My WoW activities have been rather restricted for a while, but slowly time is coming back. First off:
After completing my Blizzard contest entry I went to my writing workshop, a very special workshop given for free to a select group of candidates. As I mentioned in February, I had placed first in the quarterly Writers of the Future competition, which earned me publication in the annual anthology and a trip to a weeklong writing workshop intended for budding professionals. The workshop was taught by Tim Powers (whose current claim to fame is being the author of On Strange Tides, which is being adapted for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie) and K.D. Wentworth, one of the previous winners and a novelist in her own right.
It was needless to say a fantastic week, well worth the price of admission (which seriously was the postage it took for me to mail in my contest entry). If any readers are budding fantasy and science fiction writers, the WotF competition is now taking electronic submissions. It doesn't get easier than that!
They go international as well. This year's crop of twelve winners (1st-3rd place from the four quarters of the 2009 contest year) had one from Ireland, one from the UK, and one from Australia. The rest were from the US.
Since I'd placed first, this meant I was in the running for the grand prize, which I... somehow... managed to win... The Gold Award was given to me at the award ceremony at the end of the week.
So, it was a good week for me. Very busy. No WoW that week. But a good week. It's weird to be on a first name basis with writers you've only heard about before, or whose works you've read, and find out that they're very interested in helping new writers get in the field. Mike Resnick sent me a message on Facebook, encouraging me to keep writing, after the competition. That's the kind of attention and involvement these folks give you.
After coming back, I rolled into my guild's raid schedule, they missed me, and administrating the guild took about all the free time I had because I was also busy setting up another blog for my writing, another Twitter for my writing, and a Facebook page for my writing. And then, of course, there was the writing itself.
I now write no less than 500 words a day, everyday, without fail. If I come home late and it's 1am, I write. Unless there are complications because of raid time, I make sure I get my writing done before I spend any time gaming. And surprisingly, it's working. I've written over 10,000 words since coming home from the workshop, and I'm still finding time to raid, attend my weekly game nights, and manage a full time job that is currently giving me a lot of overtime. After the initial rush to get all my new sites set up, my free time is coming back to me.
But I do not play as much WoW. It's maybe an hour less on the non-raid nights I still play.
I'm still keeping up with Cataclysm info, though I'm trying to avoid most plot related spoilers. I log on Hana and Gillien 4-5 nights a week to check in with the guild. Darkker is largely on hiatus. I have no time for her at the moment. Most of what alt time I have is currently taken up by my level 70 warlock, which is being leveled to join a group of coworkers in ICC (not sure if I'll get there before Cata!).
And let me say that not being able to queue as a tank or a healer is horrible for someone used to queuing as one or the other (or taking a guild tank). Having access to tank and healer specs for daily heroics has made me entirely too spoiled. Last night I got on Gillien to do the Brewfest boss, decided I didn't want to wait 2 minutes as a healer, so I flopped specs, Divine Plea-ed while in holy gear to get all my mana back, put on my tanking gear, and requeued. Instant success. Go tanking.
I also ended up tanking heroic Lich King on my druid last night!
All our previous attempts we just wouldn't try it without both our usual MT and OT present, but our MT for the LK fight, our bear, had horrible latency issues last night and couldn't stay connected. Just when we were about to give up on being able to run at all, one of our non-raiders showed up (fantastic player, just unable to regularly make the raid nights) and that let our disc priest swap to his mage and I swapped specs to bear. My bear set is almost as good as our MT's now so we made a go of it.
We had all kinds of sloppiness and only made it to 60% last night, but at least we got a night of attempts in, and I can safely say I make a decent stand-in for our regular LK tank.
If you're interested in following my writing, my new writing blog is The Rat's Den. It will not follow a regular publishing schedule and probably will not talk much about WoW, since it will mainly discuss my writing or my thoughts on writing. I think there may be a fair chance of general anime or video game posts though since those are what got me into writing.
As for the story that actually won, the paperback version of the anthology can be pre-ordered on Amazon. There is also a Kindle version as well, and I think the Kindle one may already be available (it doesn't say pre-order).