Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Board Games Defined: What Am I Getting Into?

Light, heavy, Eurogames, Ameritrash, dry, thematic, dice chucking, deck building, party game, co-op game, hidden traitor, social game...what are you getting yourself into with this whole board game thing?

Photo: The History of Board Games
Yes, there are dozens of different board game categories. Yes, it can get a bit confusing at times. But the great thing about having so many choices is that there's going to be some game out there that lines up perfectly with your own, unique tastes, if not several. There are so many categories and each category has so many more sub-categories, so I will do my best to list the main categories I think most of you will come across, along with an example of each. 

So without further adieu, what's out there?

Made popular in Germany, Eurogames are perhaps best known for their emphasis on strategy as opposed to luck and typically have simpler rules and less-hefty duration. There is typically no player elimination and normally some facet of scoring is kept secret in order to prevent opponents from identifying the clear winner.

Example: Ticket to Ride

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tricking Your Spouse Into Games with Co-Ops

If your significant other doesn't want to play games it could be because they picture hours of trading money back and forth in Monopoly, or getting demolished one hour into a four hour bout of Risk. This should go without saying, but there are still so many people out there who haven't partaken in modern board games, so I'll say it: board games are different now!

Tons of ideas for two person games to play as a couple

I don't care who you are, what you're interested in, or your personal prejudices -- there's a board game for you. And, more importantly, there's a board game for you and your spouse to enjoy together. In this post I'm specifically going to talk about three (ish, you'll see why) cooperative games that are very similar in play but have completely different themes that I think are a great start for couples who want to get into gaming.

Real quick, here are five things you can tell your significant other to convince him/her that you should be playing these games together:

1. I want to spend quality time with you that doesn't involve sitting in front of a screen.
2. We can invite friends over and have a double-date game night.
3. Don't you want to do something together?
4. It's only $15 and it has a lifetime play value (specifically Forbidden Desert for our fellow cheapskates).
5. Board games are cool now. No, really!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How I Quit My Job and Became a Freelance Writer

The trend this week in blogs I've been reading seems to be "How to Sell Your Books" through social media. I've decided to take the blogs' advice as well as pepper in a bit of my own while also shamelessly plugging my self-published book about writing, "How I Quit My Job and Became a Freelance Writer."

I think this subject is worthy of a post because so many writers out there, though the figures are changing more drastically every day, are relying on getting picked up by publishers. Yes, I still buy a lot of physical books, but e-books are gaining in popularity and are arguably much more accessible and convenient than physical books. For example, in an article from the Huffington Post in 2012, over 21% of Americans had read an e-book and they read an average of eight more books per year than those who didn't. 

What am I getting at?

Anybody can be a writer!

Friday, September 4, 2015

The One Rule to Being Successful: Keep on Keeping On

I want to become a successful blogger, writer, teacher, student of the world, friend, wife, and mother. Every one of these goals is earned through perseverance, hard work, and a lifetime of practice and improvement. But, as humans, we rarely think in terms of decades. For example, we have a hard time with "I'm going to give up every Friday night to write from now on and then ten years from now I might have one or two really great books." Instead we lose sight of our goals temporarily, decide they're not feasible, or convince ourselves that they're just not that important to us. For now.

Free stock photo of cup, mug, desk, office

But then what happens? A few months pass and you realize you haven't posted a single blog post. You realize how  much fun you had writing a blog, the rush it gave you, and the sense of accomplishment you felt when you increased your readership from a measly one to a whole two people. Now you have to start all over.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Married with Board Games: Five Tribes

Not a surprise since I just announced it as one of my favorite games on my Top 20 list, Five Tribes is one of my all-time favorite games to play with my boyfriend. Perhaps my enthusiasm is partly due to the fact that he's never beat me...maybe? Nah, it's probably just because it's an incredibly beautiful and well-designed game. Right?

Look at it! Now go to the website and see what's inside the pretty pretty box...seriously go ahead...some pretty pretty pieces! If you need something to draw you to a game, the aesthetics and art work in Five Tribes might just be enough for you. Seriously, look at these:

Now, why do I think this is the perfect game to play with your spouse? 
  • It plays well with two people: Most strategic games have some sort of two player variant but they can be extremely disappointing. For example, as much as I love 7 Wonders, playing with one dummy player does not make a two player variant. Sorry. Five Tribes actually has differences to change up the strategy of the game when you play with two people.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The 7 Worst Characteristics About YA Books

I consider myself a Young Adult author in the sense that I'm most interested and most comfortable in this genre. Because I write YA fiction, I also read a ton of it. Or maybe that's the other way around? Maybe I'm so interested in it because I've read so much of it. Regardless, YA is my jam. That's why I need to do this post. There are some incredible YA books that I feel everyone needs to read with complex characters, smart plots, and narrative voices that say "Reader, I trust you to keep up." There are also YA books that do the exact opposite of these things and I've compiled a list of the 7 worst characteristics of many YA books so you and I can be cognizant of them in our own writing.

Free stock photo of person, woman, hand, relaxing

Annoyingly Hip
We've all read books that make us cringe with their slang, technology, and Mean-Girls-on-steroids type interactions. To me this is a little bit hard to overcome in writing because you want modern narrative and you convince yourself this is the way to do it. But there can be too much of a good thing here, we need to make sure we use this modern-speak in moderation. You can only mention Twitter, iPads, Apps, and popular websites so many times before readers say "Okay, we get it. The characters are teens in the 21st century..."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Making the Time to Write When You're Busy

As the summer ends and the school year begins I am faced with too much to fill my plate and nothing I can give up. So what do you do when you're faced with these dilemmas day after day? You still write. You write in any spare moment even for just a few minutes.

I'd be a hypocrite if I said I've never put my writing on hiatus, but this post is just as much for me as it is for everyone else out there. We need to stay pumped, focused, and...sane.

Free stock photo of man, person, woman, face

So how do you make the time to write when it seems like every minute of your day is spoken for?