Category Archives: Promoting

Interview with game developer Mike Voit

Please note, that is interview was given for the Bloodletting.org game. We used In Character names for some of those mentioned in the interview to protect their privacy.

 

1.    What was the inspiration to create Bloodletting?

The inspiration came from a game called Mafia.org. Very similar with forums for RP and the ability to kill those that piss you off. That game has morphed into a game called mafiareturns. But the original is where the inspiration came from. I couldn’t code so…in 2004 I met Dracula when he came to work in Virginia. We were both in the Air Force and stationed together there. I heard he could code and told him about my idea. He was sold instantly and we started developing the game. Two years later after lots of planning, taking time off to finish degrees and Dracula getting married, we launched the game. In its initial format, it resembled Damnation a lot more. Mafia.org was a one character – one death game. You die, you start over with a new character from the beginning.

 

2.    Where do you and the team get the inspiration for details on the gameplay from?

I get a lot of ideas from other games I play. I might sign up for a game and it sucks as bad as you can imagine but they have one feature that attracts me, so I start developing it for inclusion in BL. City Searches idea came from a game I played called HoboWars and FC tributes came from another vampire game I played for a bit. Other times I just get an idea and bounce it off of DK. If we both agree it will work, we add it.

 

3.    Do you speak with other game developers for ideas? Are other developers eager to provide input on things they’ve done and tried to help you along in creating your own unique twists?

The only developer I have ever worked with is the creator of mafiareturns. He used to be the main coder in mafia.org and I pitched him my idea for BL back in 2004. So he drove down to Virginia from Jersey and sat with me for the entire day loading php and mySQL on my computer so I could get started. Unfortunately I have no skill in coding, so the stuff just sat there until I met Dracula later that year.

 

4.    What idea came first for the game? The gameplay aspect, or the writing? What do you feel pulls at you the most?

They both were worked on concurrently. The appeal to me for mafia was the interaction in the forums. They had some phenomenal writers over there. Otter being one of them. So when I was designing the game I was approaching it from both angles. For those that wanted to write and those that wanted to smash buttons. I myself, have a love for the writing aspect of it and I try to create an environment that foments that activity.

 

5.    How has Arctic Moon Studios, and the people of Bloodletting, changed aspects of your life over the years?

Well AMS for one has brought me a great friendship in the form of DK and Dracula. DK and I used to do a lot of Theater in Virginia. Me acting, he Stage Managing. When I sent out a mass email to all my contacts in email asking them to sign up for the new game Drac and I had just developed, DK was one of the first ones to do so. I soon learned he could code and as a player he started assisting Drac and I. When we decided to form Arctic Moon Studios, we initially asked DK if he wanted to be a part of it. He said no and we were rightfully bummed out about it. Just before we registered the company however, we asked him again and he agreed. He has become one of my dearest friends. I even performed his wedding ceremony. All three of us regularly get together for trips and talk on the phone.

Bloodletting is another thing all together. We used to do regular BL meets throughout the country and had the chance to meet players at them. Stalker and Tala Hemming became early and close friends. Stalker is considered family. He came to my retirement and my father in law’s interment at Arlington cemetery. Edward Broccoli (sp?   Lol..Brollachan) and I have a venture we are working on. Otter and I used to talk regularly but then he discovered girls and jujitsu, Bastet writes to me all the time when I am deployed. I performed Mackenzie’s wedding ceremony. But there are sad moments that come with it as well. Mallory Quarters we met several years ago at the very first BL meet. She became a dear friend to both me and my wife. We went to New Orleans regularly and always stayed with her. When I got the call in late 2017 that she had passed away in her sleep, it was devastating. It’s sad whenever I learn we have lost a player, and there has been a few. But Jen (Mallory) was like family to us. In the early days of the game we had a player use an exploit in the source code to kill all of the other players in the game. We thought that was the end of Bloodletting. It was a brand new game, up only about a month. Luckily for us two things happened. First DK, who was still just a player that assisted with coding and database management, had backed up the server only a few hours earlier, mitigating the damage. Second, Jen (Mallory) made to enormous donations to the game so we could ensure the security of it. Jen was a very wealthy woman who made her fortune as one of the largest pumpkin farmers east of the Mississippi. She loved to game and she loved Bloodletting. My wife and I loved her and we miss her a lot. So when you see her online 24/7, that’s one of my tributes to my friend.

The player behind Lisbeth has become a great confidante for me over the years as well. I know I am forgetting people but it’s late here and I am fighting off a virus. Please don’t be offended if you don’t see yourself mentioned here.

The player behind Smith, I consider a friend. I was actually able to meet him in England several years ago and have a few beers with him.

Shenanoska, an old time player is a friend as well.

 

6.   Do you read all the stories posted? Has there ever been a storyline so moving, it stuck with you?

I wish! I used to read them all when there was just a few entries. But alas, life gets in the way. I do try to read as much as I can. I don’t think I could pick out one storyline. Even the poorly written ones are amazing in the fact that someone at least tried to create something.

 

7.    Characters come and go. Is there any that you truly miss seeing their antics?

I miss the troublemakers. The ones that want to start wars and execute the mundane. I miss the mother out of the Platypire in all honesty.

 

8.    You’ve had to make hard choices over the years when it come to the rules. Has anyone ever really threatened you due to their own violation of the rules? Do you get ‘hate mail’?

The only hate mail we ever got was from a player that we were working on a lot of projects with. She was so involved in every aspect of the game. Then one day we received a very nasty email from her that to this day I still have no idea what prompted it. We responded with our own letter telling her that what she said was highly unprofessional and she shouldn’t have made threats and demands to us. That led to her, her husband and at least one other player quitting for good. She posted our letter to her so we posted hers to show we weren’t randomly attacking her. I truly miss her presence in game. I used to talk with her all the time via video or phone and she was just a bubbly personality. I have no idea what prompted the letter from her in the first place.

I have sent a threatening message to a player. The one that exploited the code. I sent him an email letting him know I had no issue driving to his house and beating the  **** out of him in front of his parents. I included his home address so he knew I wasn’t BSing.

Former players have posted unkind words on FB. But that’s about it.

 

9.   Over the years, you and the team have implemented new and exciting things for the Realm and its players. However, something new, and much bigger, seems to be coming for 2019; you’ve dropped a few hints to many things. Just how many things are on the horizon for 2019? Can you give us some specifics…please? Pretty please?

Houses are going to become more important. Potions are being developed. Special features and areas are in the works for the level 20s. Skills are being developed. One thing people have to keep in mind though, is that it is just DK and I really. I do have Smith assisting me on a project and Dracula has indicated he wants to get more involved. But we are limited in personnel and resources. If people want to see features roll out faster, they need to keep their Alts legal. In the past I haven’t been as strict on that rule, but when we had to make a decision earlier this year whether to keep going because of lack of funds, I had to get more on top of the illegal Alt situation.

 

Thank you Mike, for giving me your time and for all you do for everyone on Bloodletting!

 

 

 


The Worm Reviews Partner

the worm reviews

To all my fellow authors and writers, I’d like to invite you to take a look at a new partner of mine.

The Worm Reviews is a book review site, looking for books, both new and old, to read and gives reviews on, giving you all a little more exposure. The Worm welcomes ALL genres.

If you would like your book reviewed, please send it my way at zoe.ambler5@gmail.com, preferably in a PDF format with ‘book review’ in the subject line.

You can also submit your work directly to the site itself.

Take advantage of this great opportunity. Its completely free, and can earn you a little bit more exposure and book sales!

 

Be sweet, my darlings!

 

 


A new direction

Hello my sweets!

As you can see by looking around, I have made some changes to the site. I have taken down my book and some other pages, because, really, sales are down and the book can be found anywhere.

Why the change? Its time to branch off in a new direction. My tags will change, my content will change.

Whats to come? More talk of gaming, more talk of writing (no change there) and some more on the things that fascinate me the most in our world…like serial killers and news items.

Oh, there will still be plenty of talks of my daily hilarity that is called my life, and plenty of talk of the kitties and their adventures in driving me mad.

The book and movie reviews will be back, as I love doing those.

Of course, the occasional rant will find its way into the pages from time to time, because I am small and can only contain so much rage.

You will also find that I have an added website. I took my ‘Clattering Keyboard’ blogger site off google and gave it its own fancy smancy domain. It is listed under my real name. It WILL, at time, have different content. You can find it at www.clatteringkeyboard.com if interested.

Please keep in mind, I am not done with either site. The listing for the Bloodletting game is not quite complete, as I have a lot of content and explanations for the game yet to go.

Now, as for the difference in the site, as I’ve said, this site may have content different than the other and vice versa.

Its funny, and kind of weird, to be in the world as both Zoe Ambler and Beth McMarlin.

I have a friend I met online under the name Zoe, and we now meet face to face every few months for a lunch date and she insists on calling me Zoe rather than my real name. I am simply her ‘Zo Zo’. And I love it.

A note on the kitties. All three are terrors and I think they are plotting something because suddenly all three are getting along really well. Definitely plotting.

So, thats the update for now.

Be sweet to one another, my darlings. ~mwah~

 


Long overdue…

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Once again, the real world has sucked me into a whirling vortex of chaos.

 

Thankfully, things are starting to calm down…hopefully.

 

I have been lax on writing…everything.. My pen-pals are left wanting, my book, my rp games.  My brain is just kaput.

 

Other than that, however, my life is going okay. My chronic back pain is still there, but I have renewed my gym membership to help strengthen the muscles of my lower spine and generally get myself fit again.

 

Having a houseful is stressful. The step grandchild is going through some serious rough times right now, all due to the abandonment of her mother. She throws tantrums, she is disrespectful, she is angry. But, you cant blame her too much. I mean, she is 5 (6 this week) and hasn’t heard from her mother in two months. That woman just needs to fall off the world.

 

Its been stressful on everyone, but me, especially, that my meds just cant block out the squealing and crying and tantrums. I want to give sympathy, but when she acts out, I don’t want to in turn lash out at her myself. So I keep to myself in my office.

 

I have been watching a lot of movies of late. I found a movie site with a treasure trove of horror movies, however most of them are low budget. Some are pretty good though, despite the unknown actors and big budgets.

 

All the cats are doing great. All vying for my attention that causes a little bit of in fighting, but, they are my kids, so I try to give each their own attention and special treats.

 

As mentioned before, I am back on a gym routine. Its not just for my back…I have been feeling more than a little pudgy lately, and would like to get fit once again. I believe it will raise my self esteem greatly.

 

My writing is going no where at the time. And yet, it hasn’t really been bothering me too much. I had read an article of authors that spend years working on follow up books because of various blocks and obstacles in their path, and it set my mind at ease. I don’t have to crank out book after book if its not going to be quality or if my characters aren’t true to their core, which is my greatest set back at the time. My mind keeps deviating from Addison’s core personality and I am very unhappy with it. So, I have set it aside.

 

The significant other has been out of work for the last three months due to a partial knee replacement. Lemme tellya…so ready for him to get back to work. >.<

 

Well, that’s a small update. Right now all the cats have decided my desk is the place to be, stepping on my keyboard and sticking their butts in my face. Typical cat behavior.

 

So, I will sign off for now.

 

I hope all you lovers out there have a wonderful Valentines Day!

 

 

 

 


New Year with Cheezy Horror Flix

 

So I have been ringing in the new year with some of the most horrible Horror Movies ever. I have a rather large list, but just today I watched this series of movies, Bad Ben, Steelmanville Road (prequel) and Badder Ben.

 

They were just awful, yet enthralling. The f/x were way laughable. The premise was hilarious. They characters themselves were worth a chuckle because the acting was so terrible.

 

The reason I stuck it out on these horrid movies was because I am a die hard ‘found footage’ movie fanatic. I love found footage movies. I have watched quite a few of them, going off of a list I found online. Some of the best ones out there, however, are subtitled due to being foreign films. I hate having to read a movie…too much chance I will visually miss something important.

 

We had a lovely Christmas and New Years in my household, and over this past weekend I got to meet my daughters future in-laws. They are great, and we will come together to build a fantastic family.

 

I have been trying to get the cats to take a picture of them in my carry on bag and duffel bags. Normal, they would be all fighting for who gets to sit in them. Now, when I want a picture of it, they are blatantly ignoring them. Little turds.

 

Things seem to be nice, quiet and happy here of late, and I am really enjoying it. I sent a bunch of mail out in December. Cards and letters. I got a lot in return as well. I love my pen pals. And my email buddies. Its nice to have more than just the cats to talk to, because they always turn out ignoring me to lick various parts of their bodies, or looking at me in that ‘I am cat, I am judging you’ way.

 

More to come soon. Been working on a few writing pieces here and there. Gaming a lot. We are at war, so that’s always fun!

 

Be sweet, my lovelies.


Self doubt runs rampant…

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So, lately I have been having some serious self doubts about myself and my abilities. All my abilities…as a parent, grandparent, partner, writer, artist…

 

It started in November. It just started as a small inkling behind the eyes…a small thought here and there. A doubt in judgement here and there, and it just escalated.

 

Then I was sitting here the night before last working on something and I thought…should I continue to even try? My book is far from being as perfect as I want it. My writing doesn’t feel as smooth anymore. I have lost many followers and readers.

 

Should I keep my Zoe Ambler persona, all the time and work. Should I just let it go? Should I refocus elsewhere?

 

I am feeling very inadequate of late. Its a nagging feeling that is bringing me down more and more. I can attribute some of it to the holiday season. I always get a little depressed this time of year, no matter how well things are going.

 

However, I dont seem very productive. Mind you, we are all busy this time of year. This is a big book time. Here I am with the promise of a new book, yet not producing the final product.

 

I have family things going on that I was not prepared for.

 

I just have to question myself on why I keep up with things when I seem to be failing and falling behind. Am I disappointing anyone? The answer to that may leave me in tears.

 

I had a dream. I have talent. I am squandering it, I know. I am just not finding it within myself to chase these things. I feel so very let down.

 

Perhaps after the holidays I will feel better…if not, some hard decisions will have to be made.

 

Take care, my sweets~

 

 

 

 


Movie Review: Wolf Creek 1,2 & Series

Wolf Creek 1 & 2

wolf creek series

Wolf Creek the Series (one season)

 

I took a day to myself to re-watch some of my favorite movies from Down Under. Australia puts out some really great horror movies, and movies based on actual events.

 

This review covers the Wolf Creek movies and the single season series. Each starts with the mention that it is based on actual events. And its is pretty accurate. Australia has a large amount of serial killers that have never been caught.

 

Young people flock to the Outback to take in the brilliant scenery and hitchhike around the country. Hence, so many go missing. Predators hone in one this, making these young ones easy targets. Included in the opening credits of the movies is the line ‘30,000 people go missing in Australia every year, 90% are found, 10% are never found.’ So, foul play runs rampant.

 

There are proven ‘backpack serial killers’ that have been caught, but how many copy cats go unchecked? And some of those that have been caught are so brutal to their victims. Australia is a vast land, as harsh as it is beautiful.

 

So, on with the reviews.

 

Wolf Creek movies 1 and 2, and the short series are some of my favorites. It is the villain I seem to root for, because, in my little head, he is just the best. Mick Taylor is a relentlessly brutal serial killer. He targets tourists. He views them as pigs that just need to be eliminated from ‘his’ country.

 

Mick has the absolute best maniacal snicker/chuckle I have ever heard. Actor John Jarret captures this character so well, I could never picture the character of Mick Taylor played by anyone else.

 

The good news is, Wolf Creek 3 is in post production.

 

Wolf Creek introduces us to Mick. It shows his relentless pursuit of those he deems as trash and a mar on his country. Foreigners are not welcome in his country. So, as a ‘pest eliminator’, he does his job. He takes great joy in this endeavor.

 

Wolf Creek 2 is much the same, showing just how gruesome this man can be. He is hilarious, however. Creepy, but hilarious. Some of his one liners had me in stitches, but, you have to remember, I am a fan of villains. Also, that snicker/chuckle. It makes me smile.

 

The short Season of Wolf Creek that was developed was also so perfect. This time, we got to see what drives Mick to do the things he does. We learn of his past, getting a glimpse into why he does what he does, and just how his mind got so warped.

 

The movies and the series are quite gruesome for the faint of heart. There really isn’t a fear factor as far a jump scares. It is more about sitting on the edge of your seat as the gore happens, because you can nearly feel the pain of Mick victims as he does what he does. He is quite creative and twisted. No one really gets a ‘clean death’.

 

So if you are up for a really charismatic villain and a lot of gruesome edge of your seat gore, I highly recommend checking these movies and the series out. You wont be disappointed.

 


Holiday card time…

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So the holiday season is upon us once again. One of my favorite things about the season is receiving mail and cards. I also really dig sending them as well, because I find some truly entertaining cards.

 

As I often do throughout the year, I invite you to email me your address at zoe.ambler5@gmail.com, or send me your contact info via my ‘Contact’ page. My home address is listed there as well, if you want to just jump write in and shoot me a snail mail.

 

I have quite a few people I correspond with now, and more is always welcome. Sometimes you may get several letters back to back, sometimes I am a little slow. However, I answer all letters, and when I send cards, they are usually pretty unique.

 

So please help make this old hags holidays a little brighter and become one of my pen pals. You wont regret it. ~.^

 

zoe.ambler5@gmail.com

 

Zoe Ambler – 2300 Moates Road, Enterprise AL 36330

 

Love you guys to bits!


Sick mama, sick fur-babies…

sick kitty 2

 

Howdy All…

 

I’d love to be able to tell you all is right in the world in Zoe-Land, but alas, it is not.

 

I was taken down by a terrible stomach/intestinal flu for the last few days. Today is the first day I have felt remotely like myself. It was horrible though. Absolutely horrible.

 

On top of that, three out of six of my kitty cats are sick with upper-respiratory infections. Quinn and Baxter are doing alright, but Spencer, my baby, isn’t doing that great. He had a trip to the vet yesterday for some steroids, antibiotics, eye drops and a ‘Camel Hump’ (IV solution placed sub dermally at between the shoulder and neck area to keep the baby hydrated). He is not eating, drinking or using the litter.

 

Today I found the poor little man laboring by breathing out of his mouth and drooling horribly, so back to the vet he went. Thankfully, it’s nothing as alarming as my heart and head seemed to make it. He has developed a sore in his mouth, hence the drooling, and he simply can’t breathe from his little nose being stopped up, so that’s why he is breathing through his mouth. The vet said to continue with the daily anti-biotic, try to temp him to eat some soft food or tuna that has been heated in the microwave just enough to make it stinky (if a cat can’t smell it, they won’t eat it) and keep watch over him.

 

Jeffrey has the sneezes, but he also has allergies, so that may be his reason for sneezing. He isn’t showing any other signs of being sick. He is grumpier than usual though. Sid and Seifer are just fine, however. We are attributing their good health to the fact that they are used to being outdoors, and have heartier immune systems.

 

Yesterday marked the midway point for NaNoWriMo. I am working really well on my writing, my word count grows every day. I will surpass the 50k mark well before the 30th.

 

On a more depressing note, as a Municipal Liaison, attendance at the libraries this year is nearly none existent. In the whole month, I have had one participant show for an event. I did note, however, that participation in my entire region is way down from previous years. People who have not participated in the group Write-Ins, but still wrote from home or work, updating their word counts, are not even participating in writing at all this year. Donations are way down. I had a long talk with the library director this evening about it, and he said numbers for their events are way down as well.

 

I have to mention here, that working with both the director and event planner here at the county libraries (this county has like 5 libraries) has been wonderful. These guys are so accommodating. They have helped me since day one of being a Municipal Liaison 3 years ago.

 

We are sort of chalking up everything to being ‘2017, the bad year for everything possible’.

 

Gaming news…there really isn’t any. I have been avoiding my game for the most part because I tend to lose too much focus on NaNoWriMo when I try to do both, as they are both writing based. My little character is slumbering with her hubby, being quiet for once.

 

Well, that’s our little game of catch up for now. I’ll try not to take so long before my next post, and will keep updates on Spencer.

 

Be sweet, my lovelies ~


Who’s on my Bookcase: Mira Grant

Seanan-McGuire-crop-credit-Carolyn-Billingsley

Seanan McGuire, AKA Mira Grant; photo by Carol Billingsley

Mira Grant is the pen name for Seanan McGuire. Using both names, she had produced some of the most wonderful books.

Today, we will look at her work under the Mira Grant pen name.

My first experience was at the insistence of a friend of what a good zombie book ‘Feed’ was. I, however, couldn’t sit and read through it due to some of the politics in the book. My brain just couldn’t wrap around it.

I put it down and came back to it at a later day, and BOOM! I was hooked. By that time, the second book in the trilogy was out, ‘Deadline’, so my ravenous eyes devoured that book as well.

Then came the patient wait for ‘Blackout’, the book to close it all together.

Mind you, Ms. Grant is also a pro at the short story/novella style of writing as well. To go along with the Feed trilogy, she also put out the following novellas:

  • Please Do Not Taunt The Octopus
  • The Day The Dead Came To Show And Tell
  • How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
  • The Last Stand Of The California Browncoats
  • Countdown
  • Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box

 

Now, mind you, all these little novellas fall into the Feed universe, so they may intertwine, loop and reveal some details here and there.

This woman has a very unique take on the zombie apocalypse and how it would start. That’s what I love about it…it has an actual, really in-depth reason for the whole ‘dead munching on the living’ scenario. This woman does her homework.

 

Next comes the Parasite trilogy. Parasite, Symbiont and Chimera. I have made my way through Parasite so far, and love it. I haven’t finished the trilogy yet, but based on the first book, hot damn.

 

And finally, Mira Grant has a new book out. ‘Into the Drowning Deep’. I really want to get through the Parasite trilogy before I dive into her newest.

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Mira Grant is one of those writers that knows how to hook you with a unique prospective on old topics. She managed to meld zombies, politics and a peak into the future so superbly.

 

Sadly, I have not read any of the books written under her true name, Seanan McGuire. My best friend has read them and loves them. It’s a huge collection of books, however, and I need more time to work on one name at a time.

 

I highly recommend the ‘Feed’ trilogy and all the novellas that go with it.

 

Five huge stars!!!

 

Happy reading, my darlings!

 


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