It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left without word. Can you ever forgive me?

If you’re still reading, perhaps you have. Maybe you’ve put aside the long wait for this post and wait instead to hear what has been going on in my life. For that, dear reader, I appreciate your patience and would reward you with cookies if the internet had the ability to send real baked-goods thru wifi. But sadly, since I can’t email a brownie, I’ll just give you the low-down on the world as according to me.

Life has exploded exponentially lately. I was accepted earlier this year into the NYU Game Center MFA program for Game Design for it’s inaugural class. For those of you not familiar, Tisch School of the Arts within NYU has a program that studies games of all kinds. It’s built around the Game Center, which is its library of games that students can come in and play as part of an ongoing project to study games as a growing media and job market. This year was the first time they expanded the program to include a graduate program and yours truly was accepted. I’m humbled and ultimately boggled by the fact that I’m studying under amazing teachers like Jesper Juul, Eric Zimmerman, Katherine Isbister and the head of department, Frank Lantz. I applied on a wing and a prayer and now I’m studying game design and theory at one of the best schools in the world! For a while it was hard for me to fathom – the whole thing felt very surreal.

Then school started and surreal disappeared when the work-load began. Graduate school is, no joke, probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had educationally. The work load is pretty intense and, along with the other projects I’m working on, keep me very busy. But I’m designing some great games with some amazing people, all to make me a better designer for my future career, so how can I complain? I’ve met some amazing fellow students so far and we’ve jumped head-first into the work. Already we wrote a kind of cracked-out version of the card game war called WarSlayerz (the Z is very important) and I’m learning how to work on digital games via platforms like GameMaker and Unity. The digital aspect of the program is the most daunting for me, as I’ve never done computer programming at all in my life, and I’m struggling to grok a completely different language to translate game design ideas into little digital dudes. I’m also making sure to rep pretty hard the wonderful world of analog gaming, especially the live action role-play community and their importance as an evolving international media. I’ve been up, burning the midnight oil to do all my work and my other projects outside of school.

Speaking of those other projects, I’m still blogging over at Tor.com even though my posts have slowed down distinctly. GenCon rolled right into a LARP weekend and then into orientation and graduate school, which effectively tore through my writing schedule. I’ve recently taken on reviewing NBC’s newest post-apoc show Revolution for Tor.com and I’ve got a few more posts coming out. I enjoy working for Tor.com so much and the chance to do review and criticism is something I don’t want to give up while going through school. There might, however, be a wee slow down from the posting schedule I had before.

That’s also because, outside of the Game Center, I’m working hard at developing my tabletop RPG game Wanderlust. In the coming weeks there will be more information about it, including the launch of my company Phoenix Outlaw Production’s website, the exciting announcement of new talent being added to our company’s team, and even a schedule of publication and (hopefully) our Kickstarter. We’ll have a Facebook page all set up for updates too that’ll get put up here with commentary from my partner in crime Josh Harrison and more articles here about how things are going development-wise for the game. I believe it’s important to keep folks in the loop about how a game dev is going so they can see the process from the bottom up, and I’m excited as hell to share the development of this game with you. I’m working with a fantastic editor as well in John Adamus and he’s been fabulous at helping me turn this book into a space-epic reality.

I also recently broke through one of my most challenging fears by completing and submitting a short story to an anthology (which I’ll be writing about in a future post). That plus some other freelance work, my storytelling for Dystopia Rising New Jersey and preparation for Double Exposure’s Metatopia convention has kept me busy. When do I sleep? Let’s just say the last few weeks has been full of Red Eyes (lots of espresso!) and power naps.

So that’s the lay of the land, sports fans. I’m working hard to produce what writing I can in both the game design field and in plain creative writing. But I don’t want to forget that I have this blog too and it’s chock full of space for commentary and articles I want to put together too. In the upcoming weeks you’ll hear more about lots of nerdy things, including stuff I’ve read that is keeping me sane throughout the hectic work weeks and some views on writing too. Meanwhile, I’m staring down a pile of work with my name on it so I’m signing off.

Until next time, writers and gamers and geeks out there – don’t let the man get you down. Or the beagle. Those beagles are deceptively shifty.

It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog. I say that a lot. I’m not going to be saying it much anymore.

Welcome to the relaunch of Wisdom in Silence, my writing blog. You can tell it’s no longer called that. Now, it’s just straight up called Shoshana Kessock. That’s me. From now on, this is going to be my blog about being a freelance writer, game designer and geek girl. I’m going to talk here about what it’s like chasing the dream of publishing in the role-playing industry. I’m going to talk about my experience being accepted into the NYU Grad program in Game Design. I’m going to talk about facing down chronic illness while still trying to publish and deal with school. I’m going to talk about the geek world at large. This is going to be my journey and I’m putting it out here for those who want to read it.

But why, you ask? Why would anyone want to read about this kind of struggle? Well, I’ll tell you, I don’t know for certain that people will. I know that I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. And I find myself answering a lot of the same questions over and over. What projects are you working on? How’s it going? What’s the update on such-and-such? What do you think about this? So here’s a place where it’s all going to go. Here’s the start:

I’m Shoshana Kessock. I’m twenty-nine. I’m starting graduate school at NYU for game design in a matter of weeks. I’m the creator of Phoenix Outlaw Productions, an independent gaming company out to publish and produce quality game products for the world at large. I run the company with my business partner, Josh Harrison. You’ll hear more about all that in future posts. I’m also writing my first gaming book through Phoenix Outlaw Productions. Some folks may have heard of it from me: it’s called Wanderlust and I’m excited to talk more about it’s development.

I also work freelance as a writer and copy editor for Eschaton Media, which publishes the Dystopia Rising tabletop role-playing book and other products. When I’m not doing that, I’m a full-time staffer on the Dystopia Rising Live-Action Role-Play game out in Sparta, New Jersey. I’m also a freelance blogger who writes for Tor.com where I cover comics, LARP, film and various geekery. When I’m not doing all that, I’m writing a novel as well that I’m three quarters of the way finished with and I’m dedicated to getting published. In between, I spend time with my friends, write short stories, live in Brooklyn, read tarot cards and a mountain of books whenever I can. I am also currently trying to learn to play the harmonica. Because harmonicas are cool.

What I’ve been up to lately includes getting ready for graduate school, making some new friends at Dexcon 2012 (updates for that to come) and got myself picked up to go staff at GenCon 2012 in just a few weeks. I will be attending as part of the staff for First Exposure, the independent gaming play test track run by the staff of Double Exposure. I’m excited for the prospect of play testing what I’ve got for my Wanderlust game at that convention just before school starts, and I’m also excited about a couple of projects that I can’t talk about just yet that are on the horizon.

That’s my life. That’s what you’ll be hearing more about. In between I’ll be posting some Flash Fiction challenges from the glorious Chuck Wendig’s blog (because his challenges make my inner writer do a dance of creative excitement) and I’ll be talking about writing challenges and techniques in general too. This blog will be two parts running tally of my life and two parts exploration of what it is to be a female geek and writer.

Sounds good? I do hope so. From here on out, it’s all shooting for the horizon folks. Stick around, won’t you?