CWC Podcast Ep 11: Heidi McDonald and starting late in Games

CWC Podcast Logo_v2 (1)Ever thought you may be too old to change careers? Especially for writing in games? If so, check out Heidi McDonald’s story! In this episode she talks about her journey and advice.

Heidi was a stay at home mom when the recession hit, and that’s what pushed her to see what was next – lucky for her, that eventually led to her awesome career in video games. But it started with her being a 39 year old college with a bunch of 18 year olds. From there she dove in and learned a multitude of skills, and went to a creative careers seminar where she heard a woman talk about working in games – and that was an eye opening moment. Continue reading

iTunes New and Noteworthy Podcasts – Creative Writing Career made it!

CWC Podcast Logo_v3Creative Writing Career right next to Star Wars on New and Noteworthy podcasts in iTunes ‘literature.’ Thank you all to helping us get there – it was a goal of ours, and we’re so happy you were able to help us make it happen!

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And don’t forget to buy the book on Amazon!

Creative Writing Career 2


The Creative Writing Career podcast is here!

CWC Podcast Logo_v3If you’re a follower of my site, it’s likely because you have an interest in writing or like to at least hear writers’ stories. It’s with you in mind that…

we just launched the CREATIVE WRITING CAREER podcast!

So far, we’ve interviewed or have scheduled such folks as Elias Madias (Shadow of Mordor), Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides), Matthew Ritter (Telltale Games, comics, and indie Games),  Jazon Denzel ( and publishing with Tor), Will Wight (The Traveler’s Gate trilogy), Lee Jessup (Getting it Write, Screenwriting coach), and Linda Poitevin (Sins of Angels), and more.

Find it on iTunes or through your android podcast search. You can also find it at Please remember to share and leave a review!

Hosts: Stephan Bugaj, Justin Sloan, and Kevin Tumlinson

Launch date: November 2, 2015


Interview: Elizabeth LaPensee, Game Writer and Designer

lapenseeheadshotlightElizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, comics, experimental animation, and other interactive media. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, currently living in Minnesota. Most recently, she created We Sing for Healing (2015), a musical text adventure game. She also designed The Gift of Food (2014), a board game for the Northwest Indian College about Northwest Native traditional foods. Continuing her work with communities, she co-designed Tulalip Tribes: Connected to the Land: Gathering Native Foods (2014), a suite of games about Tulalip traditional foods for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Her dissertation in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia shares experiences from the Indigenous social impact game Survivance (2011), which encourages ongoing healing through storytelling and creating art.

This interview will be one of many with amazing writers in my upcoming sequel to Creative Writing Career.

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Nook First – Military Veterans in Creative Careers

Screenshot_2015-07-26-08-21-35-1Anyone who has followed my writing career knows that my non-fiction book, Military Veterans in Creative Careers has been a major passion project for some time. I served in the Marines and wanted to share my advice and the advice from other veterans, so that our brothers and sisters will have at least some sort of path in mind when they set off to pursue their creative passions.

I am happy to see that Barnes and Noble is supporting the cause – last week they featured my book on the front page of their Nook First program.

AND for the month of August I’ll be donating all royalties from this book’s sales to OPERATION SUPPLY DROP (OSD), an amazing organization. So if you’d like to support me and OSD, head over to B&N and get a copy of the book. Continue reading

Interview: Patrick Algermissen, Films, Games, and Books

Patrick AlgermissenPatrick Algermissen makes books, movies, and video games. He programmed physics and gameplay for the most popular American football game in the world, designed and built intelligent lighting and camera systems for the leading developer of cinematic video games, received his first filmmaking award from Steven Spielberg, and worked in the Launch Control Center during Space Shuttle launches. His proudest accomplishment is marrying the woman of his dreams and raising three children with her. Continue reading

Creative Mentor Series

BookCoverImageAs the second book in my Creative Mentor series is about to hit the shelves (and the 3rd in a couple of months!) I thought I would share with you all some highlights from book 1. The book has done fairly well, including nearly 100 audiobooks sold and reaching Top 3 Best Seller in Job Hunting, December 2014.

For more information on the book, see below. And I recommend you check out other audiobooks by the narrator, Thomas Block. 

The Book:

Want to be a writer of video games? A screenwriter? A novelist? This book will guide you as you position yourself for a career as a writer.

Based on a lifetime of struggling to make it as a creative writer, “Creative Writing Career: Becoming a Writer of Movies, Video Games, and Books” is a guide for aspiring writers to help them position themselves in an extremely competitive field. The book includes information on the writing process and ways to improve one’s craft, but mostly focuses on how to get discovered and where to concentrate energy in the meantime. The content of the book is supplemented by writer interviews, featuring some incredibly gifted people who share the wisdom they have gained. With writing, as with most aspects of life, I have chosen to rely on those with demonstrated wisdom to move ahead. This book presents that wisdom for the reader to do the same. Continue reading


advanced warfareFinally, a first person shooter that feels amazing AND has a focus on story. I started playing the game yesterday, worried that it was going to be like the other Call of Duty games – a lot of fun, but jolting storylines that don’t even necessarily follow the same person. This is horrible for a person like me who wants to be emotionally connected. We want a point of view to align ourselves with, so that we can feel the death, the decisions, and every jolt of the weapon in our hands. Continue reading

Celebrating My First 100 Audiobook Sales

I know, it’s not a big number yet, but it’s 100… Has a nice ring to it? And to celebrate my first 100 audiobook sales, I’m giving away 10 audibooks, your choice from my selection.


If you’re curious about the process of producing an audiobook, I have included my post, originally published on the blog (nowTheRoadLessWritten):


Why would you just sell your book in ebook or print, when you could sell it as an audiobook? Maybe your answer is that you have no idea how to get your book into audiobook format. If that’s the case, there are a couple of choices, but the one I like is

I recently released the audiobook for Teddy Bears in Monsterland, my preteen novel of a teddy bear that goes into the lands of monsters to save his boy who was taken in the night. And guess what? The process was easy. ACX is like a big brother program, pairing us up with amazing (potentially) narrators and holding our hand along the way. 

Interested in going with ACX? The first step is to login to the site (run by Amazon, so use your Amazon login), and select your book (the book has to be published first). Then you select whether you want to pay them a set amount up front (for example, $100 per finished hour), or split the royalties with the narrator. It seems to me that you’ll get higher quality narrators if you offer to share the royalties, but if you believe you’ll make millions, go ahead and pay up front. But be ready to get in touch with reality.

Next comes the fun part – auditions. You put up a small section of your book, such as a page, and then narrators audition to read your book. You listen and choose one you like, and if they accept your offer, you’re ready to make your book! Then comes the even more fun part, which is directing the narrator as they submit their readings of the chapters. Be careful here, because if you don’t catch errors, nobody will. Listen to each chapter as they come in, and be sure to give the narrator prompt feedback in case there are any corrections that need to be made.

When you are finally done, you both confirm and ACX checks it, and that’s pretty much it. Easy, am I right? So if you have a novel and have the subsidiary/ audiobook rights, get on ACX and make it happen. I look forward to listening to your audiobook!

In the meantime, you can check out my audiobooks on Audible, Amazon, or iTunes.

Available now:

1) Teddy Bears in Monsterland

2) Creative Writing Career: Becoming a Writer of Movies, Video Games, and Books

Coming soon:

1) Back by Sunrise



*US and UK only, digital copies

Interview: Toiya Kristen Finley, Video Game Writer and GDC Presenter

FinleyAuthorPhotoNashville native Toiya Kristen Finley is a writer, editor, game designer, and narrative designer/game writer. She holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. With nearly 70 published works, she has 20 years of experience writing in a range of genres, tones, styles, and voices. She gained editorial experience interning at Henry Holt’s imprint, Owl Books. At Binghamton, she founded the literary journal Harpur Palate and served as its managing/fiction editor. She has been a writing center tutor, writing mentor, English tutor, and an instructor in both traditional and online classrooms. In 2011, she co-founded the Game Writing Tutorial at GDC Online with Tobias Heussner and served as an instructor in 2011 and 2012.

In videogames, she has worked as a game designer, narrative designer, and game writer (or some combination of the three) on several unreleased indie, social, and mobile games for children and general audiences. Some of these games’ existence shall remain forever a secret (hey, that’s the game industry for ya). Published games include Academagia: The Making of Mages (Black Chicken Studios) and Fat Chicken (Relevant Games). She is currently a member of the IGDA Game Writing Special Interest Group’s Executive Board. The Game Narrative Toolbox (Focal Press), a book on narrative design she’s co-authoring with Jennifer Brandes Hepler, Ann Lemay, and Tobias Heussner, will be out in June 2015.

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