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A Call to Action – Day 12 of the April Platform Challenge

Hey, I get to write a new blog post for today’s April Platform Challenge! It’s a sound excuse to get all us wannabe writers to, well, actually write something. As always, Robert has a creative twist; include a call to action at the end of the post. Why? Well, to interact with our readership, or course! In my case, all 20 or so of you. Buckle up, we’re headed to the future.

A friend of mine from the dawn of time commented in a previous post that I hadn’t changed all that much in 30 years (aside from massive hair loss). I like to think that I’m better looking, or at least smarter, but I fear he is correct. It started with some news that I got today.

Way back in 1977, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and Neanderthals that roamed the shopping malls (without benefit of cell service, mind you) got into fist fights when gasoline hit $1.00 a gallon (I’m serious, it’s like they had no self control), a young game designer out of Austin, Texas created a “MicroGame” called “OGRE”, about giant, cybernetic tanks and the world war between the Combine, Paneuropean, China and Nihon forces began. It’s been going on for 35 years!

I played my first game to pieces. Then, I bought a second and played it to pieces. There was a whole slew of these types of MicroGames (“A minute to learn, a lifetime to master”); the absolutely fabulous “The Fantasy Trip” series, the “CarWars” series, and with the ORGE series, there were numerous supplements, “GEV” and “Battlesuit” (although purists spurn the inclusion of “Battlesuit”, I’m keeping in here because it was in the same universe). I spent hours on these games.

Then, I got older. I noticed that girls really didn’t care about my boss Mark VI design and my swooping GEV attack waves. No, seriously, they didn’t care. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? So, I boxed the games up and they, in a fit of pique, shipped themselves to the island of misfit toys. I know I didn’t throw them out!

In the 80’s, several of the fledgling PC platforms had computer versions of OGRE, but it wasn’t the same. A little later, ORGE miniatures came out and I fell back in love again. I purchased the miniatures, but I just couldn’t find the time to play the games anymore. Mostly, because I let the day job interfere [shakes fist at sky].

You’re wondering about the news, yes? Well, today I found out the Steve Jackson has a Kickstarter project to produce a limited run, Designer’s Edition of the classic game. I won’t go into all the details, but it is similar to the Gold editions of Monopoly that came out a few years back. I’m excited about Steve’s willingness to run this out of Kickstarter, but I suppose that it makes good business sense. For those that participate, they’ll get what they are willing to pay for.

If you fondly remember those games, check out the OGRE Kickstarter site, or the OGRE page at Steve Jackson Games.

All a-Twitter – Day 9 of the April Platform Challenge

In today’s episode of the April Platform Challenge, we respond to three tweets. This will not end well for me. My wife and daughters claim they have well documented my Twitter addiction. I needed the break today. I was up all night suffering from seasonal sinusitis. Blergh! Naturally, the first tweet I replied to today also concerned an individual suffering from a similar malady. Birds of a feather flock together on Twitter. Hey, that’s pretty cool! Remember, you heard it here (hear – pun intended) first.

Robert has us building a brand and getting accustomed to utilizing social media. For early adopters (relatively) like myself, this part of the challenge has been comparatively easy. Makes me wonder what danger lies around the corner

In other news, I’m trying a new approach to my template and “Share” button woes. Hopefully, I won’t have to rewrite much of it to get the buttons to appear. If so, you should see them shortly. Or, you’ll see a new template. When template customizations go bad, next on Fox! 

A Proper Profile – Day 3 of the April Platform Challenge

The next step in constructing on online presence is a complete Facebook profile, according to the April Platform Challenge. Said site makes the claim that Facebook is the second most visited site, behind Google. Bearing that in mind, it makes sense that a writer would want a presence on arguably the world’s largest social networking site.

Today’s challenge wasn’t all that difficult. I already have a Facebook account, so all I had to do was update the profile. Check it out here.

Where am I going?

This month, Robert Lee Brewer has issued the April Platform Challenge for writers. The current thinking is; one of the most important tools for a writer in today’s media environment is a strong platform. Think of it as branding for social media. Now, I would’ve thought that actually finishing the novel would be important too, but whatdaIknow?

Anywho, today’s exercise is to set goals. Okay, I can see that. Goals are good things, they help to consistently point you in the desired direction. That presupposes the goals are consistent and coherent. That be asking a bit much from me, but lets give it a go. Short term goals are those that I believe I can accomplish before the end of the year; long term goals are more bucket list-quese.

Short term goals:

  • Keep on rockin’ at the day job. Papa’s got bills and retirement is over a decade away.
  • Complete the April Platform Challenge
  • Celebrate 20th anniversary with wife
  • Finish getting the house in shape for the open house
  • Get Thing1 to college this fall without crying (this may not happen, the without crying part, I mean)
  • Get to RavenCon, meet Glen Cook, try not to embarrass myself
  • Finish the initial draft of the Order of the Silver Rose
  • Start looking for an agent
Long term goals:

  • Keep growing as a father and husband (no, not in the waist, either)
  • Get Thing1 to complete college and shuffle Thing2 and SamIAm in and out of college, as well
  • Get that black belt (I’m already so close)
  • Get published (or a contract) before I’m 50. This should probably be a short term goal.
  • Pay off debt, live large.
  • Celebrate 50th anniversary with wife
  • Find an agent
  • Retire, or something simulating retirement that doesn’t involve being a greeter at Wal-Mart.

I’m not sure if these goals are supposed to be like resolutions (resolute) or promises or what. I believe I’ll treat like waypoints; not as an end, but more like sign posts along the way.

Who am I?

Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge for writers has kicked off. I’m a little late to the fray and I’m actually having a hard time with the first challenge:  define yourself. I’m not sure why it’s so difficult. Perhaps I don’t want to feel constricted or confined by definition.  It’s more likely that I’m not a here-and-now kinda guy; I’d rather talk about what I’d like to do.

No dice, the instructions for this challenge are clear. I’m not to worry about where I’d like to be or anything in the future. I’m to take a look at who I am, what I’ve done and what I’m currently doing. Surprisingly enough, once I got started, I realized that I’m not nearly as lame as my children make me out to be.

Name (as used in byline): Paul K. Ellis

Position(s): Web/Infrastructure Engineer, Application Developer, Writer, Podcaster, Blogger, Martial Artist, Instructor, Teacher, Speaker, Audio Engineer, Reality Crafter, Storyteller, Modeler, Rocketeer, Deacon

Skill(s): Diagnostic troubleshooting, technical writing, creative writing, research, information retrieval, copywriting, model building, programming, audio production, public speaking, blogging, tweeting, procrastinating

Social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Blogger

URLs: Linked above.

Accomplishments: I’ve got a BS in Mass Communications: Broadcasting from Virginia Commonwealth University and an AS in Computer Programming from ECPI. I have a Red Belt in Shotokan Karate, four years of instruction in Iaido, about that many with a Bo and some passing familiarity with Judo. I’ve twice been the USF-NKF Virginia State Champion in Kata (Grumpy Old Men Division — canes and walkers optional) and placed 3rd at the 2008 Nationals in Houston in both Kata and Kumite (again, Grumpy Old Men division). I’ve started writing again (which is a Big Deal). I’ve done voice work for A Christmas Carol with The Podcast Community on Facebook and I’ve got more lined up. Most importantly, I talked an amazing woman into marrying me and am helping her raise three smart, sassy, gorgeous, strong-willed, and independent-minded daughters.

Interests: Being a better husband and father, faith, karate, fitness, reading, learning to critique better, building models, rocketry, podcasting, writing, and learning about new things.

In one sentence, who am I? Paul K. Ellis is a married father of three daughters (which explains the lack of hair) who, by day, is a web and infrastructure engineer and, by night, is a professional dilettante, dabbling in martial arts, podcasting, writing, creating unholy messes with polystyrene, and whose life, much like this sentence, is run on.

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