December 2016 Update

Hello, everyone, and happy holidays! As I write this, the sun is shining bright without a cloud in the sky… and it’s 34° F outside. My fingers are already numb after typing only that little bit, but I will press on and deliver a long overdue update.

Icarus is Coming (No, for real this time)

After a lengthy delay, I’m thrilled to confirm that my new novel, Icarus, will release on January 27, 2017. I realize this may feel like déjà vu, but I assure you that the book is finally on schedule. In fact, I’ll prove it. Feast your eyes on the official product description:

It’s the winter of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, and a teenage girl has gone missing. Local private detective Miller Brinkman takes the case, quickly uncovering a string of bizarre clues. A hidden diary, cryptic riddles, and buried secrets all pique Miller’s interest, but one key detail gives him pause: the girl’s parents haven’t reported her disappearance to the authorities.

As the case deepens, Miller’s investigation begins to poke holes in the idyllic picture of his beloved hometown. No longer certain whether anyone in his community can be trusted, Miller dives headfirst into a desperate search for the truth that extends far beyond the borders of Ashley Falls. He soon discovers that his missing persons case is not an isolated incident, but part of an otherworldly mystery—one that, if confronted, may threaten the very future of humanity.

Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you think!

What’s with the Delay?

Something that I’ve learned after working in the video game industry is that an extra few weeks can make all the difference in the world. I was ready to release Icarus over the summer, but there were a few details that weren’t resonating with readers in the way that I’d hoped.

My amazing editor put together a comprehensive list of points for me to potentially address, and I took another couple of months to do just that. I truly believe the extra time to bake has been worth it, and I’m very proud of the finished product. I’m so anxious to hear what you all think of the book!

Congratulations are in Order

Before I go, I’d like to take a moment and offer my sincerest congratulations to my good friend Tony Healey. Tony’s new novel, Hope’s Peak, released on Kindle last week, with the print version coming January 1, 2017. It’s no surprise to me that the book is already skyrocketing up Amazon’s Best-Sellers list. I was fortunate enough to read it earlier this year, and it has quickly become my favorite of Tony’s work.

To celebrate the release of Hope’s Peak, Tony is giving away 100 digital copies on Goodreads. I can’t recommend enough that you stop reading this right now and go enter!

My deepest thanks to everyone for your continued support. I wish you all the happiest of holidays, and look forward to hearing from you soon. Stay warm, and be kind to each other.

The (Bittersweet) End of an Era

All good things must come to an end. Sadly, today is my last day with EA/BioWare. After waiting nine long years for my opportunity to get here, it’s a shame to be leaving only four and a half years later. However, I know in my heart that it’s time to move on.

If you’ve ever met me, you know how much BioWare means to me. Getting to work on the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises was a dream come true, and I am so grateful for the experience. I still get misty-eyed seeing my name in the credits at the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was an honor to work with such talented people, and see up close how BioWare games get made.

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Why Go?

There are a number of reasons that factored into my decision, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to one simple truth: my job isn’t fun anymore.

In retrospect, the writing was on the wall after Canada denied my application for a work visa, and then later denied my application for permanent residence. The plan was always for me to advance my career in Edmonton, and when that didn’t happen, my options for growth within EA became extremely limited.

Although I fell short of my long-term goals, I leave the company with my head held high, incredibly proud of all that I’ve accomplished.

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Thank You

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the sharpest minds in the industry, for which I’m beyond thankful. I saw a lot of great people come and go over the years, but I’d be remiss not to call out a few specific people who contributed to my career:

Laura Miele – I’d never have gotten my foot in the company if you hadn’t opened the door. Without your support, my dream of working for BioWare might never have come to fruition. I’m honored to know you, and so happy that EA has elevated you to a position you deserve. You have a genuine passion for this industry unlike anyone else I’ve ever met.

Jarrett Lee – You took a chance on a scrappy underdog from Portland, Oregon, and I hope I proved you right. It was a privilege to learn from you. You have a keen mind for this business, and you see things on a level that’s head and shoulders above your peers.

Chris Mancil – Through thick and thin, you always had my back. My journey could’ve come to an end when my contract ran out in 2013, but thanks to your efforts, I got to hang around for another three years. Thank you for being in my corner and for pushing so hard to make room for me on the team.

Jessica Merizan – I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. You took me under your wing from day one and positioned me for success. I learned so much working with you and continued to apply those lessons long after you’d left. I wish we could’ve had more time together, but I’m so thankful for the two years we had.

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Karin Weekes – When I think about the people I’ve worked with over my 20+ year career—the people that truly had an impact on me—you stand out within a class of people at the top of the mountain. You taught me to rethink the way I write, and consider every scenario from multiple angles. Working with you has made me a better writer, and it was an honor to be edited by you.

Amanda Klesko – What would I have done without you? You kept me sane when I felt overwhelmed, and dug me out whenever I got buried. There were times I literally could not have done my job without you. If I didn’t tell you enough before, I’m telling you now: you’re a rock star, and I am forever in your debt.

The BioWare Community – EA may have signed my paychecks, but ultimately, I worked for you guys. I tried my best to ensure that you always had a good experience anytime you visited our websites and social media channels. I hope you were entertained by the content I created, and I hope you know that even when we couldn’t address every request, your voices were always heard loud and clear.

As part of the BioWare community team, I had the pleasure of attending a plethora of events and meeting so many great people. I want to thank all of you for making me feel like the work I contributed mattered. Please forgive me, as I’m sure I’m inevitably going to miss a few names, but I’d like to send extra special thanks to: Chris Priestley, Daina Friend, Ashley Barry, Karissa Barrows, Jerome Mabrey, Jackie Izawa, Geoff Blough, Kelly Bristol, Ness Shortley, Ashe (Lady Insanity), Mike Flaherty, Tyler & Jameela Cameron, Rob Simmons, Alanna Cervenak, Tamara Thrift, Amanda Sims, Lee G. (@WriteLeeWrite), Samantha Blackmon, Bryan Roces, Aenne Schumann, Grant Davis, Felicia Curth, Alli Chinn-Tupper, Allegra Clark, Bethany Westmoreland, and if you’re reading this right now, you! 🙂

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What’s Next?

After twenty years, I’m taking a break from the video games industry. At least for now. I have other avenues ahead of me that I’m very excited to explore. Cheap plug: I’ve got a Sci-Fi/Noir novel titled Icarus coming out in January 2017, which is the first book in the Noble Trilogy. I hope you’ll check it out!

Stepping away from EA will give me the opportunity to explore other passions in my life, including supporting my wife as she chases her dreams. She put them on hold so that I could chase mine, and it’s well-past time for me to return the favor.

In closing, I want to offer one last heartfelt thank you to anyone reading this. I’m excited to experience future BioWare games as a fan once again, spoiler free. I wish my extended families in Edmonton and Montreal nothing but more great success to come. I love you all, and will miss working with you very much.

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August 2016 Update

Hello once again! I hope you’ve all been enjoying a fantastic summer. For me, this year will go down as the summer of Stranger Things and Mr. Robot. If you’ve yet to partake in either of these, I can’t recommend them enough. Because staying indoors and binge-watching copious amounts of TV is what summer is for, right? 🙂

Delay

There’s nothing more frustrating than delays, whether it’s your flight to San Francisco, or twelve inches of snow that caused the vintage Castle Grayskull you bought off Ebay to get stuck in Nashville, TN. While some delays in life can be avoided, others cannot. After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to hold off the release of Icarus until January 2017.

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Icarus Concept Art by Eve F.

Why? I can say with 100-percent sincerity that this is due to a commitment to quality. I’ve revised the manuscript more times than I can count. I’ve received very positive feedback from beta readers. I could have released it this month on schedule, however, my editor has come back with recommended changes to make the book even better. At the end of the day, that’s all I want: to release the best possible book I can.

While I’m disappointed to announce the delay, it is absolutely the right decision, and I’m thrilled that the manuscript is in such capable hands. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be back to share the final cover and official description, so keep watching this space!

Odds and Ends

While I am deep into several projects, none are at a point at which I can talk about them quite yet. Icarus is currently undergoing line edits. At the same time, I’ve got another finished manuscript going through developmental editing. And while those two are baking, I’m just shy of 8,000 words into a brand new novel. Phew! I’m getting tired just thinking about all the work going on right now!

Super short and sweet update this month. The rest of 2016 promises to be extremely busy, and I look forward to sharing more information with you in the weeks ahead. Bye for now!

God Fodder: Celebrating the Album that Helped Me Overcome Bullying

One of my all-time favorite albums turned twenty-five this year: Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s “God Fodder.” This album has meant a great deal to me, and helped me through a rough period in my life. In honor of its 25th anniversary, I thought I’d share my story of how this album empowered me, and altered my course in life.

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Middle school was a difficult time for me. I was a decent enough student and had an exemplary attendance record, but I didn’t fit in where I wanted to be in the social hierarchy. I wanted to be one of the “cool kids,” and reap the benefits of being popular: lots of friends; stylish clothes; a dab of Drakkar Noir behind the ears; and something fun going on every weekend.

Alas, it was not to be. I was an overweight, nerdy kid, and had already been labeled a loser by the upper echelon. That didn’t stop me from trying, however. I wore the hottest brands from head to toe, thinking that once the cool kids saw me in familiar clothes they’d welcome me into the fold with open arms.

Instead, they mocked me and told me I wasn’t cool enough to be wearing that stuff. On a good day, they’d make pen marks on my shirts when my back was turned. On a bad day, they’d spit loogies or throw leftover food.

This treatment continued all through middle school, and when high school rolled around, I saw it as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and try again. Unfortunately, most of those same kids came with me to the new school. So, I upped the ante. I stayed current with the latest trends, hair styles, TV shows, and music, but none of it had any effect on my social status.

The bullying only intensified. The cool kids called me names, hurled insults, and slammed me into lockers. One guy even placed tacks on my chair when I got up to hand in a homework assignment. My parents went to the principal and complained—so uncool—and I was forced to turn in my bloody underwear as “evidence.” Needless to say, my path to become cool had reached its end.

Every day began and ended in tears after that. I couldn’t deal with those mean kids anymore. I thought the bullying was the worst of it, then came the panic attacks. Getting out of bed each morning was a struggle. At first I missed a few days of school here and there. Then I missed a few days every week. In 1991, crippling anxiety eventually forced me to drop out of school all together at only 14 years old.

I began homeschooling in the evenings, which left me with a lot of free time during the day. I spent the vast majority of it watching TV. I remember flipping channels one morning and a bright and colorful video on MTV caught my attention.

The lead singer looked like Mike Patton from Faith No More, so I listened because I didn’t recognize the song. Its melodic groove and crunchy guitars were super-catchy, much different than what I’d come to expect from Faith No More. I was hooked. I got lost in the music, tapping my foot and bobbing my head to the beat.

Much to my surprise, when the song ended it hadn’t been Faith No More at all. It was an MTV “Buzz Clip” from an English band called Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. The song: Grey Cell Green.

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Grey Cell Green (Official Video) from timmi x on Vimeo.

I’d been saving my allowance for a new Super Nintendo game, but Ned’s Atomic Dustbin became priority number one. I bought their album “God Fodder” and played it nonstop for weeks. They quickly became my favorite band. We didn’t have the internet back then, so to find out more about them, I bought countless issues of Spin, Rolling Stone, NME, and Melody Maker.

Not only did my love for the band deepen through feature articles and interviews, but the magazines also helped me discover more great music I’d have otherwise been unexposed to. By the end of 1991, my musical tastes had completely transformed. I’d gone from Guns N’ Roses and Bell Biv DeVoe to new favorites including The Wonderstuff, Teenage Fanclub, Lush, Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, Smashing Pumpkins, and of course, Nirvana.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that my musical preferences weren’t the only thing changing. I was maturing and finding myself. The “alternative scene” was about more than music. It was about rejecting the societal norms and celebrating individuality. Suddenly being popular and cool didn’t matter to me because it was all subjective. Who was anyone to tell me I wasn’t cool?

I returned to school in the fall of 1992 with newfound confidence. The overweight kid with coiffed hair and Body Glove t-shirts now had long, braided hair, concert tees, and ripped jeans. I didn’t worry about fitting in anymore. I’d become something far better than popular: me.

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Me (right) in ’93

Although I’ve lost a great deal of weight since then, I’m proud to say that inside this 39-year-old body is that same 15-year-old kid… and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin is still in there, too.

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Me in 2016

Happy Anniversary, “God Fodder,” and my sincerest thanks to Jonn, Rat, Mat, Alex, and Dan for creating incredible music, and helping a lost kid find himself.

July 2016 Update

Happy summer, everyone! Is it just me or are you looking tan? As for me, I’m still as pasty and freckled as ever, but I’ve somehow managed to lose six pounds… despite the glorious hot dog food cart down the hill from my house. But enough about that. Thanks so much for stopping by, and here’s a quick rundown of happenings for the month of July.

Happy Anniversary

They grow up so fast, don’t they? It’s hard to believe that Dollhouse released a year ago this month! I don’t often publish short stories a la cart, but I had an intense dream I couldn’t shake for days, and had to get it down on paper.

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In truth, Dollhouse was an experiment of sorts. My wheelhouse is sci-fi and fantasy, and I’d never dabbled too much in horror. How’d I do? You’ll have to read it and tell me. Dollhouse will be free on July 29th in celebration of its birthday.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to also thank the amazingly talented Eve F. for her super-creepy cover design. I have friends that still won’t talk to me because of it. 🙂

Icarus Preparing for Flight

Last month I talked about the impending re-release of the Noble Trilogy, starting with Icarus this summer. Since then, a few snags in the plan have slowed me down, and the first book may not arrive until late August or early September. The next two weeks will be critical in nailing down the exact time frame. So, stay tuned for more on that.

Noble Trilogy Promo Art
Art Design by Eve F.

Oh! I can tell you that I’ve partnered once again with Eve F. on the cover design for all three books, and I’m overjoyed with how they’re coming along. James McDonald did an incredible job with the originals, but the re-release needed a fresh look and Eve is nailing it! Can’t wait to show you.

New Novel in Progress

I mentioned in the June update that I was outlining my next novel, and I’m happy to report that the manuscript is now underway. Well, I’m only 3,000 words in, but every journey begins with the first step. 🙂  I’m trying a new process and have been participating in a Novels-in-Progress workshop with the truly gifted Julie Christine Johnson.

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This has provided me with structural feedback at the ground floor, and will get me back on track in real time if I drift off course. Although I still have a long road ahead, early feedback has been positive, and I feel good about the book’s direction. It’s unlike anything else I’ve written, so I’m both enjoying and loathing the challenge.

And that concludes this month’s update. I hope everyone is well. Drop me a line sometime and tell me what you’re up to. Read a great book? See a great movie? Hear a great band? Play a great game? Tell me about it!

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this little beauty from my holiday wish list…

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June 2016 Update

Will this guy ever shut up? 🙂 Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, but that’s because I’ve been soooooo busy. Like, for real. Not just something I say to explain why I never call people back. But I’m happy to have a little time to myself so I can catch you up with a few highlights.

Max & the Gang Holding Strong

I’ll kick this update off with a piece of very exciting news I received this week. My latest novel Planet of Ice has surpassed New World Order to become my best-selling book of all time. Go Max! I’d like to thank each and every one of you that took the time to read it, and I’ve really enjoyed all the great feedback you’ve given me.

Planet of Ice

Of course, Planet of Ice wouldn’t have been possible without my good friend Tony Healey passing me the baton and trusting me with his baby. So, thank you, Tony! If you haven’t yet started the Broken Stars series, I highly recommend picking up Tony’s brilliant Age of Destiny.

A Return to Ashley Falls

If you’ve been following me over the last couple of years, you may know that my writing career began in 2010 with a Sci-Fi/Noir novel titled Noble. Like most first-time writers, I made a lot of mistakes and the book wasn’t ready for publication. That said, I’ve always believed in its potential.

I’ve since workshopped the book with some very talented people, and I’m ready to give it new life after many months of hard work. While the plot remains true to the original, this is by no means the same book. This is not an HD re-master. It’s a full-on remake. Because of this, the book’s title has been changed to Icarus, and it will feature an all-new bad ass cover as well.

So, what does this mean for the rest of the Noble Trilogy? Bloodlines and New World Order are currently out of print, and this seems like a good opportunity to give them a coat of polish before a proper re-release. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to see my passion project coming to fruition!

I’m happy to report that Icarus will be released this summer, but an exact date hasn’t yet been determined. Expect to see a formal announcement in the weeks ahead!

The Rest of 2016…

Shortly after completing Planet of Ice late last year, I began work on my next novel. It may surprise you to learn that it’s neither Sci-Fi nor Fantasy, because it surprised the hell out of me. 🙂 Sometimes you just have an idea that thrashes around in your head, demanding to be let out on paper, and that’s exactly what happened to me.

The first draft is slated for developmental editing in early July, so it’s still a ways out, but I hope to tell you more about it by the end of the year.

… And Beyond

Don’t worry, it was only a temporary departure, and I’m diving right back into Sci-FI/Fantasy head first! As we speak, I’m outlining the plot for my next novel, which I expect to begin writing in the next few weeks. There’s not a lot I can tell you about this one yet, only that it’s going to be intense. Think somewhere along the lines of Spawn meets Dante’s Inferno meets Bayonetta. I wasn’t going to mention it at all since I don’t have any concrete information to share, but I also didn’t want you to think I wasn’t working. 🙂

All right, that’s a wrap for this update. Thanks so much for your continued support. It’s more appreciated than you know. See you next month!

Ask Huley #2

Hey, everyone! Welcome to the second installment of #AskHuley, where I answer your questions about writing, video games, music, and pretty much whatever else is on your mind. Keep those questions coming!

Our feature question this week comes from Flickamatuta:

What video games inspired you when you were younger to pursue a career in the industry?

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I’ve loved video games for as far back as I can remember. In some ways, the limitations of older systems forced us to use our imaginations more than we do now. Pac-Man was merely a collection of mustard-colored square pixels on my TV screen, but in my head he had arms and legs, and sprinted around 3D corridors with ghosts under each arm squirming to get away. He was a ghost hunting bad ass long before Zak Bagans! 🙂

Although this planted the seed, it wasn’t until I played Super Mario Bros. on the NES that it bloomed. Nothing had captivated me quite like Mario and Luigi, and there was no turning back. I was hooked, and played every cartridge I could get my grubby, peanut butter and jelly encrusted fingers on. I could literally go from Legend of Zelda to Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out to Tetris to Strider to Gradius to Double Dragon all in a single afternoon. Needless to say, I grew up with minimal exposure to sunlight. 🙂

As I got older, my tastes gravitated toward story-based games. In particular, Chrono Trigger stands out as a watershed moment for me. Not only was it colorful and fun to play (Active Time Battle for the win!), but it had amazing depth and memorable characters, which were things I didn’t even know I wanted in a game. From there it was a steady diet of influential classics including Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy IX, Grandia, Lunar, Thousand Arms, and countless others. Even Mortal Kombat II, believe it or not.

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All of this led me to one realization: I had to work in the games industry. Somewhere. Anywhere. So, I started my journey as a customer service rep for a specialty games retailer called Game Crazy. I worked my way up the ladder until I reached a buyer position at the corporate office, and it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. At this stage I was still pretty hooked on Phantasy Star Online, and my tastes were evolving once again… or so I thought.

Around this time, a little game called Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic hit my radar, and everything I’d ever loved about story-based games came rushing back. Not only did it have the memorable characters and fun factor near and dear to my heart, but it introduced something new: the freedom of choice. The game threw tough decisions at me: scenarios I had to put some serious thought into because they altered the story’s progression. I was in control of my characters destiny, and I liked it! This was the precise moment in which I fell head over heels in love with BioWare.

I was happy in my role as a buyer, but I still longed for something more substantial. I didn’t just want to sell games, I wanted to apply my passion and knowledge to creating them. However, I didn’t know how to write code, so I chalked it up as a pipe dream and tried to put it out of my mind. And I did, for a time, but then came Mass Effect.

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After I played Mass Effect, I was more determined than ever to pursue my dream of working for BioWare. It took everything I loved about Knights of the Old Republic, refined the concept ever further, and set it in outer space. I’ll never forget the first time I arrived at the Citadel. It was about 10:00 p.m. on a work night, and I figured I’d play for just a bit longer before going to bed. The next time I looked up at the clock, it was after 2:00 a.m., and I’d still yet to give the council my Eden Prime report. If you look up “immersion” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Mass Effect.

The games industry experienced significant growth in the late 2000s. Companies expanded and created new roles in effort to keep up with changing consumer habits. Suddenly, there were more opportunities for people to work on games who weren’t developers. It took some time and effort (and a whole lot of luck!), but I eventually made it to BioWare in July of 2012 and fulfilled a dream nine years in the making. Now after nearly four years here, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that it was absolutely worth the wait.

Our last question this week comes from KO_Rollins2K16:

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I see that you’re a huge wrestling fan, which is awesome. Who do you think wins the main event at Wrestlemania 32?

I don’t see any scenario in which Roman Reigns doesn’t win. Am I excited about that? Not really. I’ve got nothing against Roman—I think he’s got a lot going for him, and has “it” factor in spades—but he’s not connecting with the audience on the level he needs to. I don’t blame him for that, though.

I think the main reason the core WWE audience rejects him is because he feels forced upon them. WWE wants him to be the next John Cena right now instead of allowing it to happen organically. Reminds me of exactly what happened with Rocky Maivia in the late 90s. Although fans hated him at first, with a bit of work, he eventually became one of the biggest WWE superstars of all time.

So, that begs the question: how do you “fix” Roman Reigns? If I’m WWE creative, I completely repackage him and turn him heel in a meaningful, didn’t-see-that-coming sort of way. No more playing up his past with the Shield. No more coming down to the ring through the crowd. Ditch the faux-armor and army pants. Write his dialogue to sound like the most aggravating, ungrateful jerk on the roster.

For those that already hate him, you’re giving them yet another reason to boo, and he’d draw heat like few others on the roster can. Believe that.

Thanks for another round of great questions! Remember, if you’ve got a burning question for #AskHuley, here’s how to submit it. Until next time.

Ask Huley #1

Hey, everyone! Thanks for joining me for the first ever edition of #AskHuley, and thank you for submitting your questions. I’m excited to jump right in, so away we go!

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Our first question this week comes from Natalie:

I’ve been a follower of yours for some time now, and you’re a really lovely person with an admirable dedication to your work – especially writing. My dream is to one day become an editor at BioWare (or writer, but I prefer the editing process!), and I’ve been thinking that perhaps a good way to work my way up is to start at QA, or become a Community Manager — which seems like an awesome job that allows one to flex and hone their writing skills.

My question is: do you have some advice for becoming a Community Manager? I’ve started a blog to write journalistic articles (reviews, analyzations, op-eds, anything and everything) and am participating on forums and community blogs to engage with different communities and people, but I don’t know where to really go from there. I guess I’m just a bit stuck at the part where you know what you want to do, but don’t know exactly how to get there.

Aww, thanks so much for the kind words, Natalie! I appreciate that more than you know. I have some thoughts about your question, but first I’d like to share the same piece of advice given to me when I started out, and that is to never look at any job as a foot in the door. The reason is because you could be in that position for a long time while waiting for your dream opportunity to open up, and if you start to feel stuck in your role, it will take a toll on you and affect your job performance. That’s not fair to you or your employer.

Instead, identify your end goal and put yourself on a path to get there. In the case of writing and editing, be on the lookout for assistant, associate, or sometimes even intern positions. Most people aren’t able to start at a studio like BioWare (especially if you’re not already living in Canada), so I’d recommend looking for jobs at smaller companies to gain some experience, build your resume, and hone your craft. It doesn’t even have to be a video game company. Any experience is worth its weight in gold. Gain a reputation as an extraordinary editor, and you’ll stand out among other applicants.

Another key component to getting where you want to be is through networking. Thanks to social media, access to professionals in your field of interest is literally at your fingertips. On the BioWare side, Karin Weekes, Ben Gelinas, and Cameron Harris are all very active on Twitter, and are three of the most amazing editors I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.

One thing I can tell you from experience is that while not impossible, it’s very hard to transition from community management to writing and editing. I’d recommend pursuing community management only if that’s a field you want to be in for at least the next five years. Community management opens many career paths to explore, but not typically in development. Again, not impossible, just way more challenging.

Best of luck, Natalie, and thanks for the great question! Feel free to hit me up anytime if you’d like to talk about this some more.

Our next question comes from Sartoz:

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Well, #AskHuley, since your bio has said nothing about ME:A, there is no point attempting to ask questions about the game. So, why even bother to make the effort to communicate with the fans? So, I will ask a non ME:A question: what is your function and responsibilities?

I appreciate how excited you are to learn more about Mass Effect: Andromeda (and believe me, we’re excited to talk about it), but since this is my personal website, I’m afraid I can’t disclose any new information about it. I can tell you that we’re hard at work on it, and that we’ll definitely have more to say about the game later this year, but stay tuned to EA/BioWare’s official channels for breaking news.

As for why I’d bother to make an effort to communicate with the fans, it’s important to note that I have many interests and activities that extend beyond my day job at BioWare, as I’m sure our fans do as well. I’m a published author, I’m passionate about many forms of entertainment, and I’m a firm believer in two-way communication. I mean, we can talk about anything under the sun, so why not?

As it relates to my function and responsibilities, I’m the content manager for BioWare Canada, which means I get to work on great franchises such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. In some ways, my role is similar to that of a managing editor for a newspaper or magazine. I work with many teams across EA and BioWare to create content for social and web that is hopefully informative and entertaining, whether we’re announcing a new game feature or debuting a t-shirt design in the BioWare store.

Even when we’re in-between releases (like right now), the show must go on, and I’m always hard at work trying to come up with new and interesting things to keep the conversation going. But my job isn’t just about talking, it’s about listening, which is even more important, in my opinion. We’re not just a company that sells products. We’re a company that strives to make our players feel like a part of the overall experience, and we evolve through your feedback. So, keep it coming!

Our last question this week comes from Derek:

Making-a-Murderer

Dear #AskHuley, I only have one question for you: did Steven Avery do it?

Oh, man. I can tell you one thing, I’m glad I wasn’t on that jury! It’s difficult to try and answer this question without spoilers, so for those that haven’t yet seen Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” I highly recommend it. Regardless, I’m going to do my best not to disclose anything vital.

If you’ve ever read any of my work, then you know how much I love a good conspiracy theory. The trouble is, this is very real, and is an extremely heartbreaking story for everyone involved. I think Steven’s lawyers presented a compelling defense, and if true, then it speaks volumes to the level of corruption within our judicial system. It’s not just infuriating, it’s terrifying.

Can I say with all certainty that he’s innocent? No. However, I believe there’s more than enough evidence to suggest reasonable doubt, and he should be entitled to a retrial far away from Manitowoc County. If he is innocent, I just hope the truth comes out before his entire life is stolen.

Well, hey, this was fun and these were great questions! Thanks again for submitting, and if I didn’t get to yours this time, stay tuned. If you’d like to submit questions for a future edition of #AskHuley, please do so! Here’s how.

Introducing #AskHuley

I receive so many great questions on social media, but often feel that I can’t provide adequate answers in 140 characters or less. So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Today I am pleased to announce the creation of #AskHuley, a weekly blog post dedicated to questions submitted by my wonderful friends around the world.

Ask Huley

What type of questions will I answer? I’m happy to talk about whatever strikes your fancy. Want to discuss writing and/or publishing? Curious about community management or life at EA/BioWare? Want to exchange thoughts about the current state of video games, music, film and TV, or WWE/NXT? Or maybe you just have general questions about yours truly. Whatever it is, hit me up, and I’ll always give you the most honest answer I’m capable of.

DISCLAIMER: Although no topic of conversation is off limits, from time to time I get asked questions about sensitive areas that I’m not at liberty to discuss. For example, if EA/BioWare has yet to make an official announcement about something, please understand that I won’t be breaking any news here.

If you’d like to submit questions to #AskHuley, please select one of these three options:

  1. Tweet me using the hashtag #AskHuley
  2. Leave your question in the comments section of this post
  3. Email hulegaardbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

I look forward to chatting with you soon!

Planet of Ice Available Now

It’s here! It’s here! No, not the new phone books – Planet of Ice! Collaborating with the great mind of Tony Healey on this novel was definitely a highlight of my young literary career, and I hope that you’ll enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Planet of Ice

If you’re new to the Broken Stars series, be sure to check out book one: Age of Destiny. See how Max’s exhilarating adventure across the galaxy began, and how it sets up what’s to come in Planet of Ice.

New Book 1 Cover

I always love to hear what readers think, so if you’d be so kind as to leave a review, I’d appreciate it very much! Thank you for your continued support. There’s more to come in 2016!