vanguard Community. It had been running for a month prior to this day, but March 25th was the day its new look was unveiled. Along with the announcement and background story were instructions on how to navigate with the wonderful back-end coding and work done by the site's database manager and coder, Nólaquen.

3-28-05 - BLAME IT ON THE ELVES! - AN INTERVIEW WITH GENDA OF VANGUARD CRAFTERS: The delightful head honcho at Vanguard Crafters was more than gracious and ready to talk to me about whatever I wanted. His unusual wedding intrigued me and he kindly gave me permission to use some of his wedding pictures for the article. What further intrigued me was his size in RL - at 6'7" he towers above everyone else, except his lovely bride, who is almost the same height. The reason for the title of the article, however, was the name "Genda." As the owner of the name somewhat indignantly informed me, Genda is a male wood elf's name. The article, like the interviewee, is fun and loaded with Genda-isms.

3-27-05 - SILKY VENOM'S OWN FEARLESS FOSDICK - AN INTERVIEW WITH FOZZIK: The hardware genius of Fozzik is thrown to the fans that flock to Silky Venom like a life preserver thrown to the last man out of the lifeboat. As the time grows near to more public beta in Vanguard, the fervent hope of the fans is that their computer will be of sufficient power and size to handle this third generation MMO. The article describes the amazing knowledge of Fozzik and the background of his interesting life. He is a pleasure to talk to and a jewel of a guy to get advice from.

3-19-05 - PREPARE TO BE AMAZED - INTERVIEW WITH FEYSHTEY: Wherever you look on the Silky Venom fansite today, you will see the handiwork of the Amazing Feyshtey. His art knowhow took the ideas of the SV crew at the time and put them into a blender of his own brand of artistic genius. The result was the beautifully drawn background, logos, icons and symbols of Vanguard Silky Venom. The article describes what motivates Feyshtey and what kind of a background he has had to prepare him for such lovely work.

3-17-05 - ILLINOIS HOUSE OKAYS GOVERNOR'S VIDEO-GAME BAN: Report on a story from USAToday regarding Illinois State's move to introduce a bill for controlling the violence in video games.

3-15-05 - WELCOME TO THE LAST HONEST FANBOY: The Last Honest Fanboy was the fansite started by the bunch of guys who were loyal to Vanguard after Okratas was sold to the notorious secondary market purveyor mention in Not For Sale! March 15th was its debut as a bona fide fansite, and the article was written to honor these people. It is interesting to note that in August, 2005, the group accepted the Silky Venom offer to merge the two sites under the name of Vanguard Silky Venom.

3-11-05 - THE LUCK OF THE IRISH - AN INTERVIEW WITH PARIATH: This interview with Pariath was full of fun and Irish laughter. Pariath is the Community Manager at Silky Venom and adds his Irish charm and sense of fun to the site.

3-09-05 - SILKY VENOM: WHAT'S IN A NAME? Describing the unusual name of a fansite, this article explores the reason for the name's existence and the inside joke that perpetuates it.

3-05-05 - MEET NOLAQUEN - AN EDITORIAL BY RAYA: It's hard for me to express the kind of genius that Nólaquen has used to make Silky Venom the exquisitely laid-out site that it is today. One of the reasons it's hard is because I don't have the knowledge to describe what it is exactly that Nola does. But the results of his late night tinkerings and his marathon coding labors are very evident in the smooth running of the site, the beautiful way everything hangs together and the ease with which both staffers and readers alike can get around the site. For an example, when I was on staff I wanted to have a way of putting up graphics into an article easily. Nola reduced it to a common denominator, working within the capabilities of vBulletin and not only made it easy but understandable. He then reduced the nine steps to make it work into one. Voila - a simple, time-saving device for the writers that would enhance the enjoyment of the site. The man's a genius, no doubt at all!

2-26-05 - NOT FOR SALE! This article outlined the unheard of attempt by a notorious secondary market merchandiser to buy Silky Venom, then a fledgling site, with literally no assets. It also provided a background of this merchandiser (IGE) and why their activities in the online worlds of gaming are bad for the games and the developers.

2-23-05 - THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY: An introduction to Kheldon, well known in the Vanguard community as the site administrator of the popular fansite, Vanguard Stratics. Kheldon had had to step down from Stratics due to the crush of RL studies. He sat in at Silky Venom for quite some time before, reluctantly, having to leave to devote more time to his studies.

2-23-05 - A STAR IS BORN - VANGUARD SILKY VENOM: My debut article at Silky Venom, introducing the site and my connection to it.

 

WARCRY

WARCRY: I originally started at this network magazine as a writer in July, 2004, after a brief stint at gamergod.com. However, the current senior editors of Warcry were having a hard time dealing with the workload plus their families and full-time jobs. Bryan Hesters trained me as a senior editor shortly before he retired as senior editor for Warcry. I then took on the role of senior editing and did all the editing of original content material from all writers on the hub (this did not include the fansite material).

I instituted a critique service for the writers, because I felt that they should be paid more for their efforts than just the odd free video game. I made it available to anyone who asked and I thoroughly enjoyed working with the writers. Comments that I received indicated my service really helped them with their writing.

I also worked with the Industrial Relations person and acting Operations Manager (Staci Krause) in scheduling articles for the hub. I maintained the schedule list and, for about two months, not only did the editing but the posting of all original content (OC) material. After the schedule grew from one OC piece every couple of days to two and then to four OC articles per day, the newsing guy was invited to become an editor and work with me on the layout and posting of articles for publication.

I left Warcry because I had a novel to write and no time to write it. In addition, my husband was starting to complain about my working all day, then all evening, then all night. (In addition to senior editor, I was also a writing contributor, and the Site Manager for the Vanguard Warcry fansite; for a time I was also the editor for Freeworld Warcry).

INTERVIEWS AND SPECIALTY ARTICLES FOR WARCRY
(unfortunately none of these articles, etc., published at Warcry seem to have been archived - this list will merely serve to let you know what I did in parts of 2004)

12-30-04 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!! This was my farewell article on the Vanguard Warcry fansite.

12-15-04 - SPOTLIGHT ON DAVE GILBERTSON - MMO'S LATEST YELLOW BRICK ROAD: IF BRAD'S THE WIZARD, THEN DAVE'S THE TIN MAN: 2nd in the series of PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES AT VANGUARD. This was a really great interview. Dave got his webcam going so I could see what he looked like as he was talking and gave me permission to publish the photos as well. I featured this article on the Warcry hub as feature article, as well as the Vanguard Warcry fansite.

12-08-04 - BEING BEHEADED ON THE WRITER'S BLOCK: Short piece to promote "Raya's Dungeon."

10-29-04 HALLOWEEN TREATS FROM VANGUARD - SPOOKY EXCLUSIVE NEW SCREENSHOT--AND THE HAUNTED HOTEL DURING THE SUMMIT VISIT: Character piece from material collected during trip to Vanguard offices in Oct./04—dealing with the story one of the hotel staff related to me about the wife of Ulysses S. Grant and why she haunted the hotel bearing the same name.

10-19-04 - EXCLUSIVE FREEWORLD INTERVIEW AND SCREENSHOTS: This was one of the many exclusives Clyde Bielss, head of Freeworld and Mindsurge Entertainment, has given me. Published on the Freeworld Warcry fansite and the Warcry hub as feature article.

10-14-04 - JANSAN HAS LEFT US… Short piece advising that Jansan had been hired by Sigil and that Palantir was taking over community manager of the Vanguard Warcry fansite. Published on the Vanguard Warcry site only.

10-11-04 - VANGUARD: SAGA OF HEROES--ONE AMAZING GAME! This was my main story from my trip to the Vanguard Summit (Oct. 7-9) as one of the site managers of a Vanguard Affiliated Fan Site. Published on the Warcry hub as feature article, as well as the Vanguard Warcry site.

10-06-04 - I'M OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD… Short piece to let people know I was on my way to the Vanguard Summit. Published at Vanguard Warcry only.

9-23-04 - SPOTLIGHT ON CINDY BOWENS, Community Relations Manager - 1st in a series of PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES AT VANGUARD. I have developed a good rapport with the folks at Sigil and received the go-ahead to write as many interviews as I want with the members of the team. This article was published on the Warcry hub as feature article, as well as on the Vanguard fansite.

9-20-04 - RAYA'S DUNGEON: This is my original promotional article to alert people to the opening of Raya's Dungeon at the Vanguard Warcry fansite. Published at Vanguard Warcry fansite only.

8-30-04 - WANT A GAME THAT BUGS THE HECK OUT OF YOU? Interview with Ray Pingree, a young fellow, who developed a new style of MMO game. I interviewed him through IM for the article. Published at the Warcry hub only as feature article.

8-26-04 - SPACEPOOL - SHOOTING BALLS IN SPACE! Interview with Martin Sherburn, who developed an interactive online game of 3D pool, very interesting. I also interviewed him through IM for the article. Published at the Warcry hub only as feature article.

8-06-04 - RETURN TO THE INTERVIEW FOR RETURN TO MYSTERIOUS ISLAND: This interview with Benoit Josjan, President of Kheops Studio, was actually conducted by Thomas Valley, the then-senior editor at Warcry. He asked me to edit his material into a readable format. I rewrote it from the ground up, using the facts he had gathered and doing some extra research on my own. He liked it so much and appreciated the work I put into it that he gave me the byline.

8-02-04 - VANGUARD: SAGA OF HEROES - NOT JUST ANOTHER ROMP AROUND THE MMO BLOCK! This was the article that brought my writingto the attention of Cindy Bowens at Vanguard, and ultimately Brad McQuaid, the father of EverQuest, now the CEO and co-founder of Sigil Online Games. This company is currently hard at work on an anticipated blockbuster MMORPG, VANGUARD: SAGA OF HEROES. I had actually been assigned by the editorial team at Gamergod to browse through the literature on Vanguard and come up with a paraphrased or rewritten piece on the game. I went all out and researched people, places, pics, etc. The one thing that had really taken my fancy was Tom King, a very wonderful and kind artist, who had shared his work with EQ players, such as spellbooks, user interfaces, etc. I was delighted to find out that he was at Sigil. Then too, EQ played such a big part in my husband's and my courting days, that it had earned a special place in my heart. Anyhow, I did the best job I could, backed by my over 20 years of editorial, journalistic, and just plain writing/research experience that I had. Cindy loved it and made it known to not only the CEO at Gamergod, but the staff at Sigil. When I moved from GG to Warcry, Cindy was pleased to learn that they had assigned me as Site Manager for Vanguard Warcry. This piece garnered a number of hits at Gamergod. I rewrote it and ran it again at Warcry, where it garnered respectable hits in its second go-round.

REVIEWS AND PREVIEWS AT WARCRY

12-03-04 - MURDER ANYONE? LAW AND ORDER: JUSTICE IS SERVED: PC Review. One of the writers who worked on the game wrote and thanked me for such a well-thought-out review.

12-01-04 - WORLD OF WARCRAFT - A KALEIDOSCOPE OF DELIGHT: This review gained hits so fast in the first couple of days that I thought the tracking software must be broken. It got well over 1K hits per day, then tapered off at the end of the week to a few hundred a day. It received overall more than twice as many hits as the next most popular article that Warcry has ever had…and it is definitely the most hit-on article I have ever written, garnering in total well over 21,000 hits.

11-23-04 - THE GAME'S AFOOT! SHERLOCK HOLMES: SECRET OF THE SILVER EARRING PC REVIEW: This was my first review ever for a single-player puzzle/adventure game (a lot of my experience has been with various MMOs). I found it hard to play but got help from the head dev after writing him to tell him my problem. When I wrote the review, he wrote thanking me for such a fair and well-written report.

DIARY (ED-OP) PIECES

SERIES OF DIARY PIECES CALLED "DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT" - I started out with this because I was enjoying the game and thought it would also be good for advertising. I got the go-ahead to use the Warcry corporate account and did a total of 7 pieces altogether. In addition to a surprising amount of fan mail, I got emails from both the PR person at EVE and one of the head devs congratulating me for such a fine series.

9-7-04 - Part 1: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - ALL ABOUT EVE - IN THE BEGINNING…
9-13-04 - Part 2: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - FLYING SHIPS AND HELPING HANDS
9-20-04 - Part 3: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - HONKING BIG SHIPS
9-27-04 - Part 4: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - KILLING RATS
10-12-04 - Part 5: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - I AM A FICKLE LOVER
10-18-04 - Part 6: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - I'M A CLOCK WATCHERRRRRR…
10-25-04 - Part 7: DIARY OF AN EVE ADDICT - MANEUVERING WAYS AND MARKETING DAYS

 

GAMERGOD

My brief sojourn at Gamergod covered June and July, 2004. It was my introduction to writing for online gaming magazines.

LIST OF P/REVIEWS/ARTICLES WRITTEN FOR GAMERGOD JUNE - JULY/04
(unfortunately none of these articles, etc., published at Gamergod seem to have been
archived - this list will merely serve to show what I did - if I still have them in my files,
I will link them to there)

ETERNAL LANDS: AN INDY MMORPG THAT STRIVES TO EXCEL - a review of this small mmorpg. I met with the head dev and his wife in game…also talked to one of the GMs. I couldn't in all honesty rave about this game, although I appreciated the work that was going into it. I wrote my pan of the game in such a way that, although honest, it was good enough that I got a thanks from the dev for writing it. I tried to be fair.

NIAMI, THE LITTLE HALFING AT EQ TRADERS CORNERS - this was an interview with one of the icons of the EQ World. EQ Traders Corner is well known in EQ circles (and now EQ2 circles) as the ultimate in EQ trade skill information. I did this interview after interviewing Niami's RL hubby. I should also mention that Niami is a personal friend of mine and a member of my EQ guild.

EQ SUMMIT MEETING: NGRETH TELLS ALL - I interviewed Ngreth (husband of Niami) because he was one of the attendees at the EQ Summit Meeting between prominent EQ players and service providers and the Sony devs.

A TALE IN THE DESERT…AN OASIS IN THE MMORPG FIELD - this was my first article for Gamergod and came about because the CEO Jarrod Decter had posted on the ATITD forum about wanting someone to do a review of the game. I read the only previous review that GG had on file and was horrified...so I volunteered. I put it together with screenshots, background and the logo for ATITD (got permission from Teppy, the head dev and pharaoh at ATITD to use it). The article has gotten all scrunched up now and looks terrible…but at the time Jarrod told me that it had gotten the most hits that an article had ever gotten at GG up to that point.


RAYA'S DUNGEON

I originally started Raya's Dungeon during my short stint at Gamergod to help the young writers out there. They were a willing and enthusiastic bunch but they were not professional writers. When I was editing their pieces, I came across the same mistakes over and over again. Therefore, I decided to try and come up with something that was fun for them, based on something that gamers could relate to, and yet would get the message across. Raya's Dungeon evolved.

I put up the first page and was overwhelmed by the response froml the writers, including the CEO. One of the writers wished that this were available to all writers, not just in GG. The CEO intimated that if he had had me as his English teacher, he would have aced English (he was a good writer but made the same mistakes as all the other writers).

I worked on the premise that all of them were great writers just needing some encouragement and training to spread their wings and fly. Much to my gratification and their delight, all the writers showed varying forms of improvement as I put up the next two chambers.

I continued the tradition while at Warcry, putting up Raya's Dungeon in the Vanguard Warcry site. I also instituted a series of writer/editor workshops for the writers at Warcry which were enthusiastically received. I continued that tradition at Silky Venom, and will be offering more workshops free of charge to any writers of the Vanguard Affiliated fansites from time to time.

 

WITCHCANERY

"Shelley Kesinkowsky was youngish, as witches went, and prided herself on her modern witchly methods. Her computer was her special joy in this day and age, far superior to the old-fashioned method of delivering and receiving messages by raven. In any event, Shelley was way too miserable from the deconstruction of her beloved favorite golem to marvel at being the only witch she ever knew to experience a broken heart. The thing is…she had no idea what kind of a whirlwind ride she was about to undertake, nor how matters of the heart would play in a new scenario that involved Mother Earth of all things!...plus a vast legion of renegade golems, a cranky blue macaw familiar named Byching…and her old antagonist, Jason the wizard. Nor did she have any idea that her special talent, if used properly, was probably the only thing that would save the human race from total annihilation."

WITCHCANERY started as a short story for an online writers' magazine. It didn't win, but it got honorable mention (the competition was fierce). When next the concept for this novel reared up, it was in a competition known as NANOWRIMO. This is a contest where the only requirement in order to be one of the winners is to write a novel (minimum 50,000 words) within a month, the chosen month being November of each year. The novel must be something you have never written before. Those are the only qualifications. I finished the novel in 28 days. I put up the original version of the novel on my website for a while. Here is my recollection of the event :

"This novel was written in 28 days for the 2002 NaNoWriMo contest. Since the required number of words were written within the required number of day, WITCHCANERY was adjudged a winner. This online version is the original, unrevised version, fueled by panic, gritty determination, and 22 gallons of coffee, littered by unmade beds, uncooked meals and unspoken conversations with hubby. I have written novels before...never one in 28 days. I didn't know I could do it. Now I do."

To my surprise, the people who read the novel (granted they were mostly friends and family) seemed to love the book and wanted to know when it was coming out and, more importantly, when the sequel would be written. At the time I wrote Witchcanery, I had no thought in mind of publishing it. However, in the face of opinion of many people whose judgment I respected, including well-known fantasy artist, Tom J. King, I decided to go ahead with revisions. The revisions took a lot longer than I thought they would, but finally the book is almost ready to go. Return to top of page

Contact me:
Raya (aka Sandra Bell Kirchman)

Link to: Sandra Bell's Print Media and Radio/Video Writing Portfolio

Raya's Bio

Text copyright © 2004-2007 by Sandra Bell
All rights reserved.