#Crowdfunding – It’s not begging, it’s the future!

Dollar-puzzle-header-704x318Maybe you are in the know, and maybe you are not. You’ve seen words tossed about like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunder. You’ve heard people “backing” projects, tweeting about “stretch goals” and going off the chain over their “backer rewards”. Perhaps you’ve experienced what all the buzz is about, or maybe you are sitting in your chair like this guy…

hairpullWe here at Starry-Eyed Potboiler don’t want you to lose one hair on your head over the fluidity of the interwebs. We want you to have an understanding of one of the most revolutionary aspects of the digital age to date: Crowdfunding.

If you ask Mirriam-Webster or The Googles they will give you a flat: [read in a stuffy British accent] “Crowdfunding is the means by which a person or business collects revenue for a project or product by soliciting funds from a large group of people, most prominently via a website.” Blech! That’s the stale answer, here is the one that will grab you by the throat – “Crowdfunding is a way the little-guy (inventors, artists, authors, designers and more) can cut out the middle man and bring not only their ideas, their products straight to the customer, but allow the people to become investors in making a dream become a reality!

Too much? A little too “make-a-wishy”? Maybe it is, but it is true. For decades, nay, centuries, the path to producing a product has been pretty much the same. Person gets an idea, they make a prototype, then search for investors or a company to purchase it that has the capital to produce the product, market it and sell it. In many markets, we’ll look at the publishing industry, that path has become fraught with individuals who make decisions for millions, even billions of people. A writer creates a novel, then must jump through a myriad of hoops to get accepted into the halls of the major publishing companies, who then run her through an obstacle course to finish the book, only to be told it will be published in a year or so, or maybe never, because they slipped that little heater through the contract the writer was asked to sign. In the end, you the reader are left waiting years for a book that you might love.

Why are we letting major corporations run our lives? Why are we letting them make decisions for us? The answer is that we don’t have to. Enter Crowdfunding. Now, when someone creates something amazing, like Monolith Board Games LCC’s Conan Boardgame, you don’t have to wait years for a major company like Mattel or Hasbro to purchase it from the creator, or invest in it. You can go to websites like Kickstarter, search through current projects, invest your own money in them and receive some amazing rewards for doing so. The best part? You don’t have to wait on big business to make the decisions about if and when you a product that you’ve fallen in love with.

While Kickstarter is the most recognizable of the crowdfunding websites, there are others, like Indiegogo. While Kickstarter is an all or nothing (if the project doesn’t meet it’s funding goal, all funds are returned to donors), sites like Indiegogo allow the project creator to keep what they have raised. Another site that is different is called GoFundMe. This site allows for people to raise money towards goals that are ongoing, rather than a specific time or amount deadline.

In all of these, the person is not begging or simply trying to get money. They are 9 times out of 10, a person who has an idea, a dream that they want to share with others, but they do not want to wait on Corporate America to make decisions for them or their target audience. Nearly all of these projects detail what the money will be used for, the costs of producing the product, marketing and shipping. So, when you hear the word Crowdfunding thrown out, don’t think this:

begging_6309a8_1814050Think this:

crowdfunding_funktionsweiseCheers!

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WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR DEPRESSED FRIEND

Many times people will use phrases like “Stop it, You are lazy, or what’s wrong with you?” because they do not understand depression. Sometimes it is because they see these symptoms in themselves, other times it is because they just do not understand them. When you have someone, be it a Co-worker, a friend or a family member, even a stranger who exhibits these symptoms follow the advice of Stephen Covey, who wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – “5 – Seek first to undertand, then to be understood.” Simply put, listen. Find out where someone is coming from, what they are dealing with, before you judge them. The last year in the Navy I have been dealing with an abundance of senior leadership and officers who too often judge me for what they see, and have never taken a moment to understand what I am going through or what I am dealing with. I’ve dealt with symptoms of depression for nearly two years now. It’s a hard row to hoe, but it can be done with support.

Locations For Lovers! Green Cat Guest House

L4LLogo

 

In a new section of Starry-Eyed Potboiler, we will be posting reviews of places across the world where you and a lover can find a quiet moment alone, enjoy a romantic dinner, stay at an exhilarating venue. Someplace where you and the one you love can detach from the rest of the world and just be in love. Maybe you have an anniversary coming up, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, or you are looking for a place to pop that singular question. Look no further than¬†Locations For Lovers!Tweet: Looking for somewhere #romantic Look no further than Locations For Lovers! - http://ctt.ec/3lAa4+ #getaway #PugetSound @kimberly25819

In our inaugural post on L4L, we will be reviewing the Green Cat Guest House in Poulsbo, WA. If you’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, you are missing out on a spectacular treat. With its lush forests, moss covered homes and spectacular views (like Mt. Rainer over the sound), a person could fall in love with its serene beauty.

012The Green Cat Guest House Bed & Breakfast is a quiet spot, nestled deep in the woods, far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the world, but close enough to provide any type of entertainment you might seek out. When I stayed there, I went to recharge my batteries before a long underway period in the Navy. What I found was someplace that I will go back to, not just as a getaway for myself, but a place to take the certain someone in my life ūüėČ

I made my reservations entirely online via their website and through email. The process was quick, easy and painless (my criteria for making any type of reservation). Because I got off work late, and it was a small drive up to Poulsbo from Bremerton, WA, I did not arrive until after dark. One thing I will warn you about: Do not trust your GPS. It will take you an entirely different direction. Follow the directions provided by the owners.

I arrived after dark, but the owners, Kim and Ken, were expecting me. There was ample parking and after knocking on the door I was given a quick tour of where I would be staying (the Master Suite)025 and a short, but informative run down of how the B&B operated, before being left to my own devices. Tired and worn out from work, I immediately closed myself in and set to relaxing.

Everything, as described on the website, was true. An ample, spacious room, fireplace, claw-foot soaking tub and an intimate private deck. There was even a small basket of fruit, cheese and wine waiting for me on a vintage, antique writing desk.

As was my plan, I spent the entire weekend relaxing, luxuriating and recharging as the guest of the Green Cat Guest House. There were several local dirt roads, running through the moss-covered forest, beautiful vistas of local mountain ranges and nearby Poulsbo, a German/Scandanavian town boasted quite a few places to eat. If you go, I recommend Tizley’s Europub.

IMG_0068The following morning I was treated to a wonderful breakfast, prepared by Kim and was left alone to enjoy my breakfast, my morning and all of the wonderful things that came with it. Throughout my entire stay, I neither felt impressed upon to act in any certain way or that my presence was a bother (as some B&B’s can do, even unthinkingly).

The second floor boasted a full kitchen and aside from a couple staying there as well, I was able to use it to my heart’s content. All in all, I left the Green Cat Guest House exactly as I wanted – refreshed, recharged and satisfied.

If you are considering a place to take that special person in your life, let me be the first to introduce you to this heavenly Bed & Breakfast and recommend it to you. Cheers!

 

Streamline Your Next Game!

Behind The Screen

 

One of the hardest parts of running a table-top roleplaying game, whether you are a Dungeon Master (DM), a Gamemaster (GM) or a Storyteller(ST), is juggling all of the hats that you have to wear during a session.  You have to be a Storyteller, a Referee, a Judge, a Mediator, a Talented Note-Taker, an Expert on the Rules, and most importantly Рa Multi-Tasker.

Here you are, sitting down to play a fun-filled game with your friends, gathered around a table and out of everyone involved – you’re not having fun. That is one of the surest ways to reach GM-Burnout – fast. Session after session you are running games, adjudicating rules, mediating between players, and you just can’t see why you keep doing it. Well, have a read. Here are a few tools to help you have fun during your next #RPG game!Tweet: Here are a few tools to help you have fun during your next #RPG game! http://ctt.ec/iR2ya+ #tabletop #roleplay #games #geek

 

1. Why are you doing everything?¬†Have you asked yourself this question? I am betting you haven’t. You sit down at the table, you shuffle through your notes, you draw out your maps, you make notes about where the party left off and where they are going. You set up your screen, your dice and get something to drink. During the game, you make notes on initiative, who get’s what treasure, how much damage the NPCs have taken, and who lives & who dies. Back to the question at hand, why are you doing everything? Step one – Write down all of the¬†things that you do during the course of a game. Step two – read through them and mark which ones must absolutely be done by the GM. Step three – parcel those tasks out. Have a player who sits around on his iPad most of the game? Make him keep track of initiative. Have a player who is nit-picky over who gets what treasurer? Put him in charge of keep track of everything and then doling it out in the end. Have a writer in the group? Have him take notes and keep track of what has happened. The point is as we say in the military –¬†DELEGATE.

2. It’s called ROLE-PLAYING for a reason.¬†That’s right, it’s role-playing, not roll-playing. You’re telling a shared, collective story between you and the players, not standing around the Craps table shooting bones for cash: Act like it.¬†ROLLvROLEGive your players the opportunity to act like their characters. One of the ways I do this during my games normally coincides when I need a break or to research something. I explain where they are, what is happening, who is around and then (much like a conductor at a symphony) I state – “role-play!” And they do. I’ve looked up from books because my players have gotten so into their roles that the conversation soon becomes entertainment. Let your players play, and enjoy what they come up with. You never know, their acting might lead the game in a direction you hadn’t thought of.

3. Master the art of “Yes! and…”¬†Something that is used in business is called “Yes, and…”. To put yes-andsimply, when someone offers an idea, instead of considering why it can’t be done, say yes to it, but build. You have a player who wants to play an assassin, but you’re not sure how it will work in your current setting. Don’t immediately say no. Say yes, and… it just so happens that this tiny network of assassins, while well known, and highly prized, is wanted by the King’s Royal Guard. Now you’ve allowed your player to have some fun (playing the class he wants), you’ve easily developed a story arc in your game and you’ve given constraints that will make the player work harder to have the character.

4. Go Digital.¬†Just so you know, it’s 2015, it’s not like 1985 or anything. We’ve hit the twenty-first century, you know the so called “Digital Age”. ¬†There are a myriad number of tools out there to help you keep track of every little bit of your game that you need. Here is just a smattering of those tools you could consider using:

Roll20 – A website that allows you not only play your game across the interwebs but keepsroll20_logo track of player character sheets, notes, handouts and more!

 

Evernote – This handy little program/app, which can be used cross platforms, allows you to manageevernote-v6-0-2-premium-unlocked-apk all of your notes and lists. The newest features allow you to share projects and chat. Imagine!

 

 

Scrivner – It’s not just for writers anymore! This handy tool allows you to plot, flesh out and track anScrivener-Logo entire story, with images! Want 50% off? Complete the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and you’ll get just that.

Google DriveGoogle_drive_logo-3A great file-sharing service through Google. All you need is an account and who¬†doesn’t have one of those…?

 

 

Dropboxdropbox_logoThe premiere file-sharing program. My groups use this for everything from characters sheets to notes, to experience trackers.

 

Obsidian Portalobsidianportal_logo_alt01 Here you can plan, write up and manage an entire game. Everything from notes, maps, character sheets, journal and more.

 

 

5. Lists, Lists, Lists and… oh, more LISTS!¬†Get a notebook. Make a new one in Evernote. Use a three-ring binder. I don’t care what it is, but have something you can keep multiple lists in. Every time you see a name that piques your interests, write it down. People’s names, Town & Village names, Country names, Monster names, anything and everything, write them down and when you need one, check the list. It can slow down play when you are hunting through the interwebs for names.

6. Last, but not least – Stop Batch Processing. This is a no-no in the industrial world and it should be in your games. Most games go something like this. Everyone rolls initiative. The order is Bob, rpgdice-585x329Steve, David, Carol and Jan. Bob goes first. Chooses his target, rolls his attack, rolls his damage and describes what he does. Then it is Steve’s turn. Steve chooses his target, rolls his attack, rolls…. ARGH! Stop it! Stop it now, kill it with a fork! IT’S DONE! This was started back before Gary Gygax added it to D&D. It creates a slinky effect, where there is action, a pause and then more action. You can break the cycle. Here’s how –

a. ¬†On Deck – That’s right, much like a major-league baseball game, have the player who is on deck already to go. In fact, have him roll his attack roll while he is waiting for his turn. When it comes, he simply has to make a damage roll and describe his actions.

b. Rolls then Descriptions –¬†I’ve used this in some games. Everyone makes their attack rolls, including you, the GM, their damage rolls. Once the math is out of the way it is a more streamlined, fluid walk-through of the fight from a descriptive standpoint.

I hope that these tips help. That they give you some food for thought and that you even consider putting them into action at your next game. If you do, send me a message, leave a comment and tell me how they worked out for you. Cheers!

 

Happy Holidays & New Year from Starry-Eyed Potboiler! #Redux

Mind of a Writer

With all of the hustle, the bustle of Christmas & New Year’s, the short time on this giveaway and a lot of snafu’s on this end… we’ve extended the giveaway to the end of January and made it simpler!!

We here at Starry-Eyed Potboiler love many things. Among them spiked eggnog, bacon, Eva Green movies and… oh wait, wrong list. One second. Okay, here it is… Among them the holidays, writing and giving! To inspire you, drag you into social interaction and just plain have some fun, we’ll be running a contest from now until 11:59 on 31 January. So, if you don’t have anyone to kiss when a bunch of drunken people at the local pub begin an underwhelming chorus of “Auld Lang Syne”, you can watch the clock tick down here and see if you’ve won one (oh I love word puns, won one, get it?) of three fabulous prizes!!

And just what do we have in store for our wonderful victims… I mean readers, Johnny? Well, because we like to talk about writing probably more than anything in the whole wide world, and we love inspiring other people to write, we are offering up copies of our favorite three treatises on that subject. These are three books that have inspired me, starting with my formative years in High School, into college and my all-time favorite tome on the craft. Without any further ado, here they are:

becoming-a-writer1. Prize One – Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande –¬†In high school I was dead set on getting a degree in Journalism and becoming a writer… life decided I needed to go in another direction, but this book was one of the keystones to my love of writing. I found it at my local library, sitting in the bargain bin for $2. I bought it and wore my copy out that I had to buy another later in life. I think that it is a well-written, concise bit of advice that everyone needs to read if they intend to get into writing. I love it so much it was one of my first blog posts, which you can read here. I can think of only two other books that I would tell someone who wants to write, “You need to buy these, beg for them for gifts or borrow from the library.” Today, however, you have a chance for me to give you one. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

2.¬†Prize Two – Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg –¬†WritingdownthebonesLater in life, after my first year in college, several jobs, the United States Marine Corps Reserves and then the Navy, I picked up this book and instantly fell in love. Goldberg, famous for her novel Banana Rose and memoirs like Long Quiet Highway, has been quietly influencing writers for decades. Writing Down the Bones is one of those books on the craft of writing that doesn’t just give advice, it speaks to the art, the spirit and the zen of writing. ¬†I can’t think of many other books that I recommend to people or look for on their shelves. I am excited at the chance to put it in your eager little hands.

 

 

 

3. Prize Three – On Writing by Stephen King –¬†onwritingIf you know me or know of me. You might know or have guessed that I was inspired by Stephen King. I grew up reading his novels, novellas and short stories. I would stay up late into the wee hours of the night, pouring over the words he wrote, wanting, wishing, hoping one day to be able to inspire others with my skills. On Writing is two parts advice and one part memoir. If you’ve ever been interested at peeking behind the curtain to see the inner workings of the mind of a writer, and you’ve read everything on this blog ;), this is the book for you. I believe that it is without a doubt, one of the best tomes a writer can have on their shelf.

 

 

By now you are either excited or bored. Hopefully excited. We’ve now reached the point where you get to jump up and down and ask “How do I win? How do I win??” Easy there, Hoss. We’re gonna put this into two easy to follow steps. Are you ready? Good! In no particular order:

1.¬†Share this post on social media… somewhere! –¬† Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Your Mom’s Fridge (oh wait, scratch that last one), help us get the word out for the new year. We want people who are interested in writing, social thought, tabletop roleplaying games, and sarcastic comments to know about us! Be nice, share! Heck, I’ll make it easy on you ->Tweet: http://ctt.ec/OT4q2+ is giving away books! Help me win! Share this! :) #giveaway #amwriting #amwinning @dhsayers

 

 

 

2.¬†Follow us! – Easy-Peasy, lemon-squeezy… no, I didn’t just quote Hannah Montana… ok, I did. Don’t make fun of me!! At the top of this post on the right-hand side, you’ll see a little WordPress button to follow this blog, clicky-clicky!! Follow D. H. Sayers on WordPress.com

That’s it. Three simple steps and you will be put into the raffle for one of these three prizes!! Contest starts the moment this is posted and runs until exactly 11:59 p.m. on 31 January 2015. We’ll be watching! Cheers!