• My Life,  The Lazy Designer

    On Being Organized

    Reading an article discussing some google mail features that recently ‘passed’, I was reminded of several organizational tricks that I’ve been using over the years. This little bit of nostalgia is specific to e-mail but probably applies more generally. Basically the one feature that caught my eye in the article is that google mail (gmail) automatically color codes messages using a specific color to identify the content of the email (i.e., gray is for bills). The advantage of this, especially if you get a lot of email (like I used to when working at BioWare, 100+ emails in a day was not uncommon) was that at a glance you could…

  • My Life

    Online magazines, I'd love to read, but cannot

    There are a number of fine online magazines containing high quality stories from both established pros and writers who will be pros in the future. Beneath Ceaseless Skies*, Fantasy, and Strange Horizons are just a few of the titles I’d like to read. But I don’t.** Okay, Brent must be one of those old fashioned tree-hugging, dead tree book-loving, technology haters, right? Well, no. I have a huge collection of eBooks and I love reading them on my iPod Touch (though I do have some complaints about the current state of things in regards to eBooks, DRM and available hardware). While there are many other improvements that need to happen…

  • Writing Resources

    AnthologyBuilder – story sales

    Two of my stories (The End of the Road & His Island) are available for inclusion in custom made print anthologies and I was thrilled the other day to discover that some kind folks have actually purchased them for inclusion in a couple anthologies (thank you!). I’m paid royalties for each sale, so that’s kind of cool, but what makes me most happy is that the stories are receiving more exposure! If you haven’t checked out AnthologyBuilder, you should, there’s are many fantastic stories up there. I plan on putting all my stories there eventually once their rights have reverted back to me. Are there any past stories of mine…

  • Writing Resources

    Story sold to Neo-opsis

    I was pleased to find out recently that I’ve sold my story “The Kol Effect” to Neo-opsis. My story is a fun little time travel tale (and this from a guy who dislikes time travel stories!). I am very happy that Neo-opsis accepted it as I thought it a fine fit for the magazine. Neo-opsis is a Canadian magazine, I believe it is published out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It has won the Aurora award twice (2007 & 2009) and I’ve enjoyed every issue that I’ve read. Subscriptions are available from the website.

  • My Life

    The Mystery at Empire Avenue

    So a few former co-workers have formed a new company called Empire Avenue. They’ve been mostly quiet but they recently announced a beta of *whatever* it is they are doing. Now that’s the thing, this isn’t the first time people I worked with have went onto new and exciting things but this is the first time they’ve been so secretive about it and that secrecy has gotten me intrigued. Their CEO is Duleepa “Dups” Wijayawardhana and he’s the main reason I’ve been following Empire Avenue, since he’s one of the most intelligent and hardworking coworkers I’ve ever worked with. When he left BioWare a few years ago his absence was…

  • Writing Resources

    4th Quarter Winners for WOTF Announced

    The fourth quarter writer winners for the Writers of the Future contest have been announced: 1st Place – Laurie Tom from Torrance, California 2nd Place – Scott W. Baker from Monterey, Tennessee 3rd Place – Lael Salaets from Oakridge, Oregon A hearty congratulations go out to the winners and it will be great to meet them this summer at the Writers of the Future awards week this summer. For those who didn’t place this time, I can only point you to Brad Torgersen’s blog where he summarizes quite aptly how significant it is to be a finalist and what it means in regards to the caliber of the writer’s work.

  • Game Reviews

    Army of Two

    First game in my pile of unplayed games that I’ve decided not to finish. I know the series has reasonable popularity but I’m finding the level design boring AND difficult (even at lower settings). The store system is slow to load and awkwardly integrated with the rest of the game. The latest meh moment for me was the placing of a store prompt (“Do you want to visit a slow loading store that offers nothing you want to buy”) right after an autosave before a difficult level. So I die. Reload. Receive store prompt (25% of the time accidentally clicking ‘yes’ instead of the ‘no, never would I want I…

  • Writing Resources

    New review for On Spec Fall 2009

    Up at EssentialWriters.com is a review of the Fall 2009 issue of On Spec. Nice things are said about this issue of the magazine, including a new review for my story “From the Sea”. Thanks to Judy Darley for the kind words and kudos go out to all the other authors who produced such fine work for the issue.

  • Game Reviews


    So I’ve finally finished another game out of the massive stack of games I collected while working for BioWare. I first started BioShock about two years ago, playing enough of it to get an initial first impression. Anyone who has played Dragon Age* will see a few of features influenced by BioShock, including the notification system that tells players new journal and codex entries are present. At the time that I was playing BioShock this was how I was primarily playing games, looking at dozens of them every month for strong (or weak) design features but only spending a few hours with each. Anyways, with more leisure time I finished…