Yep, I’m back and here’s how this is gonna go: I’ll tell you why I left, where I’ve been and where I plan to go. If you don’t know, this is not my first rodeo with Sugar Gamers, I was a founding member back when this community was young and now after a few years, I’m back. I’ve spent time working in the game and comic book industries and I have a lot of dirt and insight I will be sharing with you because I love, LOVE spilling dirt. Feels good to be back here at SG working with the usual suspects as well as a few new ones. For those of you unaware, I was and am once again the cantankerous grump of the crew, so hide your motivational memes, I’m back and more jaded than ever.
Why The Exit
I want to start by saying I would not be where I am without Keisha and Sugar Gamers. I had been with Keisha from the start of SG because she was persistent, persuasive and taught me invaluable lessons along the way. She brought me out of my grumpy little husk from time to time so I could interact with the world and it wasn’t so bad. We went at it f or almost four years, and had some incredibly fun, once in a lifetime experiences.
Keisha always understood that while I enjoyed writing about comics and video games, my heart was always set on working in those fields. Towards the end of my previous run at SG those opportunities presented themselves and I charged at ’em like a rabid tiger. Sugar Gamers at that time was still figuring itself out and I couldn’t see myself attacking these new opportunities and still being an asset to Sugar Gamers so I tipped my hat and went on my way.
Where I’ve Been
First things first, I became addicted to making comics. It was a cold winter here in Chicago when I scored a gig working the local Distant Worlds Final Fantasy concert. There I was introduced to a woman who would change my life, she was beautiful, and incredibly good at rolling those Final Fantasy posters. During our down time we hit it off, she told me she was an illustrator, had her own series of children’s books (Bellossoms.com, they’re awesome, my nieces love them) and really wanted to do a comic. Enter Erika Swanson, the artist of my web comic Shero and Vex (SheroAndVex.com).
This was the first time I had my writing illustrated and there was no high that came close to that feeling. I was a goner, so addicted to the collaborative and exciting process of making comics. Erika and I have been partners in crime for almost three years now and I can’t get enough of it. She is more than just the illustrator, she edits me and inspires and drives the creative process behind the comic. Shero and Vex was the gateway drug for what would come next…
Much to Keisha’s dismay, she had to sit and listen to me babble about a sci-fi comic about prohibition for YEARS. She wanted to see this project get made already but I kept running into artists unable to execute what I needed. Luckily a friend introduced me to another life changing woman by the name of Kate Rodriguez. Don’t let her petite stature and sweetness fool you, this little lady packs a fatal punch with her art. Kate is the artist the Warshiner (Warshiner.com) comic book series NEEDED.
She continues to blow me away with what she can do and what she has learned to do on my behalf. Thanks to her, Warshiner has officially been picked up by a publisher, Crown Wolf Entertainment, I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels to say “picked up by a publisher” it’s like my favorite thing to say.
With two comics under my belt I began doing conventions, LOTS of them. I have become pretty talented at lugging around all of my crap and setting up a fabulous table display if I do say so myself.
I did the con shuffle for about two years and then realized, especially when it comes to the big cons, I was getting hustled. Stay tuned to SG and I will explain in FULL, GRAPHIC length my problem with the big cons.
Thanks to my work with comics, I finally got to live my dream of doing writing work for a video game when Michael Mendheim of Digital Dreams Entertainment offered me a gig to do some narrative design and dialogue for Mutant Football League.
Mendheim is a good boss, fair, funny and open minded. The first Kickstarter campaign done for Mutant Football League ended in utter failure. Without missing a beat Mendheim brushed it off, strapped on his cowboy boots and got right back to work. Today, after a wildly successful second campaign, MFL is mere weeks away from launch and I could not be more proud to be a part of that team. I couldn’t be happier that Mutant Football League was my first video game project because it was such a positive experience.
Next up, I was given the chance to work in the AAA game industry on big titles and all seemed right with the world. I felt like I was in the right place at the right time and I could make a career in games.
Allow me a moment to pause and take in a big laugh because this is the part of my story where I get completely screwed over.
Legally it is in my best interest to not disclose who did the screwing or how, but I promise for any readers wanting to enter this industry, in future pieces I will give you all the info I can to prevent this from happening to you. Bottom line, I got robbed, and it was so devastating I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to work in the game industry again.
Back in a SG Mood
During my slump of self-pity I made an effort to go out, mainly to find a reason to bathe for the husband’s sake. I figured I would take in some fresh faces and to my surprise, I kept running into a familiar one, SG’s fearless leader, Keisha Howard.
Over the course of a few events we chatted quite a bit, Keisha had solidified what she wanted for SG and it was exciting to hear. I gave her a rundown on my adventures and my current state of woe over my game career. Keisha does not digest self-pity very well, especially when it comes to me. She considers it unproductive and unfounded. During my hiatus she was always supportive of my projects and as I moaned about the bullshit I encountered she was quick to lay out what I had accomplished. Keisha is great at making me feel like a moron for getting down on myself, I swear her and my mother were exchanging notes. Keisha let me know my experiences, good and bad, have a lot of value and should be shared and that if I wanted to come back into the Sugar Gamers fold, she would welcome it with open arms. So here I am, back at it, in the arms of woman who does not tolerate my extravagant pity parties.
Where I’m Going
On a metaphorical basis, I am moving forward, especially with my writing projects. Warshiner is getting published and Kate and I are hard at work on book number three. Shero and Vex has evolved so much and I really want to push that project into other formats, we’ll see what I can do. I am also currently working on a novel, Sugar Gamers will be one of the first places to know about it when it’s done.
Looking at it from a more literal point of view, I am going to Dreamhack Denver. In the past with Sugar Gamers I had covered eSports events and found them tough to endure. Back then, being a woman in that scene was not easy, it was riddled with harassment and just a general hostility I didn’t enjoy. Since that time I avoided eSports like a plague, I had no interest and assumed I never would. So then why the hell would I be going to a massive eSports event like Dreamhack Denver?
I went to Dreamhack Atlanta on a whim and had a great experience that showed me eSports has grown up a lot and I think it’s safe to say we can be friends, I’ll go into the full story in future pieces.
My main goals in coming back to Sugar Gamers are to share the lessons I’ve learned as well as the ones I haven’t yet, show you awesome products, take you to cool places and introduce you to interesting people . We have a great community that has exploded from when we first started and I’m excited to dig in and get reacquainted.