Trying to get back in the groove of creativity this week, I’ve been playing games, reading about writing, and continuing to update my photography portfolio. In this week’s Random Ramble, I review Alhambra and Camel Cup, re-review Stephen King’s book On Writing, and work on getting back into the groove of putting my work out in cyberspace for the world to see.

What I’m Playing…

In our brand new house, we have a dedicated game room where we have a new game table with removable hard top, recessed playing area, and swing out cup holders. All of our games line the walls on open shelves allowing us to see them all at once for the first time. So, naturally, when we decided to have a game night with friends, we sat at the kitchen table. Turns out the game room is not warm and inviting on chilly evenings. The heat from the fireplace doesn’t quite reach the game room. Nevertheless, we played two relatively easy board games — Alhambra and Camel Cup.


Alhambra lies at the foot of Sierra Nevada mountains. Constructed by European and Arabian master builders, the Alhambra is one of the most exciting projects of the Spanish Middle Ages. The Alhambra is home to a palace, fortress, galleries, and fountains and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the game, players compete to build their own Alhambra using building tiles and four different currencies. In three scoring phases, players complete to have the most buildings in each of six building types and the longest outer wall. I recommend the board game to anyone looking to expand their collection. I also highly recommend a visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, if you ever have the chance to go!

Camel Cup

Camel Cup pits players against one another in a betting match. Each player tries to guess which camel will win the race and which will lose. The earlier you bet, the more money you can make. Camels are awkward runners, however, and can land atop one another and can end up be carried through the finish line. Quick to learn and easy to play with a group of up to 8 people.

Two of my favorite sites to learn more about board games are Board Game Geek and Wil Wheaton’s Table Top on YouTube. Board Game Geek will give you all the rules and reviews for just about every game in existence. On Table Top, Wil Wheaton gathers his friends and introduces you to the mechanics of selected games.

What I’m Reading…

book cover, on writing by stephen kingOn Writing by Stephen King

I reviewed this book earlier in the year, but found myself reading it again this fall. Having just enrolled in a nine-month writing intensive, I wanted to listen to King’s words of wisdom again. The ease with which he meanders in and out of stories is inspiring and something every writer should take note of. As I said in my previous review, he offers practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and overabundant use of adverbs.

What I’m Working on…

Getting a new house in order really cut into my creative time over the summer and early fall. I let a lot of things slip, but I’m working hard on getting back to work. Thankfully, even as I’ve been busy finding a new home for all my stuff, my iStock portfolio has been continuing to earn a few dollars every month. My goal is to add three new photos every week. I’ve also submitted a few photos to an online magazine for their inaugural publication. Keeping my fingers crossed!