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The Home Game: FIRE!

Homeownership is a lot like being in charge of your very own spaceship. From the moment you cross that threshold, you kick off a relationship reminiscent of Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon.

When we first moved in, the fireplace had been cleaned out by the previous owner, leaving us with a empty hole in the wall. Rusted metal mesh covered the opening, making for an uninviting atmosphere. While we weren't fans of the appearance, it was also the middle of summer. So, as is the case in a spaceship, the non-critical things get ignored.

Three months in we decided it was time to start looking at what we could do to bring the place around to look a little more welcoming. The eye sore in the living room quickly climbed to the top of the list. With fall just around the corner I knew I wanted to be able to have a warm fire in our home. I went to work researching my options and it didn't take long to decide on some gas logs.

The next step was finding doors. A quick search on Google rev…
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Parenthood: Week 13

For the past three months, life has been so very different.  With our daughter's birth, I was able to exercise Baby Bonding Leave, which granted me up to 12 weeks of leave to... well, bond with our baby!

I took a little of that time up front, then went back to the office for a while while my wife finished out her maternity leave.
When she went back last week, so began my tenure as CEO of Daddy Daycare Inc.
The experience has been amazing, if not a little scary. I am eternally grateful that I have had this opportunity at all, and I will likely brag about it for years to come. Not everyone gets a chance to just stay home and be a part of their new family like this.
Still, on the flip side, taking this much time off from work has also stirred mixed feelings within my brain. In fact, this is the longest I've been away from a job since 2003 when I started working at the local Chick-fil-a. 
The only gaps in those windows included vacations that never lasted more than a week, or mo…

Name of the Wand Season 2

When it comes to creative writing, I try to experiment a little from time to time. One of those experiments started six years ago with a simple idea to create a backstory for my World of Warcraft character, a mage of Stormwind.
This story is fan fiction, that I must admit, but despite taking place in the world of Azeroth, I have tried to give life to my mage and fill him with a compelling purpose and surround him with original characters rather than trying to shoehorn him into the larger Warcraft narrative. Now, with the upcoming Warcraft movie, I realize that more people than ever may begin to recognize the locations and characters referenced throughout my stories. 
I publish new adventures from time to time, and today I've made the entire second season (short episodes that string together a narrative) available for viewing. Meanwhile, the first season is also available at the main site, and if you want to see some writing from many years past, you can check out the "origin…

Heading Back to a Galaxy Far Far Away!

When the old Star Wars "Expanded Universe" was retired to Legendarystatus, I was torn apart. I had grown to love the novels that were being published each year and going to Dragon Con to meet the authors was a special day for me each year. At the same time, I knew that in exchange for this sacrifice, I would be getting more Star Wars movies.

Thankfully, that exchange has already proven to be extremely valuable. Now I am graced with a universe filled with new adventures and exciting opportunities!

Meanwhile, while the previous published works of the EU have been moved to the "maybe it happened, but probably not" section of the franchise, new novels have emerged that continue to fill my shelves at home.

Today, a new novel joins the ranks:

Picking up over twenty years since  Return of the Jedi ended, this novel is one of the first that really dives head first into the time where the EU had freely played before.

Claudia Gray has traditionally published YA novels, but s…

Mobile Gaming: Still Loading...

This year I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 with the hopes of trying to become a "mobile gamer".

I started playing Minecraft: Story Mode, which proved to be worth the investment (in the game, not the whole tablet).

I have several others lined up that I'm hoping to participate in later this year, including Pokémon Go and Skylanders Battlecast, and my wife was quick to get me playing Dragonvale.

Everything seemed to be fine...

Enter the 3DS.

When Amanda expressed interest in Pokémon I was quick to join her. When I finished my twentieth hour in the game last night, I realized I'm only halfway through the story and I have less than half of the pokémon collected.

When I hit 40 hours logged in this game it will mean I have spent $1 dollar per hour of entertainment. That is a very low investment.
Thinking on that, I realized that all of the content this game offers was handed to me in the $39.99 price tag. I can get 100% completion without spending another dollar on the …

An Open Letter to the Older Generations

Hey there!

It's me, one of the Millennial generation!

Now, before you start winding up those cracks about how I'm an entitled and lazy punk that can't get out of my mom's basement, I just wanted to get some information straight.

For one, I worked pretty hard to get through college. I made many mistakes along the way, as any young adult might, but I did graduate with a degree in Technical Writing and have been able to hold a job ever since.

To pay for college I had to work at a local retail store, usually late night shifts, while also taking classes during the day. Tuition was expensive. In fact, the University of Central Florida estimated that the cost of attendance from 2006-2007 was $12,426.00. That expense assumed I was in-state and living with a parent. If I wanted to step out on my own, the same estimate jumped to $16,500.00.

You can check the information for yourself here.

My job allowed me to work nights and weekends. While the minimum wage was $5.85 at the tim…

The Wonders of Pokémon

October 03, 1998 The day had finally come. Pokémon Red and Blue had released and I was getting my very own copy. I don't recall much from that day, but I know that we ate at Denny's and I looked at the Best Buy insert in the paper and pointed out to my parents the game I was going to buy... well, that they were going to buy on my behalf...

I wanted Red. My best friend was going to get Blue. Together we would collect all 150 Pokémon and become masters of our universe.
It was the perfect plan.

I booted up my Ice Blue GameBoy pocket later that day and started on my very first adventure through the world of Pokémon.
It was magical. It was my first full exposure to turn-based RPG combat as well. I liked the pacing a lot. I could think about what I wanted to do and take action without worrying about getting beat by speed.
I played this one a LOT, and with the help of multiple save files and legit dedication, we were able to acquire all of those little monsters.
But this wasn't t…

The Hero of Hyla Paperback

When I first started working on publishing The Hero of Hyla, I assumed that creating a print copy of my book was simply out of my reach. I had tried to print a manuscript before and that wasn't cheap. 
So, last month when I finally launched my new book, I released it as a Kindle ebook with the goal of selling digital copies.
Of course, I soon met some harsh realities. The truth of the matter is, the eReader market is shrinking rather than growing, and while some people are fine reading an article or two on their phones or tablets, they just aren't apt to pick up a book and stare at an LED screen for hours on end.
Thankfully, with extra work and time I have been able to produce a print coy of my novel that can be purchased directly through Amazon.
It is already for sale! Grab a copy today!
Additionally, I will be lowering the price of my eBook copy to just $2.99 to help make the novel more appealing to those who might have to choose between my first book or something like The M…

The Annual State of Gaming Address

Today we're talking about video games.

A lot has happened since 2015. It's been a year full of interesting new games, many of which have passed into obscurity while others went on to claim new achievements.

Battlefront The big winner for the past six months? Star Wars Battlefront.

Namely, Heroes Vs. Villains.

Battlefront quickly proved to be one of the easiest and more casual games in our arsenal. Loaded with the limited gameplay aspects, we've easily killed dozens of hours (and hundreds of storm troopers) during our weekly game nights.

The downside? Not a lot of new content. We've been playing weekly for nearly four months now and each week we're still running with the same guns, same heroes, same levels, etc.

The Jakku content was a nice addition to the game, a few extra maps for free to players, but it came so fast after the game's release that it felt pretty much like part of the game's launch effort. Nothing big has happened on the Battlefront since th…

Debunking the "If you wait until you're ready..." Myth

You've probably seen it before:

On the surface, the moral lesson seems obvious.

If you keep procrastinating on things you want to do, you will probably never get them started.

It's true that this can be an inspiration for many, and maybe even help some individuals who are dragging their feet at starting that novel, or taking that class, but does it really scale to major life decisions like child-rearing or buying a house?

Being Ready Is Good The problem I've found with this "inspirational" quote is that it has never been a good idea in my life. As an individual with a solid job, a loving spouse, and as a soon to be father, I can assure everyone reading that I did not tell myself, "I'm not ready, but here I go!"
The potential for this to backfire is MASSIVE.
When I moved to Atlanta and got a new job, it was because I was ready to start looking. If I had tried to jump any sooner, I may well have missed the greatest job I've ever had. 
When I lived…

Chromecast: One Year Later

Starting out at Google was an exciting experience. On top of the job, the environment, the incredibly intelligent co-workers, and so on and so forth, I was also put in the opportunity to break the mold of technology that I had previously known.

One of my first tech purchases was the Google Chromecast.

For a long time, I'd used an Apple TV in my home. I mean for a LONG time. I was one of the nerds that bought the first generation device in 2007. The big ugly gray one with component output on the back because HDMI wasn't there yet and a 3.5" Hard Drive because streaming wasn't there yet. I was an early adopter on that one.
Anyway, the Chromecast is a unique device and, at first, it seems off-putting. You need a phone to use it? No remote? What is life?
Fortunately, all of that confusion melts away after using the technology for a few evenings.
The main reasons we love our Chromecast: CostGoogle Play CompatibilityUSB PowerEasy Interface
That's not to say there aren…

More News from Hyla

Updates for the Novel There's a lot to be excited about in 2016.

A few weeks ago I released my eBook novel, The Hero of Hyla.

One piece of feedback from family and friends was the desire to have a print copy of the novel. At first I thought this would be a difficult hurdle, but Amazon has created a way for me to generate the product on demand, which means I can move forward with providing copies for those who don't have a Kindle nearby.

It's still a few weeks out, but I'm excited to think that I could hold a physical copy of my work!!!

Most importantly, I want to add how important the support from family and friends has been during the last few months. Seriously, I published a book. Even if the story is the worst piece of fiction to be published in years, I can still pat myself on the back for taking the time to write, revise, and publish the thing so that it was available to the masses! So thank you again to all those who gave me the extra nudge to keep writing over …

2016 Launch Efforts

So I finally did it.

A book. A full novel, pretty cover, edited story, all the things that I could have ever hoped have been completed and a new shiny Kindle Edition of The Hero of Hyla is available on the internet.

Of course, just because it's on the Kindle Store doesn't mean you need a Kindle reader to enjoy the book. The Kindle app can be downloaded on your Apple, Android, Windows, or even the Amazon App devices.

What about PC or MAC? You can download the Kindle app to your computer, or you can head over to the Kindle Cloud Reader  and read directly from there.

That being said, enough conversation has come up about a physical copy of the novel, so I have started working toward that goal as well.

Meanwhile, I've also been working to clean up my backlog, including a reworking of both my WoW Adventures, and the Rakuen Wiki.

The new menus reflect these changes, and I'm pleased with the organization as it is coming together. Basically, 2016 is coming together nicely, an…