My name is C. Well, actually, it’s Connie Thomson. I also answer to my internet handle, Ariel Manx (you get a cookie if you know where that name comes from!). Regardless of what you call me, I’m Girl Thursday here at Geek’s Dream Girl. The short bio of my life is that I’m a farm kid from North Dakota who dreamed of being a writer, and now that’s what I do. But I took a long and winding path to get here.
My geekiness extends clear back to childhood. Even as a little girl I had a fanfic writer’s mind, imagining new adventures for the Duke boys to go on. I played make-believe for hours – looking back, I was roleplaying by myself. Anything I loved, I loved passionately. I wanted to learn every detail there was about it, wanted to talk about it to anyone who might listen, and focused on it to the point of obsession, whether it was a TV show, book, or craft. I was a lil’ geek from the very get-go.
I didn’t hear the word “geek” until I was much older, though. Once I started school, the word I heard over and over was “nerd”. I was smart, and school was easy. I excelled in pretty much everything (except physical education and, ironically, typing!), graduated co-valedictorian of my class and headed off to college.
There’s a time and place for everything, and it’s called college. Those four years were great fun, but also a ton of hard work! A lot of my creative pursuits got pushed to the back burner as I slogged through cloud physics and differential equations. I even had to drop out of the university band. Luckily, it was the summer after my sophomore year when I met the wonderful geek boy who would become my husband (our first date: the X-Files movie). Robert helped me awaken my creative side again: he convinced me to find time for reading, crafting, and going to movies.
A few months before our wedding, he asked me if I’d like to create a D&D character. I’d never played D&D, but my cousins and some friends growing up back home had, and I was curious. I rolled up a human wizard named Zorra, and he ran me through a short one-on-one session. I scored a critical hit on a hobgoblin bandit with my quarterstaff and took the little bugger out. I got up from the table and did a victory dance. That day, I became a gamer.
In the ten years since then, I’ve gone on to play White Wolf’s World of Darkness, WEG Star Wars d6, Call of Cthulhu, Serenity, XCrawl, Mutants and Masterminds, and many a homebrew game (one of my favorites was a western set in Deadwood). I’ve also played in a number of PbP games over the years, and sat behind the GM’s screen for a few of those.
I finished college with degree in Atmospheric Sciences (plus a minor in Mathematics), got married, and settled into a cushy government job. I played Zorra for nearly four years in a campaign that started in 2nd edition AD&D rules and then transitioned to 3.0 and 3.5. I also discovered the wonderful worlds of fantasy novels and comic books. My husband created a monster when he handed me my first Drizzt novel, and again when he took me to see the first X-Men film – I fell so hard for comic books that Wolverine ended up tattooed on my thigh. Life was geeky and grand!
Unfortunately, trouble likes to crop up when things are good. It’s a long story (and one I’ll probably go into detail on eventually) but I lost that cushy government job (which had moved us to Montana, and which I was sure I’d have forever) due to health problems. Right around the same time the economy completely tanked. Woot.
Suddenly I was an unemployed geek girl. What to do? Start a RPG publishing company, of course! Robert and I had fallen in love with Paizo Publishing’s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and when they announced their compatibility license, we decided it was time to either shut up about wanting to write RPG books for a living, or put up. Thus, 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming was born. I also found myself a day job at as a shoe salesgirl at a major sporting goods retailer.
I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but I’m happier than ever before! Again, life is geeky and grand. I currently play in three Pathfinder campaigns (one of which started as a D&D campaign nearly eight years ago), a WoD game, and (soon!) a Mutants and Masterminds campaign. I spend every Friday and Saturday evening at the Sandbaggers Game Club. I remain a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy novels, movies, and TV shows. I think Firefly and Battlestar Galactica were the best TV shows ever made, I can recite The Princess Bride nearly word-by-word from beginning to end, and I’ve been known to dip into the grocery budget to buy the latest Noble Dead novel. I also enjoy anime, manga, and fantasy artwork. My other hobbies include cooking, baking, and crafting – I especially love to crochet dice bags, and have even had good luck selling them at conventions (and to my wonderfully supportive friends!).
With so much on my plate, why on earth did I decide to get a GDG writing gig on top of everything else? The answer is simple: I want geeks to geek out to their full potential! There are endless ways to enhance and expand a RPG campaign, countless good books to read, unlimited hobbies to pursue. In my experience, geeks are rarely ones to get bored or in a rut, because they’re always looking for something new. I just want to make that search for new things a little easier, so there’s more time to play.
I’m looking forward to lots of good connections and conversations with my fellow geeks!