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I've been steadfastly applying for jobs, from filing clerk to technical writer, and from game designer to receptionist. I've had a few interviews (okay, two, and one of them was the one in Georgia with White Wolf in April) but it's not from lack of trying. I estimate I've turned in several hundred applications in the last three months... it's just a bear of a market out there, and searching for work outside of the area adds another layer of complexity to the equation.

I've gotten a few "decided to interview applicants with experience that more specifically meets our needs" letters, both via email and the post. And more than a few scam responses (which I used to fuel an article that I'm currently trying to find a home for. If you have any ideas on what sort of publication (other than Wired, which is my first choice) could use an informative article on OSCARS (online scam artists) who are targetting job-seekers on the internet, let me know...)

Most applications, however, disappear into the great unemployed abyss that job-seekers are all so very familiar with. It's a dead zone that consumes applications, resumes and cover letters with a voracious hunger the likes of which has never been seen outside of a Golden Corral on Sunday afternoon.

I did, however get a response from a game company in the UK yesterday, however. It sent me to do a three-part online test, to judge my creativity, ease in describing game mechanics, and ability with pseudocoding. The creativity and game mechanics parts weren't intimidating to me at all, but to be honest, I'd never even heard the word psuedocoding before. Being the good little technoboggan that I am, however, I did some research and I don't feel entirely bad about the entry I submitted. (Like the creativity and game mechanics portions, it was a 30 minute test, and I turned in what I think is a good (for a non-programmer) aproximation of a pseudocode that fit the criteria. It's been way too long since my one coding class in college.

For your amusement, however, here's my entry for the game mechanics portion. I was given 30 minutes to describe the game mechanics of ... Rock, Paper, Scissors... I guess all those years playing OWOD Camarilla LARP came in handy after all!


Roshambo you for the job! )
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The Fabulous Lorraine(who, along with Emma Bull, was half of the Flash Girls, and is the current assistant to the infamous Neil Gaiman) has been befriended by an abandoned mama kitty and the three survivors of her litter. She's taking care of them, along with her five Bengals who are long-time members of her family.

She's putting out a tip jar to raise money for spaying the mama, who she has named Hope. 

Details and how to donate here: 

Donate because you love kitties.
Donate because you love The Fabulous Lorraine.
Donate because you love The Flash Girls.
Donate because you think it will impress Neil (who has already donated generously.)
Donate because I demand it! (okay, well, I don't imagine that one will carry a lot of weight, but you can't blame a girl for trying!)

I just put together my donation. It made me feel far better than that tenner would have done spent at McBurgerShack or on some magazine I'd read once and toss.  I feel awesome (which is saying something, as those of you who have been following my job search well know).

Don't you deserve to feel this good too?

Go on... Donate... You know you want to...

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Thanks to the generous Miss Lili, I am now on Dreamwidth... But does anyone know if there's some way to auto link posts there and here?
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Blatantly stolen from [profile] matt_m_mcelroy  - My first fiction anthology!
People often say that there are no such things as monsters. They are wrong. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other unnamable horrors co-exist with us. Watching us. Using us. Preying upon us.

Welcome to Pinebox, a sleepy little East Texas town with a lot more than its share of trouble. Whether it's the haunted diner luring weary travelers, the unexplained 'alligator attacks", or the crone who just might be hexing neighborhood kids, trouble always seems to be hidden just below the surface. Buried, but not forgotten.

This collection includes horror fiction from:

* Jason L Blair
* Preston P. DuBose
* Trey Gorden
* Derek Gunn
* Jess Hartley
* Shane Lacy Hensley
* Charles Rice
* Monica Valentinelli
* David Wellington
* Ed Wetterman
* J.D. Wiker
* Filamena Young

Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas is now available in eBook format at for only $4.99.

Order a print book at Midnight Cellar or

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Some days it's difficult to keep looking at things in a positive manner. I mean, I try. I really do. I tend to be the "Well, if something bad happens, it could have been worse..." or "Maybe there's an up side to this..." I try to not let negative stuff get me down, and for the most part, I succeed.

Today, I'm having a bit of trouble.

I've been turning in 5-20 job applications a day, every day, for the past month. I've been job searching a bit less seriously for three months now, including a 2+ month period where I was keeping my eye out, but was mostly waiting to hear back on the position with White Wolf (because all the feedback I'd been given was very positive). I would estimate I've sent out something close to 300 applications, mostly either in the gaming industry or in the Phoenix area, over the last few months.

I've been to two job interviews and had one job offer. I have heard nothing from one interview (despite polite follow-up emails that have gone unanswered), been turned down for the other, and ... wait for it... you know it's coming...

Today, I was informed (very apologetically) that the Office Manager position I'd been offered in Phoenix had been given to another person. Now, i understand the company (a small real estate office) was doing right by "one of theirs". A dear friend of their family, who also works in the field, lost their job, and the couple felt like they really needed to support their "clan" by hiring her. I am all for taking care of your people. But it means that I'm once again back to step one on the job search.

I'm really trying to keep my spirits up, and keep looking on the sunny side. I am.

It's just a little cloudy around here today.

But I've got out my binoculars, and I'm on the look out for stray rays.
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Thanks to the immediacy of Twitter and FaceBook feed thereof, most of you probably already heard my not-so-great news.

Back in April, I interviewed with White Wolf, for a full time, in-house position with the company. 

Last week, I was told they'd decided to go with someone with more (to be read as any) video game experience than I have. I am, of course, disappointed. I would have loved to have been a part of the in-house team and been able to dedicate my creative efforts 100% towards some of the very exciting projects going on out there in Stone Mountain.

However, I'm not going to waste any time being upset about it. The company made the decision they felt was best for their projects at hand, and I can't fault them for that. I'm still planning on doing as much freelance work for them as they'll send my way (and as I can make time for with the job search and/or taking a full time day job again.) The folks who interviewed me were very kind and supportive, and I hope the candidate they did choose integrates well into the team and really works out well for them.

Since it's getting down to the wire for me to find work before The Valkyrie needs to be in place for next year's high school, I'm redoubling my efforts on tech writing/administrative assistant/receptionist/office management type work while continuing to attempt to spend any spare time I have on honing some of the skills that might come in handy for future work in the game industry. (Thus the recent posts about the Neverwinter Nights toolset. It's easily accessible, and has a lot of tutorials available, so I figured it was a good starting spot for toolset education.)

Anyway, that's my not-so-new-news, provided here for the benefit of those who might not follow me on Twitter or Facebook (I'm jesshartley on both, btw.)
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Today was full of win.

The Viking and the Valkyrie and Anubis and I all got up early and headed out on a road trip. We stopped by Safeway for drinks and grapes and granola bars, and then headed out toward Patagonia. We went to the lake for a while, but were pretty disgusted by all the litter and trash laying around, so we hopped back in the Xterra and headed off for the boonies. We drove out through some old ranch land, out through the San Rafael valley, around through the Coronado National Monument park and then eventually back home.

Did you know that the San Rafael Valley is where the first European traveled west of the Rockies? 1580s, I believe. Middle Ages... I was impressed.

We saw a lot of awesome wildlife, including a coyote (unusual out in the middle of the hot day), a bunch of deer, a small flock of wild turkeys, some ground squirrels, a ton of tiny little trout fingerlings in one of the creek beds we stopped to wander down, and a variety of jays, hawks, ravens and vultures. It was a really great day.

When we got home this afternoon, I started working more with the Aurora Neverwinter Nights toolset, and managed to finish creating all of the "backdrop" for the plot I'm putting together on it. I built multiple Areas, including interiors of nearly a dozen houses/barns/caves, and three different "zones" (A village and two seperate forest zones). I learned how to create spawnable encounters triggered by a PC walking through a certain area, and how to customize those encounters and the creatures within them. When I couldn't get the system to do what I wanted it to as-is (have the rats the PC killed drop treasure) I figured out a stable go-around and made it work.

Tomorrow, along with laundry and house-cleaning, I plan on creating the NPCs to populate my storyline and start drafting the conversation trees that will allow the PC to navigate the (of course, all together too complex for a first attempt) quest. It's a twist on the Pied Piper tale, called "To Pay The Piper", and I'm really pleased with how it's turning out, so far. We'll see if I say the same thing once I dive into the conversational scripting tomorrow. :)
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Stolen from [ profile] eeknight - It takes the titles of your LJ posts and uses them as LOLcat captions.

Here's some of mine:

I especially like the one with the little kitties and the TP.

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A dear friend of mine was co-editor of what appears to be a FANTASTIC new anthlogy coming out. This is a must for all my Pacific NW friends. We've all seen, heard of or visited Grants Pass, Oregon... What drives these individuals towards it, after the world ends?

The apocalypse has arrived. Humanity was decimated by bio-terrorism; three engineered plagues were let loose on the world. Barely anyone has survived. Just a year before the collapse, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA, was publicly labeled as a place of sanctuary in a whimsical online, “what if” post. Now, it has become one of the last known refuges, and the hope, of mankind. Would you go to Grants Pass based on the words of someone you’ve never met?

You can pre-order the Grants Pass Anthology here.

Check out the Trailer:

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Dear friends, fans and family,

I've been feeling a bit ineffective of late. As many of you may know, we decided a few months ago that our local school district was inadequate for our desires and needs for our daughter. Since we're partially tied to the Bisbee area, but there aren't any A+ high schools within a commutable distance from here, we made the difficult decision to bi-locate our household. The Valkyrie and I would move to another area, specifically to place her in a premiere high school, while the Viking would hold down the fort here with the house and his (very good) job.

Since this will require she and I to set up household in a new location, however, we realize that this will require my returning to full-time work. I've been searching for about two months now, and have only had a single callback or interview (for a position that the company now says may not be filled in the foreseeable future.) I'm sure that my job history (featuring predominantly freelance writing work over the last 5 years) is unconventional enough to be negative for some employers, and it's just a general hard-market out there for anyone, especially in fields like customer service, office work or writing/editing. Still, after applying to hundreds of locations around the country, it's getting a bit disheartening.

But, I've always said that my greatest strength is the people that surround me, so I've decided to call upon that strength now. If you know of (or hear about) a position opening that you think I'd be well suited for, please let me know. Along with 5+ years of game writing and development, I type 75 words per minute with 100% accuracy, have expert level experience with Microsoft Word, am a charming and professional receptionist/administrative assistant, and have experience in office support/management in the fields of real estate, higher education, and patient accounts. I would love a position that involved writing or editing, but I'll answer phones, file, make copies - I'm very flexible.

My needs are fairly simple - full time work, predominantly weekday/daytime (although I can swing occasional weekend/evening work, I can't take those schedules on full-time.) Pay rates of 12.00 an hour or more (depending on distance from Arizona and/or cost of living in that area), benefits negotiable depending on situation. It has to be in an area I can afford to live in (which probably leaves NYC and LA out of the question) and which has great schools for the Valkyrie (but I can research that on a location by location basis.)

I know it's a horrible time for job-searching, but I figured if I didn't let the universe know, I wasn't taking full advantage of my resources. Thanks for listening!
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Some of you may remember this little miniature painting which I had seen and covetted a few weeks ago...

Guess what arrived in my mail this week? The Viking noted my desire and, as he is wont to do, catered to it.

I am so blessed to have a man who not only listens and cares about what makes my heart happy, but also will go out of his way to achieve it.

What a wonderful partner. I am truly grateful for his presence in my life. He's such a sweet man, and I am wholly thankful that our paths have wandered through the same valleys, mountains, forests and deserts for the last 20 years.

(The painting really is every bit as gorgeous in real life as it was in the photos. Many Kudos to Kitsune Creations for the beautiful work. Buy their stuff when they come back from vacation.)
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Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas is a fiction anthology set in (of course) Pinebox, Texas - "a sleepy little East Texas town with a lot more than its share of trouble." My story, Stigmatized Property, is a part of this collection.

Check out the sneak preview (free download including the editor's introduction and Jennifer Ridge Transcripts) here:

And, get a peek at some of what's inside (including an audio sample) here:

This is my first non-White Wolf project in quite a while, and I'm looking forward to seeing it hit the shelves.
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visited 24 states (48%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

I'm amused. You can kind of see the path we took cross country to get from Massachusetts to Arizona, plus a couple of side trips (Georgia, Minnesota (airport only), Tennessee, etc)
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The episode of The Splendid Table that I called into about Marmot cooking is up at It's this week's episode (May 2nd).

My question starts at around 41:08, although I would recommend listening to the whole issue, because Lynn is fantastic and charming, as always!
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I will be on this week's episode of Splendid Table (That's Saturday, May 2nd's episode). It's just a little call-in question at the end of the show, but I'm excited. It's about the Marmot recipe, for those with an interest in things Mongolian or medieval.

Lynn was intrigued and charming as always, and it was a real joy to speak with her!

I'll post a link after the show airs on Saturday, for those who are interested.

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Nothing terribly new to report, so I haven't been updating much.

Still no real word on the job front. I'm going to start my search again in the Phoenix and Pacific NW areas on next Monday if I haven't heard anything before that.

I've had a lot of nervous energy of late, so I cleaned my home office.

Pat and I have the roof about 1/3 done, and hope to finish it up over the next few weekends. My folks are coming out this weekend from Yuma, so I don't know how much work we'll get done. I love seeing them, and don't make time to do so nearly often enough.

Autumn's doing great - anxiously awaiting the end of the school year here in a little over a month. She's branching out and experimenting with a lot of new manga, and her art styles are growing accordingly.

I got 4 mahjongs today at my Tuesday morning mah jong group! I'm usually lucky to get one or two.

Anubis' hips are hurting him again. We think it's either arthritis or hip dysplasia, so I'm taking him over to get a second opinion. The local vet wanted to do a tendon-clipping surgery that was the norm for treating hip dysplasia several decades ago, but which my research has turned up to be mostly considered "archaic" by modern vets. He's the doc who treated Pat's dogs when he lived here in high school almost thirty years ago, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I'm hoping we can get some supplements/anti-inflamitories to help him without needing to resort to surgery right away.

And, with that, I'm off!

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Well, our Secret Identity podcast, anyway...

At I-Con, I was interviewed by Max at Secret Identity podcast - The interview is now up:
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Collection of Horrors made number two on the RPG Countdown this week. Ed Healy interviewed me briefly about my contribution, No Escape.


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