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WoW adds uniting element to YA novel about a transsexual teen

WoW adds uniting element to YA novel about a transgender teen
"Look! Look! Someone wrote something and actually mentioned World of Warcraft!" That used to be A Thing, a Really Big Thing. After eight years and millions and millions of players, though, it's much less of A Thing. Everybody knows WoW. In fact, the last time a group tried to make a big deal out of the fact that someone played WoW, the outcome didn't turn out in their favor.

So WoW has evolved from A Weird Thing to An Everybody Thing, sort of like the latest hot TV show or book. It's something people talk about over coffee. And that's why author Rachel Gold chose to have the teenage protagonists of her young adult novel Being Emily play WoW -- that, and the opportunity WoW provides to try on different gender roles by playing characters of the opposite sex. You see, Being Emily is the first YA novel to tell the story of a transsexual girl from her perspective.

"I've been playing WoW since its first weekend, and although I'm not transsexual myself, I know that a lot of my trans friends who game found relief in the ability to play a character that matched the gender they know themselves to be, regardless of what body they were born into," Gold observes. "I included that feature of gaming in the novel by having the main character and her girlfriend both play WoW (casually, since they're in high school)."

Since Being Emily arrived in bookstores at the end of June, it's hit #2 on Amazon.com's Hot New Releases in Teen Fiction & Literature. Gold talks with us about why the book resonates with teens and how WoW is helping open doors for people searching for new identities and places to be accepted for themselves.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Behind the bookshelves and keyboards of WI's published authors

Behind the bookshelves and keyboards of WI's published authors
If anything's got the power to pull a dyed-in-the-wool WoW player away from Azeroth for an extended period of time, it's a good read. Is there anything more tantalizing than cocooning with a good book you've just discovered? I've recently discovered GoodReads, my daughter's into the lowbie version at EpicReads, and we've made our city library and local Half-Price Books our home away from home. And when we're not reading, we're writing. When the sixth-graders had to turn in their first big compositions for the year, my little bookworm's study mate managed two pages on a funny time her foot got stuck in her shoe; my daughter demonstrated her speculative bent by cranking out 2,000 words on "The End of Humankind." Reading and writing, we just can't quit you.

Like a good meal and a bottle of wine, good books are best when shared, so I thought you all might like to meet two published authors from WoW Insider's own staff of bloggers. Matt Rossi's collections are the kind of anthologies you find yourself still flipping through at 2 a.m. -- "Ooh, what's this one about? Just one more essay before I turn out the light..." Scott Andrews' guide to leading an MMO guild offers the same straight talk and smart strategies as his Officers' Quarters column here at WI.

We peeked beyond the pages of WoW Insider to discover the speculative worlds crafted by Scott and Matt. They told us how they got published, what they're writing now -- and an extra bonus, what's feeding their imaginations in their personal reading piles.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Vampire Empire novelist duo writes, games as one

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Talking about Clay and Susan Griffith means talking about partnerships. Clay and Susan are husband and wife, WoW partners and co-GMs, and authors of The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book 1 -- "married in all things, for better or for worse," as they put it. Together, they've worked on comics and prose with such pop culture icons as The Tick, Kolchak the Night Stalker, The Phantom, Allan Quatermain, and Disney characters, too. "Granted, we are casual WoW players due to time constraints, but we both have level 85s," says Susan. "We enjoy questing and the lore of the game, as well as a fair amount of RPing. When time and fair winds permit, we even have a family raid group."

What the Griffiths have learned from collaborating on the page, they say translates directly to playing WoW as a group: trust, respect, and distribution of power and roles. From the Vampire Empire to Azeroth? According to this couple -- absolutely.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Caitlin R. Kiernan

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

I've wandered around inside the fiction of Caitlín R. Kiernan, and I'm not at all certain I'd feel safe wandering around in her version of WoW. As it turns out, though, Kiernan plays WoW much like many of the rest of us do - smacking the "brain off" button at the end of a long day, tooling around various zones with a significant other, and somehow finding ourselves utterly embroiled in the microcosms that are the lives of the characters we spend so much time with. So an interview with Kiernan turned out to be a long, WoW-centric turn that she attacked with relish. "Truthfully, I think it's one of the most interesting interviews I've done lately, if only because I spend so little of it talking about writing," she blogged. We think it's pretty darn interesting, too.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Video of Christie Golden's Long Island reading

I wasn't anywhere near Huntington, NY on Saturday, but our friend Medievaldragon from BlizzPlanet was, and he did stop by the Christie Golden reading at the Book Revue bookstore. He even brought videos back with him, and so if you're a Golden fan (she is a New York Times-bestselling author, after all) and want to see her reading from Arthas, there you go.

Apparently the reading was a pretty full house, too, and you can see from the video that there were all kinds of people there. Golden also says early in the video that Arthas is Blizzard's first big bestseller, and she repeats what we've heard before: that Blizzard loves having her write for them and she loves coming up with stories from their settings. The only big bit of news for fans from the reading is that while Blizzard is producing three different Warcraft books (of which Arthas is the first), they won't be a trilogy at all, just stand-alone stories. Big thanks to Medievaldragon once again for stopping by the event and grabbing video for those of us who couldn't go.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Lore

Christie Golden talks about Arthas, Rise of the Lich King

Our friend Medievaldragon (of Blizzplanet, who's now posting occasionally over on World of War) got a chance to talk to author Christie Golden at BlizzCon last weekend. She's working on a book about Arthas (which has a title now: "Rise of the Lich King"), and she chatted with MD about what kind of lore fun is going to be in those pages.

The book starts with Arthas as a ten-year-old prince, and then obviously follows his path through what we saw in Warcraft III, including all of that bad business at Quel'Thalas, and Arthas' past with Jaina and Kael'thas (you don't think Blizzard would bring KT back again in WotLK, do you?). Golden promises some good looks as the High Elves, too -- "two very pivotal characters are elven," she says. Including Sylvanas? We can only hope.

The book's due out in April, sounds like it'll be a good read, for Arthas fans especially.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Lore, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

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