Players of the Game Character Spotlight: Ricardo Alterv

Ricardo Alterv can’t take the stress anymore.

He’s been a member of Ashe Stelfire’s partnership for years.  The money has been good.  The team respects his talents with guns.  His family heirloom, the Alterv Gun, fires burning bullets that can penetrate the advanced armor and the hard flesh of Demons.  The revolver never runs out of ammo.

The same cannot be said of Ricardo’s nerve.  With each horror he faces on the partnership’s fortune hunting raids, the more his nerve frays.

The latest incursion into an ancient and sentient forest portends nothing good.  Especially the bipedal Lizard lurking within it.

Ricardo needs to retire.  But he fears to consider a big question.

Will Ashe let him?

James McGowan Reader Group- Ultimate!


A few months back, I chronicled the glory of my bar trivia team, Beerpaw.  This is not the only group that I’ve rejoined with the worst of the pandemic behind us.  My pickup Ultimate Frisbee group again resumed its casual night.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Ultimate Frisbee, it’s kind of a mix of basketball where each defender covers someone, or plays zone defense against small passes of the offense, and American football where you can also throw the frisbee way down the field like a quarterback to a receiver in a rectangular end zone.  You also do a “kick off” after each point where you either yell “Ulitimate!” and/or the score and throw it to the other team.

Or you just say 2-2, no matter what the score is.  That’s an ongoing joke with one of my good friends.  (Hi, Dave!)

I usually tell people it’s like playing frisbee with a dog and you’re the dog.  I’m always drenched in sweat after I play, which is exactly what I want.  It’s fantastic exercise.

I’ve been playing with this group since 2007.  Originally, we played one night a week.  However, it eventually proved popular enough to expand to a second night that gradually became for the people with kids and older/slower people sub-group.

I am firmly and proudly in the latter group.

And it contracted to just one night per week with the higher octane group for a few years during the worst of the pandemic.  Until this past spring.

And how did I do after a 3 season gap?

Not terrible!  Which is a win as far as I’m concerned.  Minimal soreness and stiffness mixed with maximum fun.

I LOVE that we’ve been able to get back at the disc flinging.

I not only go for the cardio, but it’s also a great excuse to see a bunch of friends I wouldn’t get to see as often otherwise.

We stop on or around when we lose daylight saving time, so the season’s coming to an end.

But I have faith that the casual pickup Ultimate Frisbee group will return with all things green next spring.
Players of the Game Works in Progress
This past month had a longer than expected session of pasting the Game War’s first draft from Word into Scrivener.  And something interesting took up a good deal of my time.

I discovered I needed to summarize the chapters in each chapter folder, which became a second, far more defined outline.

With that done, I’ve edited the first three chapters, and am working on a brand new fourth.  Some of the formatting in Scrivener is hinky compared to Word, especially with tabs.  Scrivener’s value is the ability to shuffle sections around, so my anticipation is that I’ll mainly use it for second and possibly third drafts.

As far as productivity tracking goes with the second draft, I’m going to try going with the total chapters edited or written.  It’s a little more qualitative than quantitative, but I think it might work.

So 3.5 chapters for this month.

PLUS: I’ve started working with a third artist with the handle of Moonarc.  They did the illustration of Ricardo Alterv, and I’ll be rotating their art on future newsletters.  Check out their stuff on Deviantart.  It’s nifty.

Players of the Game Out of Context Quote of the Month:

Hekati gestured to the circular opening. “Cheaters first.”

Corsis winked at her. “Don’t mind if I do.”
Recommendation Corner
The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

Of the three Claire North sci-fi fantasy books I’ve read thus far, this one is the most melancholic and tragic.

The main character, Hope, has a condition that makes everyone she encounters to forget her after she departs from sight and sound.  Kind of an inverse Memento where everyone is like Guy Pierce when they interact with her.

This includes her parents when she was a teenager.  The scenes depicting this were both subtle and heartbreaking.

Hope becomes a thief because much of any legitimate career requires other people to remember her.  To build trust.  In the absence of trust, she’s able to steal valuables with impunity.

Jewels in particular.

And following a theft royal jewelry at a posh party, this brings her into the crosshairs of the host organization, a company behind a dystopian app called Perfection that encourages people to become more “perfect”.  A company that will go to great lengths to silence those who don’t agree with their shallow definition of the term.

Including a thief no one can remember.

Compelling stuff.

Arcadian Atlas

I do love me a good tactics video game.

And this one pushes many of my buttons.

It’s a pretty standard JRPG style game where there’s political intrigue that soon gets side tracked by magical forces that are unleashed by short-sighted warring factions. The main characters get caught up in the middle of it, and find that no side can be trusted.

I’ll admit that the user interface could have used a few more layers of paint.  The inability to rotate the screen to click on a character that’s clumped up with a bunch of other characters is vexing.

However, the Final Fantasy Tactics vibe with the character designs, the strangely chill jazz music, and Poncho the racoon make it fun for me.

All media is improved by the inclusion of a racoon.  It is immutable fact.

And I also enjoy this game despite its UI flaws.
Check Out the Players of the Game Series on eBook and Paperback
That’s all for this time.

Stay smart.  Stay safe.


Click here to view the original format.