Saturday, September 29, 2012

Elephants and Friends: Reprint

Back in 2006, my wife and I spent a few months traveling South East Asia. We spent a few weeks of that time at a small elephant rehab center called Elephants and Friends. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience we will never forget. Unfortunately, the facility as it existed isn't open anymore, though there are other excellent and well-respected rehab facilities in Thailand.

I published an article about the experience in Vision Magazine. It's been six years now and the article isn't available online, so I've been asked by numerous people to repost it here.


Elephant Sanuk
Vision Magazine, 2006

“Rich, why are you not strong?!”

The jibe came at me from Juke Nadee, a 22 year-old Thai mahout who was sitting in the back of a beat-up farm truck next to my girlfriend, Megan. We were in the jungle, several miles from the village of Nonghoi, Thailand. At the time, I was 20 feet up an elephant-sugarcane tree in heavy winds, struggling to hack through limbs as thick as my thigh with Juke’s rusty, but shockingly sharp knife. I could hear Megan snicker.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blogger Issue

Blogger is having an issue with linked pages. Hopefully it will be fixed soon. In the meantime, you can link to my other pages and blogs here:

Book Reviews
Game Reviews
Movie/TV Reviews

NOTE: Looks like it's finally been fixed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where Characters Come From: Carter Franklin

Carter Franklin
Concept art by Evan Ferrell

"Ideally, the characteristics that were inspired by friends, family and strangers work together to create a new whole, molded by the experiences the characters have when they are dropped into the world the writer builds for them."

Until his father’s accident, Carter was a lot like myself: a kid with an active imagination and a passion for nature, growing up in a beautiful part of the country. Carter’s guilt forces him to put his imaginary life away and try to grow up too quickly. Though I’ve never put my imaginary life away, I’ve always struggled to balance it with the responsibilities of life. At times I’ve taken long vacations from it to bury myself in school or work only to discover that all aspects of my life suffered for it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dungeons and Dragons: A Documentary

Me and a friend reading from the AD&D book that kicked a hornets' nest of
Christian fundamentalists into a witch hunt. Circa 1985.

Dungeons and Dragons began back in 1974 and, as most of us old-schoolers know, it changed our lives. I don't mean simply the lives of gamers. Whether you realize it or not, the invention of roleplaying games changed your world.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Numenera: A Kickstarter from Monte Cook

Monte Cook, game design legend, has created a new RPG. Numenera, a distant future RPG, focuses on roleplaying with quick, easy rules and incredible art. Monte started game design back in the Rolemaster and early Champions days and became a household tabletop name after his contributions to 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons over a decade ago. Monte's independent projects, like the Ptolus: City by the Spire setting, gained him a reputation for quality, detailed products.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Written by a Kid! Episodes 7 and 8

Two more fabulously hilarious episodes of Written by a Kid!

Young Adult vs Middle Grade vs Children's Fiction

What defines a children’s story? What is Middle Grade fiction? Where is the line between YA and Adult novels? When I started working on Dreamings, I didn’t have the answers to these questions, particularly the last one. I spent a lot of time researching young adult fiction written over the last ten to fifteen years and was surprised at the maturity level YA fiction had reached. Even Middle Grade fiction, such as Suzanne Collins’ Gregor the Overlander, include brilliantly woven themes of war and sacrifice I hadn't expected. Complexity of plot and depth of character development wasn’t lacking in most modern young fiction.

The three major categories of non-Adult literature are defined by target age of the reader as well as the novel's content and length.