Friday, May 15, 2009


I turned in the manuscript for TechCareers: Avionics Technology, the second in the series that I’ve written for TSTC Publishing on April 14th. About two weeks later, my publisher emailed and asked if I’d like to write another one called Gaming.

Ooh, I thought. Vegas. Atlantic City. Finding out how those one-armed bandits look on the inside and how techs work on them. Field trips!!

Then I found out it’s about creating computer games and iPhone apps and stuff like that - the 3-D graphics and the programming for them. Even better! I won’t be losing money on the tables. (Actually, the only games in Vegas that I play are the quarter slot machines. But I have a winning formula. Keep this quiet: Put in $20. If you start losing too much, cash out, take a break, breathe. Then try again and when you start winning and get back up to the $20 you started with, quit. Or if you get distracted and look down, only to discover that you’re up to $40… scream, cash out and run.)

Oh, er, uhm … Back to the gaming book.

I’ll be looking for people to interview who know about creating computer games -- students in a gaming program, instructors, employers, experts in 3D graphic design, programmers, etc. From those interviews, I’ll create Profiles. Email me! But be quick. This book has a fast turnaround. The drop dead deadline is August 1.

Email me at: helenAThelengingerDOTcom

P.S. One advisory on using my slot machine system: Don’t use it unless you can sprint really, really fast. Casino guards do not like someone who screams, grabs money and runs through the casino. They go a bit nuts. Seriously. Run fast. Really fast.
TweetIt from HubSpot


  1. I like your advice on the quarter slots! The one time we were in Vegas, we played the quarter Draw Poker games, and after four days of playing, we broke even. Considering the entertainment value, not to mention free drinks we consumed, it was well worth it.

    My husband is a computer graphic artist and works with 3D Studio Max, Poser, Z-Brush, etc. - but he designs lessons for the military, not computer games. If he still might be able to answer some questions, I'll pass along your email.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. I forgot to mention the free drinks, Diane. You're right. They even have the poker machines right at the bar in some casinos! (I sound like a slush, don't I.)

    Diane, your husband sounds perfect. I'd love to interview someone who designs for the military.

  3. Sorry, I can't be of help. The only computer game I play is solitaire and I'm trying to give that one up! Good luck with the assignment.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  4. Can't help on the computer advice, but have duly taken note on the casino advice. :)

  5. I so agree, Jane. I have cut down on Spider Solitaire. No more than one game per day!

    Now, Marvin, I might pay to see you stuff quarters in your pockets and run screaming through a casino. I'd even take pictures so you could post them on your blog.

  6. Helen, you stole my gambling secret. That's exactly how I play the quarter slots.

    The new book sounds like fun. I hope you find some great people to interview!


  7. You know, with this many people already using the Ginger/Mead gambling strategy, we need to either: a. take a trip to Vegas - we'd need a bus to hold everyone, or b. teach a class on the essentials, like how to hold up your empty glass & smile at the bartender, how to do the swoop and scoop of the coins, and how to run, one stiff arm in front to knock people out of your way while high stepping, knees in front, so guards can't tackle you from behind.

  8. LOL! I raced over figuring you meant video games, then you started talking about casinos and I felt like a silly kid.

    I sadly can't help, as I don't have any background in game creation. The most I've done was take workshops to make custom objects and program their behaviors for the original The Sims game. (I've used the game as a neat writing tool, though rarely find time to fire it up.)

    The Sims has an online forum where the designers hang out sometimes. Maybe you could try posting a request over there?


  9. Hi Helen,
    So glad you commented on my blog. I couldn't access your blog from my blog roll for days. I think someone should do a survey on how many writers play spider solitaire - I'm completely addicted.


  10. I play penny slots on vacation, but they really aren't for pennies, they just call them that.

    Lately, sadly I've been losing. I'm not going as often since I can't afford to waste money like once upon a time.

    Morgan Mandel

  11. Congratulations, Helen! That's one thing I like about writing, we get to resarch and learn about new things. I've to write the paper for the romance conference and the deadline is August too. Must go planning.

    BTW, did you read the drabble I wrote for you?

    Fantasy stories by Enid

  12. Thank you Lisa for the great link! I love having such knowledgeable online friends.

    I hear you Karen. Once upon a time I had to force myself to stop playing Tetris because I dreamed Tetris all night long.

    So true, Morgan. Nothing costs a penny anymore, it seems.

    Enid - No! I didn't. I went off to a conference and fell off the face of the Internet. I'll go look for it. I want to see how you created a story around "Avionics."

    Okay, people, is it weird that I read all the marvelous comments you leave and I want to sign off with, I love you guys?

  13. Like so many I don't play computer games except for one favorite. I love the challenge of free cell. And I love the quarter slots, especially the poker machines. Is this a writer's thing?
    I hope with that short deadline, or should I say stressline, you received a big advance.

  14. I'm beginning to think it IS a writer's thing, Susan. We're going to have to put together a tour bus of writer poker slot machine players.

  15. lolol! Helen you crack me up. I hate slots, but I do have a similar method. I love playing Family feud. I usually win quite a bit. started out with $5 and ended up with $300, lol!

    My son plays games, Xbox, the computer, and he's downloaded a couple on my phone. thanks kid. He can tell you all sorts of things about what's good in games, but being 14 he doesn't create them.

  16. Sounds like a fun gig! Happy researching.

    NA Sharpe


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...