Jenifyr Kaiser

Author and Freelance Writer

Category: Uncategorized

Mars

I woke up this morning to an email pronouncing the imminent release of National Geographic’s new series – Mars. The show is not scheduled to begin until November 14th, but they have released the first episode for streaming online. Of course I eagerly gobbled this information up and proceeded directly to the site to watch the show. I was definitely not disappointed. It takes the form of a docu-drama following the first manned mission to Mars in 2033. It is wonderfully done, I recommend it to anyone at all interested in space exploration or just in need of a dose of positive thoughts.

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I believe the journey to Mars is the most positive and momentous thing we can do as a species. It is our future and as such it should be the goal of every human being on Earth to support, in any way possible, this great undertaking.

Mars does not care what color your skin is, what country you’re from, what god(s) you believe in, who you choose to love, or what clothes you wear. It doesn’t care if you are male or female. It does not care about any of the things that drive us, so often, to conflict. The journey to Mars will require every single one of us. It requires our faith, our love, and most of all, our imagination.

As a writer I have the unique ability to reach directly into people’s minds and jump start their imaginations. That is my contribution to the journey and I take it quite seriously. I’m not an astrophysicist or a biologist, but if I can inspire the next generation of kids to follow their dreams I might just help the human race to become an interplanetary species. That’s a lot of power to hold in one’s hands.

Each and every one of us has an opportunity to help and along the way maybe, just maybe we can put away childish things like hate, discrimination, and war to embrace a new kind of future. Maybe the trip to Mars will change us in more ways than we can imagine. That’s my hope. That’s my dream. What’s yours?

I’m Baaaaack!!

Hello all! I’m sorry I’ve been away from my blog for so long. I am working with a video game developer called Dapper Penguin Studios on their new game – Project Automata, I’m doing most of the wordsmithing for the game including writing copy, blog posts, emails, etc. I even wrote their Kickstarter Campaign which was an amazing experience in and of itself. Now that it’s over and my contributions to the project are winding down a bit, I can focus more on my blog and looking for new writing opportunities. If anyone is looking for a good writer, please let me know.

The game I've been working on recently

The game I’ve been working on recently

Thanks to everyone for your comments on the blog. I appreciate all of them, even if I can’t get back to everyone as fast as I’d like. Hopefully I’ll have more time going forward for that. I’m planning some great new posts soon too, so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks!

Adventures of a middle aged nutcase

I’ve gotten myself into some interesting things over the years. I grew up in a time when women were trying to figure out their place in the world. We were either expected to cook, clean, and take care of our husbands or we were expected to do all of that, have a career, and raise children on our own. Whatever else we were expected to do there were some things that were just not done. If they were done, they definitely were not encouraged.

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It has taken me most of my life to realize that it’s okay for me to be myself and to enjoy things that my younger self would never have considered. Some of this self realization comes from hard lessons learned through tough experiences.

I am the youngest of four children and as such I have witnessed the death of the vast majority of my family including my parents. There is something terrifying and lonely about losing your parents, but there is also something about it that grants you a certain freedom. If you are anything like me, you grew up doing what people expected of you. Those expectations form our view of the world and shape the behaviors that follow us around like lost puppies. Breaking free of them can be difficult at best.

“The idea is to die young as late as possible.”  – Ashley Montagu

Facing so much death forces you to face your own mortality. Because of that, I have learned to open myself up to new experiences. Doing so allowed me to accept that I am gay and led me to my wife, Kellie, who is the best thing that has ever happened to me. She is a beautiful, wonderful, free spirited woman who has brought out the very best in me. With her support I have been able to try new things and experience so much more of life than I ever thought possible. I love her dearly for that and so much more.

A couple of seasons ago Kellie convinced me to try snowboarding which, at the not-so-young age of 41, was quite a feat. I learned. It hurt, but I learned and I had a blast doing it. Living in Vail, CO was a huge help since I could go anytime I liked. It was a fantastic experience and one that I never would have done on my own.

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Last November my lovely wife talked me into learning how to SCUBA dive on our honeymoon in St. Thomas. I was scared, I’ll admit, but it was the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life. The beauty of life below the waves is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. I plan on getting my SCUBA certification before our next vacation, so I can get back down there as often as possible. Under da’ sea, under da’ sea…

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Our latest adventure is riding motorcycles. I am 43 years old and I’m learning to ride motorcycles. I must be insane. I mean, I rode dirt bikes a little when I was a kid, but that was many, many years ago and street bikes are a whole different ballgame. Oh well, here we go again… It has been quite an adventure so far and it is just beginning. It all started with a dream, oddly enough. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post.

Until then… happy motoring!

 

New Horizons

I am very happy to announce that I am officially freelancing for Dapper Penguin Studios on their upcoming title Project Automata. I will be writing in game dialog and tutorials as well as blog content, web content, and managing press relations.

I am very excited about this new venture and about the new game which is going to be amazing. It is a beautiful industrial simulation game that will definitely be a hit. The Kickstarter campaign should be going live soon. I’ll keep everyone updated as the game progresses!

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My Interview with Kahl Shariff

As promised, here is a link to my latest article. I had a chat with the CEO of Project Whitecard – Khaled Shariff. He opened up about his company and their latest game Star Rangers. The game was developed with NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, and many more amazing organizations. I hope you will read it, enjoy it, and pass it along. Thanks!

 

Exclusive Interview: Khaled Shariff, CEO of Project Whitecard, talks about Star Rangers and the future of the gaming industry

 

 

Interesting Interview

Those who know me well, know I have a fascination with space exploration and science fiction. Well, I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of a company that is changing the gaming industry and the world for the better.

I won’t say more today, but keep an eye on my site for the article which should publish in the next few days.

My latest article was featured on Gameskinny today!

Check out my latest Top 5 list:

The 5 best open world sandbox games you should be playing, but probably aren’t

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Taking names!

One of my latest articles garnered a little attention. Yay me!

Gamer Girls Unite!

This is a guest post I did for a good friend and amazingly talented writer — Rainy of the Dark. Check out her website and I hope you enjoy the post.

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Yes the title is a bit dramatic. No I’m not starting a revolution, although… nahh, not today. What I am saying is that we game and tech geeks of the female persuasion need to stick together. Being a woman is tough, but being a woman in the gaming and technology world is crazy tough. I worked in the IT field for nearly 20 years and it was definitely a man’s world. When I started back in the early 1990s there were only a handful of women in the field. Getting anyone to take you seriously back then was like trying to push a rope. If they didn’t outright laugh, they would just ignore you and hope you went back to your knitting.

Things have definitely changed in the last couple of decades. Women are getting closer to being paid fairly. We’re not quite there yet, but moving in the right direction. I see a much larger number of women in the IT industry now as well. It’s becoming much more popular and we are actually being viewed as competent, successful members of that society. Considering it’s been less than a hundred years since we were granted the right to vote, I think we’ve come a long way. It just goes to show that with enough time, courage, and downright stubbornness we can accomplish damned near anything.

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So, here we are, an enlightened society who, by the grace of our own virtue, have created relative equality for all humans (I know that’s a big stretch, but work with me here folks). Can someone please tell me why I can’t get a female character to play in Assassins Creed or a female version of Link in Legend of Zelda? Why is that such a huge issue for this industry? There is a huge disparity between the number of games with female protagonists to ones with male. The number of games that have any female characters to choose from at all is limited. When I do see one it usually restricts me to one girl. Can anyone tell me why the hell that girl is always a ranger, witch, or sorceress? Come on guys, really?

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Don’t even get me started on the clothing. In what universe would anyone, regardless of gender, wander out into the frozen north to fight the evil trolls wearing nothing but a chain mail bikini bottom and nipple pasties? Seriously? Tell me this industry isn’t still male dominated. Imagine, for a moment, a world where female teachers, nurses, and business women were portrayed in the mainstream media as bikini wearing sex goddesses. Imagine the outrage that would cause, and yet we still see it in the gaming world on a regular basis. Now don’t get me wrong, I like playing a strong, sexy, bad ass girl. I just don’t want them all to be airheads with giant boobs, a terrible sense of fashion, and a complete lack of common sense.

As a freelance writer specializing in games and tech, I have noticed a lot more women in the profession now than ever before. In fact, according to the Washington Post:

“The stereotype of a “gamer” — mostly young, mostly nerdy and most definitely male — has never been further from the truth. In the United States, twice as many adult women play video games as do boys..”

If that’s true then how in the world is the industry still so lopsided? I do hear a lot more of my sister’s voices in the media and see a lot more on YouTube and that fills my heart with pride. I suppose, as with most issues, that we have a log way to go. I do think we are on the right track. We just need to stick together and keep our voices unified.

I tend to make light of and poke fun at our community, but I know the struggle is real. Gamergate has opened a huge chasm and caused an enormous amount of animosity between traditionalists and the rest of us who think the gaming industry should wake up and join the rest of the 21st century. I won’t go further down that road, but if you don’t know about Gamergate or would like to know more, please read The only guide to Gamergate you will ever need to read by Caitlin Dewey. It was an ugly and frightening mess that affected me personally as a journalist in this community and still does today. Suffice it to say that this is not a one off incident, but an ongoing struggle in the battle for women’s rights that is continuing on a whole new front. Misogyny is alive and well and it’s hiding in the dark corners of the gamer culture. The only way to stamp it out is to bring it out into the light. So lets stick together ladies and keep our heads held high.

How do I get motivated when I’m working from home?!

I’ve got a bad case of the Mondays! We’ve all said it at least once or twice in our lives. Monday’s are always tough for me. It’s just so hard to get myself motivated. I feel like the sloth in this picture. Finding new ways to get motivated. especially on these kinds of days, is super important. It’s even more important if you work from home.

My day starts with a cup of coffee… or 3. Then it’s off to work, which includes a very long walk down the hall to my office. I even have to walk upstairs from the coffee pot to my comfy chair. I know, it’s a terrible life. Anyway, after my grueling morning commute, I have to start my day. I have lots to do. There are blogs to write, articles to finish, jobs to pitch, and social media to prowl. This stuff doesn’t do itself here people!

The problem is, there is so much other stuff to do too. In addition to being a freelance writer, I’m also designing a video game. It is very easy to get sucked into working on that instead of writing. The only problem is that I’m not getting paid for that. Sadly those bills are still looming out there on the horizon,so I have to get myself motivated and working in the right direction. How do I do that? Well I’m so glad you asked dear friends, because that is what I’m here to tell you today.

Please bear in mind these are just my ideas and a few of the ways I use to keep myself on track. Whether you are an online writer, author, or any other work-from-home kind of person, you have to find ways to keep from running out of steam. Here’s how I do it.

Organization is the key

I make lots of lists. Sometimes on note pads or in notebooks. The problem with these is that I can never find them again when I need them. That’s why I started using a wonderful little program called Trello, which allows me to put together a list in a visual format. Using cards that can be moved around and updated at will, I can keep a good eye on my day to day activities. It’s free and it’s collaborative, so if you work with a team it can be invaluable for keeping everyone on task.

I’ve also found another very helpful tool called — Freedcamp. It is a project management software and maybe a little overpowered for my needs, but it works wonderfully for keeping me on track. It offeres the option to create a visual style or list based project. I am quite a visual person, but for those who are not this might be a great option. This does essentially the same thing as Trello, but it does have a few more features that are especially relevant for team based projects.

Keeping things organized and easily accessible is extremely important for staying on task. Whether you like sticky notes, or software apps, just find a way to keep everything organized and things will be much easier.

Stay healthy

I tend to get lost in my work. Sometimes I forget to do the little things like eat, drink, sleep, or move around much at all. While that might be good for my work, it’s not always good for me. As tempting as is may be to just write one more page or finish one more task. I find it is best to make yourself stop and take a break at certain times of the day.

Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals. When you do take a break, also take a walk or run to the gym if that’s your thing. Even some yoga or light stretching can really help. The time away from the keyboard will keep you healthy and it will also help clear your head. I find that when I take a break it gives me an opportunity to think about what I’m writing or doing that day. When I come back I have a fresh outlook and sometimes new ideas that take my work in a whole new direction.

Connect with other humans

Working from home can be lonely. Getting out of the house and being social might seem counterproductive, especially when you have that big project due next week, but if you don’t get out of the office now and then, you won’t be much good at your job anyway. Talking to people and getting out of your comfort zone can spark creativity. It helps keep you focused more when you are in front of that computer screen.

Whether you are a creative writer or a work-at-home telemarketer, we all need to connect with other people. It keeps us sane and helps us to stay in touch with who we are. It can be very easy to lose ourselves when working from home. You tend to become your job. Believe me, I’ve found myself in my PJ’s at 1:00 AM pounding my head against a brick wall and wondering why I feel so isolated and why I’m fighting off writer’s block like it’s a bad case of the flu.

Our connection with other humans is what makes us, well… human. So do yourself a favor and don’t skip the next dinner party or family BBQ. Go. Connect. Be a better human. and save me some ribs… oh and maybe some of that yummy potato salad.

I hope this helps you stay motivated and keep on the right track. I know these tips really work for me. They might not work for everyone and that’s okay. I just hope they have given you some ideas of what you can do to keep those Monday (and everyday) blahs at bay.

 

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23661161@N02/27478290520″>sleepy sloth</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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