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Old 10-08-2013, 04:17 PM   #2551
alansplace
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Cool Mistborn: The Final Empire

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My son Matt gifted me with a Kindle book for my birthday last month. It was Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson. So, even though I don't normally gravitate toward epic fantasy (except for Tolkien), I'm giving it a try. Wish me luck!
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No luck needed, it's a good book.
The rest of the trilogy is also very good, even though I liked the first one the best (aside from the Alloy of Law, but that stands on it's own).
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Heh. My husband gifted me with the boxed set trilogy this past summer. I'm currently (slowly but surely) reading the first one.
From what I've read, so far, I agree with Abtcha - its a really good book. I just need some quality reading time.
Gotta' agree, after the prologue (the prologue turned me against the book the first time I started reading it - I didn't even get to the end of the prologue before giving up) and the first 5 chapters, I'm happy with it.

I'm aghast at myself for not including Codex Alera when I said "except for Tolkien"!

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Old 10-08-2013, 04:56 PM   #2552
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I'm aghast at myself for not including Codex Alera when I said "except for Tolkien"!

Shame on you Alan!!!
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:14 PM   #2553
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Sigh...!

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Shame on you Alan!!!


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Old 10-09-2013, 04:58 PM   #2554
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Cool Karrin Murphy



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Old 10-10-2013, 12:41 AM   #2555
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Dang, I'm hot!
I always have been a sucker for redheads!
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:59 AM   #2556
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Thanks a lot for this. Like most Gentlemen, I prefer blondes.

It's always good to have some kind of a visual image of a character in a book. Reading is more fun then, although it may get more difficult to see a character from inside.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:31 AM   #2557
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Cool a sucker for redheads!

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Dang, I'm hot!
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I always have been a sucker for redheads!


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Old 10-11-2013, 08:22 PM   #2558
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Cool A Game That Honed the Skills of Writers

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Jim Butcher, author of the "Dresden Files" series, at his home in Independence, Mo.
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: September 23, 2011

Jim Butcher is known to millions as the author of the best-selling series of “Dresden Files” novels featuring Harry Dresden, a “professional wizard” who works in a noirish Chicago as a private investigator.

But to a passionate virtual community scattered around the world, Mr. Butcher is also remembered as Bassor Thanlis and the other characters he created in the 1990s in an online role-playing game with the unlikely name Ambermush.

Amber is a reference to a series of fantasy novels by Roger Zelazny, beginning in 1970 with “Nine Princes in Amber,” which served as the foundation of the game. Mush is an acronym for the form of the game, known winkingly as a “multi-user simulated hallucination.”

In the Amber world — shut down since 2009 but fondly remembered on tribute Web sites — participants created characters and developed scenarios, constructing the action as they went along in a kind of pick-up game of make-believe.

With no graphics, Amber was a world made of words. For aspiring writers, as Mr. Butcher was back then, that was very enticing.

He recalled the old writers’ adage that “you’ve got to write your million words” of bad prose “before you’re writing good stuff, and I once estimated that I was writing 5,000 words a day, mushing,” he said. “We were all practicing storytelling every day.”

He credits the game with honing his skills at using dialogue to reveal elements of the story and in developing characters who interact with others bizarrely — who even seem, to other players, psychotic — but are following an internal logic and personal code. He often struggled, he said, to make a character funny “without his just being a clown.”

If to Mr. Butcher’s fans that all seems to describe a certain wizarding detective, well, flickum bicus, as Dresden says when he casts a spell that lights candles. “It very much informed the ‘Dresden Files,’ ” he said.

Whatever you might call it, it seems to be working. The 13th novel in the series, “Ghost Story,” appeared last month at the top of the New York Times list of hardcover fiction best sellers, his third novel to make its debut in that spot.

Mr. Butcher is not the only author to come out of the Amber community: by some estimates, a dozen or more of the hundreds of former players have gone on to become published authors. Playing Amber then was like attending a writers’ colony, but without the brie and posturing.

“Some of those people wrote so well, I’d be terrified of gaming with them,” C. E. Murphy, an author of fantasy novels who lives in Ireland, said by e-mail. “But it made me try harder when I did encounter them. I wanted to be worthy, essentially, so I stretched my talent to try to match what I perceived of as superior skills.”

The need for speed helped break down writerly inhibitions, Ms. Murphy recalled. “Because it was real-time, happening as fast as we could type, there was no going away for a week to worry and fuss over whether your story was good enough to stand up to another critique partner’s abilities. We did our absolute best in the spur of the moment, and I think that kind of fresh, fast response is incredibly helpful to many writers.”

It was “an insanely positive writing environment,” she said, and added: “If we had a rule of storytelling on Amber, it was ‘no’ kills the game.”

Cam Banks played Ambermush as a teenager in New Zealand and later moved to the United States, where he is now creative director for Margaret Weis Productions, a small, award-winning maker of role-playing games, the face-to-face kind with the many-sided dice. He published his first novel in 2007 and allowed that Amber could, in fact, be bruising to the ego, even in the details of creating the virtual rooms that were settings for the game.

“If you don’t write a good scene, if you don’t paint the right picture, people don’t come into your room,” he said. “People would just mock you openly.” But, he added, that kind of treatment “would lead you to trying harder or getting better.”

Angela Beegle, a writer of romance and fantasy fiction, said writing for the Ambermush community had helped her to develop her characters. “My first male character was a cardboard cutout,” she explained. “He swore, he belched and he leered. I’ve gotten much better since then.”

It was important to have lived in the world of Amber, she said. But for someone who wanted to write novels, it was just as important to move on.

“I learned some very bad habits for an independent writer,” she explained. “The stories are free-form and open-ended and might end up anywhere. In a book, you have to have some idea where you’re going, not to mention at least a vague concept of how to get there.”

Even as players dropped out of Amber, they continued to develop as a social network, cheerleading one another’s careers, discussing the publishing world and agents, and sharing opportunities. The Amber friends Rob Donoghue, Fred Hicks and others created Evil Hat Publishing, a well regarded maker of role-playing games, including some based on the Dresden novels.

Meanwhile, the world of games moved on, and fancy, hardware-accelerated graphics now produce experiences that are as vivid as watching a film. But while such games generate heart-pounding excitement, they don’t spur the kind of creative frenzy of the word-drunk denizens of Ambermush.

In Amber “you couldn’t just jump into the avatar and be the magical flying fairy — you had to describe it,” Mr. Banks said. “We’ve lost a lot of that visual meaning in our heads, because you just see it. There’s no point in imagining it if it’s already on the screen.”

Mr. Butcher eventually turned from writing for the mush to writing for publishers, but not out of the belief that he had outgrown collaborative fiction. “I’m not sure I was self-aware enough to realize I needed to do that,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate with my stupidity, as things have developed in my career.”

Instead, he said, he worked the overnight shift at an Internet service provider and found too few people playing in the wee hours to make the game compelling.

He intended to write in the subgenre known as high fantasy, but a teacher suggested that he try the sort of fare found in works like the “Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter” series by Laurell K. Hamilton. He wrote the first Dresden novel, he said, “to prove to my writing teacher that she was wrong.”

It sold. And sold: there are now more than 6.5 million books by Mr. Butcher in print.

Through it all, he has stayed true to his gaming roots. Among Harry Dresden’s friends is a group of nice kids who happen to be werewolves. In their lupine form they help him take on the forces of evil. On quieter nights, however, they get together. They pull out the funny-shaped dice. And they play.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 27, 2011

An article on Saturday about the best-selling author Jim Butcher, who is also known for characters he created in the 1990s for the online role-playing game Ambermush, misspelled the surname of a friend who played that game and who has remained part of the same social network. He is Rob Donoghue, not Donahue.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:00 AM   #2559
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Cool The Monster Hunter Files

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Old 10-13-2013, 07:15 PM   #2560
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Cool ...gone again!!



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Old 10-13-2013, 10:01 PM   #2561
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I'm back from the bush!! I love the northern Boreal forest, but wow am I glad to be home!
I've lost track of the days.
Lea, what's the count at?
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:04 PM   #2562
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Reading Ghost Story

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Old 10-14-2013, 10:40 PM   #2563
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However, FictFact is basically someone's "hobby" site they use to keep track of upcoming books they want to read. No real association with publishers, so we are still just going off of someone's "guess".
Fantastic Fiction has Skin Game listed as 2014. Google has Skin Game listed as December 03, 2013.

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Old 10-15-2013, 01:39 AM   #2564
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I'm back from the bush!! I love the northern Boreal forest, but wow am I glad to be home!
I've lost track of the days.
Lea, what's the count at?
That's my job, I thought.


Skin Game release date countdown:
49 DAYS!
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:19 AM   #2565
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Just finished Blood Rites. Now my favorite... Dead Beat!
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