Calie BAerrell - Alien Queen 2

Celia Berrell, Science Poet: Episode 92

Author of Science Rhymes and internationally published poet Celia Berrell has a passion for taking science concepts and presenting them to people – children in particular – as poems. Her work is regularly featured in the children’s science magazine of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Celia and I have a great chat about a lifelong love of science, the importance of a website to self-promotion, the joy of having a printed, published book, the necessity of checking your facts even when writing poetry and being caught out not being a child when writing poems for a children’s magazine. Celia also reads her poem, “Body Chemistry”!

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Nolan T. Jones

Nolan T. Jones, Roll20: Episode 91

Roll20 co-creator Nolan T. Jones loved playing tabletop roleplaying games with good mates until relocating across the US almost ended his close friendships. Instead, he and his friends looked online for help with playing the games they enjoyed – and when none of the solutions was good or easy enough to use, they built their own.

Now, Roll20 is one of the world’s largest virtual tabletop applications, and probably the most well-known.Thanks to Nolan and his mates, gamers across the world are getting together every day to play RPGs from Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder to Star Wars and Traveller.

In addition to being part of an industry-leading tabletop gaming company, he’s worked in comics, including writing the books ‘Colonial Souls’ and ‘House of ORR.’ He has a degree in film and East Asian culture from the University of Kansas, and considers himself a qualified speaker on screenplay structure, Dragon Ball, Vince Guaraldi, and the Mighty Mutanimals.

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CJ Rpika

CJ Ripka, Raw & Real: Episode 90

Veteran podcaster CJ Ripka has been creating audio content for over a decade. He started when it was still just called “audio blogging”. His skills as a host and personality have shot up, though, since he started his own shows, Average 2 Awesome and his current show, Raw & Real.

CJ has recently expended his podcasting portfolio, joining Ray Rideout, Jr. every day on The Crossroads of Podcasting and inviting Ray to co-host Raw & Real. The two have also started the SDWV Podcast Network, of which this show is an inaugural member, to help podcasts build audiences and earn incomes from their shows!

We have a great chat about making podcasts for the US National Guard, the struggle of setting your own rate, how creating a celebrity persona helps you succeed and what you do when injuries or external forces not just impact your business but prevent you from doing your thing entirely.

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Bernadette 244

Bernadette Bentley: A Princess of Entertainment – Episode 89

All-around geek entertainer Bernadette Bentley is a lifelong performer who never let others crush her enthusiasm. She may be best known for cosplaying Xena: Warrior Princess at conventions around California and the States, but Bernadette is passionately pursuing her dream of enriching lives with entertainment.

Bernadette’s nature refuses to let her focus on one thing at a time, which has led her to act on stage and screen, in voice over and web shows. She’s hosted geek events and cosplay conventions. She co-founded Le Geek So Chic, a traveling fashion show that highlights the cream of geek clothing design. Her newest venture is Bernadazzled, a company that allows Bernadette to indulge her love of rhinestoning by creating glamorous fashion items and bringing a little extra sparkle to the world!

We have a great chat about the external pressure from well-meaning folks to not just settle down and get a real job but also to focus on One Thing, the power of lists, the epic experience that was both her first convention AND her first cosplay as Xena, meeting Lucy Lawless, working with a community of fantastic fellow creatives and enthusiasts, moving on when people act against you and helping an animal rescue charity take care of their dogs!

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An Episode A Week in July: Review

For the month of July I stepped my episode release schedule up from fortnightly to weekly. How did it go? What does it mean for the future of the podcast? What else is on the horizon?

Answers to these questions, plus some shout-outs and thank-yous, in this video:

What’s your play?

How have you experimented with or changed up your play recently?

What do you think of having a new episode every week in July and from now on?


Monte Cook, Monte Cook Games: Episode 88

Game designer and writer Monte Cook has worked on hundreds of roleplaying and board game products. He co-designed the Third Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, served as design consultant on the Pathfinder roleplaying game and, in 2012, co-founded Monte Cook Games, LLC. As Creative Director and Lead Designer, Monte co-created the Cypher System roleplaying game rules that are the heart of The Strange and the award-winning Numenera.

Monte also bends his writerly talents to novels and fiction, comic books and nonfiction works. In his spare time, he makes the odd YouTube series with fellow geeks, like the a tongue-in-cheek take on ghost hunting reality shows, Geek Seekers, co-starring Jen Page.

Please listen for a great chat about sleeping on couches while interning with an RPG company, some of the dearly departed brands of the RPG industry, why you shouldn’t listen to gossip about the “big guys” and the differences between working for and running an RPG company.

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Jen Page: All-In on Geekiness – Episode 87

Full-time multi-talent geek Jen Page is a wonderful example of what can happen when we connect the little dynamo of energy inside us to the things we love to do. She juggles a full-time job managing Microsoft’s community of casual gamers with acting in indie films and web series, modelling her own fantasy fashion creations and making mermaid tails on commission!

Jen and I have a great chat about the life of someone who has gone all-in on every aspect of herself. We touch on how being a navy brat helped Jen overcome shyness, how stage work is not her thing, her secret desire to be a freelance thief for tabletop roleplaying game groups and just how she manages to make time for all her interests and a day job that doesn’t stick to a set nine-to-five!

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Paid to Play on the SDWV Podcast Network!

I’m proud to announce that Paid to Play has joined forces with the SDWV Podcast Network, a new alliance of podcasters dedicated to getting awesome shows between the ears of as many people as possible – a cause I’m definitely behind!

The SDWV Podcast Network is the brainchild of C.J. Ripka, primary host of the Raw & Real Podcast (and a gent whose chat for this show will go live in a couple of weeks) and Ray Rideout, Jr., primary host of The Crossroads of Podcasting. Both gentlemen (who co-host on each other’s shows) have brought their own shows to the table, and Paid to Play shares the honour of inaugural invitee with Cole Johnson’s Cole Sportz show. Undoubtedly more shows will be joining the SDWV roster soon!

What will that mean for this show? Well, you’ll likely begin hearing promo spots for other SDWV shows in my episodes, as well as a promo spot for my show in theirs. I’ll also be re-recording my show end credits to include mention that Paid to Play is part of the Network. Beyond that, the opportunities that being part of the Network offers are still evolving.

Stay tuned, o faithful listeners, for more – and, of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask!

(One question I just got answered myself: “SDWV” is an acronym for South Dakota and West Virginia, C.J. and Ray’s respective stomping grounds.)

Lauren Matesic Bio

Lauren Matesic, Castle Corsetry: Episode 86

Castle Corsetry owner-operator and cat-lover Lauren Matesic has designed and built hundreds of corsets as well as custom costume orders specialising in expertly tailored spandex suits and impeccable cosplay recreations.

As a geeky girl herself, Lauren’s enthusiasm makes her work truly exceptional, and fellow geeks have come to know Lauren as the go-to girl for commission cosplays for conventions across the United States every year. Her designs have been worn by geek-culture celebrities like Team Unicorn, Ivy Doomkitty and Adrianne Curry!

On top of all that, Lauren’s latest project is an upcoming web series Pawsplay, which launches on the AWE Me YouTube channel Monday, July 18th!

In what I hope to be the first of the Vanaheim Studios chat series, Lauren and I have a great chat about the challenges of working with spandex, how the makers’ collective that Lauren lucked into sharing office space with inspire and challenge her (and made her the most awesome office space in the world) and about how keeping your child self’s imagination alive after when people say the days of dress-up ought to be over is at the heart of getting paid to play.

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Bebo (Brittanie Boe): Working from Home Marketing Board Games – Episode 85

Board game marketer Brittanie Boe, known to pretty much everyone as Bebo, is an example of paid to play success for those of us who feel like life has locked us into the nine-to-five. She is a single mother and lover of board games who had a day job working in the marketing department of an insurance company.

Now, Bebo is the marketer for a board game distributor, managing multiple social media channels with a team of fellow enthusiasts, attending industry and fan conventions and generally helping enthusiasts find the right games for their tastes. On top of all that, she works from her home!

And if that’s not enough, Bebo joins forces with my guest for episode 77, Teri Litorco; together, they are the blogging, YouTubing and podcasting duo of tabletop gaming, The Board Dames!

It was great chatting with Bebo about how she transitioned from day-job dullness to work-from-home wonderment, how Bebo’s friends and family help stop her from losing herself in work and what her next steps will be – as well as her not-so-secret desire to form a country music band!

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