Greetings and welcome to the most boring part of my website. Why are you here? There are stories and poems to be read, pictures to be admired! Instead you want to know about my totally uninteresting life and ogle the fantasy-freak photo that is me?
My name is Laura Campbell and I have lived in Australia since 1979, year of my birth. Creating stories was something I've always done. Before I could write them, I drew them. Of course, a four-year-old doesn't usually come up with the most vivid of plots. I have a scrapbook full of scribble and some very strange pictures of flowers with force-fields and lasers. I'm sure it all made perfect sense at the time.
I've been fascinated by the fantasy genre since my dad read 'The Hobbit' to me when I was about seven, so it's not entirely my fault. Since then I've read a fairly wide variety of fantasy books and am still going.
I think I discovered my love for writing when I was ten, when my class was asked to write a story as homework. After that one pathetic excuse for literature, I was hooked. I was a writer and I was determined to be 'an author'. Still am, I should say.
A few years later I was introduced to role-playing games, or RPGs. This particular game was 'Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny'. I spent countless hours with it. I loved everything about it: the characters and their interaction with me as the Avatar, the dark plot and the vastness of the world Britannia. I have since purchased and played every Ultima except 'Savage Empire'.
I think it was in 1995 that I started drawing dragons. It just started as something to pass the time while I waited for class to start, then a couple of students commented that it looked good. I decided I liked compliments, so I kept drawing. If anything, I've improved. At least I leave out the lasers when I draw flowers now.
In 1998 I started an Applied Physics course at RMIT university in Melbourne, Victoria. The university had internet facilities, which I didn't have at home (unless telnet counts), so one day I logged on and did a search for Ultima sites. The first one I found was called the Ultima Dragons Internet Chapter, a fangroup. Interested, I flicked through the site and found the Dragon Press, which is a large collection of stories (or fanfiction) based on the Ultima games and written by the Ultima Dragons.
Now I was really intrigued. I loved Ultima, I loved writing, I loved dragons and I wanted in. I joined the UDIC under the name of Shadow of Light Dragon (everyone got a 'Dragon' appended to their name) solely to write fanfiction. You don't really get much critique for creative writing in a Physics course and I really needed an outlet. I thus spent more time writing fantasy than studying quantum mechanics. Need I add I didn't care that much?
At the end of 1998 I'd finished writing 'The Dark Realm'. I started receiving some very nice emails and constructive criticism from people who'd read it at Dragon Press, some of whom I am still in contact with to this day. I even met one of them when I went to America in March 2002.
In 1999 I was able to change into a double course which combined Physics with Professional Writing and Editing. In 2000 I dropped the Physics and concentrated on the Writing course (yes!!). I started writing 'The Black Ankh' as a sequel to 'The Dark Realm' and even used it as part of my assessment in 2000 and 2001 (happily, it gave me very good marks).
Early 2000 a good friend of mine, FlameBlight Dragon (we 'met' when she sent me an email about 'The Dark Realm'), introduced me to a game called 'Drakan: Order of the Flame'. Drakan is a fantastic third-person action-adventure that can also be played online. With her help (she went as 'Firetalon') I joined a Drakan clan named 'The Blood That Binds', also under the name Shadow of Light. I think that is when my foruming days began. In fact, I first wrote 'Drakan 2: The Rekindling' entirely within the Surreal-News forum, which has so far received more than 2,000 hits (the fanfic itself was under 50 posts long).
After almost two years of gaming, art and fellowship with 'The Blood That Binds', I left in November 2001 due to lack of online time and several personal reasons. I finished my Professional Writing and Editing course and continued writing 'The Black Ankh'. Between 2000 and 2001 I'd also joined 'The Wayward Avatar', an Ultima forum.
Remember how I said I'd joined the UDIC solely to write fanfiction? Well, it went further than that in late 2001. One of my friends and fanfiction readers, Arkandor Dragon, contacted me with news that 'Lazarus', a group dedicated to remaking Ultima V, was looking for dialogue writers. I sent in an application with links to my Ultima fanfics, eager to be a part of the project.
Ten days later, while awaiting acceptance or rejection, I looked at the webpage for 'Ultima IX: Redemption', though this one was more to replace the original Ultima IX (which was good as a game, but sucked as an Ultima) than remake it. They were also looking for dialogue writers. I wasn't sure I'd be accepted into Lazarus, so I applied to Redemption as well. I was, by this point, determined to be involved in at least one remake. Redemption accepted me the very next day.
One day after that I was contacted by Jaakko Peltonen, project leader of the 'Ultima IV: The Dawn of Virtue' remake team. He had read my work and wanted to know if I'd consider joining as a dialogue writer. To say I was flattered is an understatement; people don't usually go looking for writers. I accepted the invitation immediately.
Another ten days later I received an acceptance email into Lazarus. I was very happy, since Ultima V was my favourite of the series and this was the remake I'd most wanted to join. This meant I was working for three remakes now, though, so I knew I'd have to be careful with my time.
February and March 2002 I went to America and travelled around California and Nevada with my sister. I met Goldenflame Dragon in person (he very kindly made room for us in his house for a few days) and spoke to FlameBlight/Firetalon on the phone! Two of my best online friends! Next on the list are England and Germany (you know who you are!)...
In May 2002 I got tired of waiting for Dragon Press updates, and repeated attempts to get in touch with the current host failed. So I created a mirror site. :) Through the aid of several Ultima fans we have managed to recover all of the fanfictions that had been lost in time, and it now has its own domain name thanks to Wtcher Dragon and webspace without banners thanks to Goldenflame Dragon. I cannot thank any of them enough. :)
So here I am in 2002. If you're still reading, I guess that means my attempts to bore you have failed. What else can I say? I'm a Christian of no specific denomination (though I attend Oakleigh Baptist church) and currently house a weekly Bible Study. In July I attended the 'Walk To Emmaus', an international Christian retreat (which was fantastic :)). In 2001 I got my first dose of pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons, but had to stop due to work (which I got paid for). I prefer instrumental and Celtic music, especially soundtracks. My current TV show of choice is 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (my sister's fault). I went to France in 1999 and Japan in 1996 and 1994. Many years before that I went to Fiji, and before that I went to Tasmania, though I don't remember a thing about it.
Oh, poetry. I just remembered something. If you're an aspiring poet, stay the hell away from poetry.com , aka the International Library of Poetry, aka Watermark Press, aka International Society of Poets, etc etc. Not only do you have to pay them US$70 to get your poems published (in a rather pathetic excuse for a 'coffee-table book'), but if you want to win their annual grand prize you have to attend a gala/party in Disneyworld that all-up costs about US$1,500, somewhat more than the prize money. Don't get sucked in. The flowery 'Oh, your poems are so wonderful!' letter you'll get in the mail is sent to every entrant, even the ones who can't spell 'poetry'.
Now where was I?
In September 2002 I moved out of home for the first time. I am so enjoying the freedom. Not having to go to bed when I'm told is a novelty. *returns your strange look* What? In any case, it gave me all the internet time I could ever wish for, so I've been getting a lot of remake stuff done, even if I've been slack updating The Black Ankh. On the down side, I don't have a scanner, so new dragon pics might be a while.
In November 2002 I got a new job! I'm now a typsetter and proofreader for Australian Consolidated Press, the largest magazine company in my country. At the moment I'm working on marine and auto magazines and I'm really enjoying it, even if I am starting to get strange urges to buy a boat. Still a little unsure why everything's in horse power, though.
The cloak I started making about four months back I finished on November 7th 2002! Huzzah! So far I have one photo here for your viewing pleasure, complete with obligatory non-original background. As a first, there are no lens flares. ;)
I stopped working on the Redemption remake earlier this year, mostly due to an increasing lack of time (2 other remakes, as well as the 'real life job' going to full time). I like to have some leisure time to wind down and have fun, and I spend most of that in Ultima Legacy (free, roleplaying Ultima Online shard... fun place).
Now it's sometime towards the end of 2003. What happened? Well, the free webspace place I was with decided they didn't want to be free anymore, so my site went offline around April/May. Some time later I was offered a new home by some good friends *waves to Virgilanti* :) So now I'm finally getting around to restoring this place to its former glory.
Edit: 2005. Where to start? Still working for ACP... still playing Ultima Legacy (but I'm a Seer now! FEAR ME! Bwahah...). Oh! Ultima IV: The Dawn of Virtue is no more. :( So now all my Ultima remake creativity is going into Ultima V: Lazarus. That's due to be out around May, but you know how deadlines can be. Still, it's looking freakin' fantastic if I do say so myself. :) When I'm not writing dialogues or working, or trying to finish Icewind Dale 2, I'm usually playing UL. Most of my creative writing is going into roleplaying posts, which can be read on the Legacy sites. I'll let you guess which characters are mine. ;)
The Black Ankh is still in progress. This year it'll be done. I promise. Lazarus will be out of the way, so I'll have no excuse. Right? It's all written out! I just have to type the blasted thing. :p
On the religion front, we just finished 40 Days of Purpose. Pretty neat course, even if I didn't agree with everything it talked about. It was good to get back into a small group. Hopefully it'll continue. :) I was also an assistant table leader for the girls' Canberra Flight this year. I had to do a talk. Public speaking. Urgh. Thank God (literally) I got through that alright. My talk was Single Life, and it did go well. Despite the fact I hate being up in front public speaking, nervous as anything, I am a good public speaker. God has a strange sense of humour sometimes. :I
At the end of 2005 I stopped working for ACP, and entered the glorious realm of unemployment. I love having all this free time. ;) Gave me the chance to work more on Lazarus, which was finished in December (and very well received!).
2006 is upon me, and I've been entertaining myself with various writing projects (the last part of TBA is over half done -- it's being updated on www.fanfiction.net if you're desperate), artistic endeavours and computer games in between job hunting. Life's pretty relaxing right now, and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it.
Partially into 2007 now. I'm doing some temp work (office stuff) while I scour the intraweb for dream jobs. Had a few interview, but not for positions I'm interested in. Went to New Zealand for the first time, which was cool. :) With TBA finished, my time is now split between various RP projects (the pen and paper and over-the-internet variety), drawing dragons and working on the occasional story. I have no 'big project' in front of me, so I'm a little directionless right now. It's sort of a novelty, really. I can't remember the last time I wasn't working on something that was, to me, epic.
I'm really happy with the real life pen and paper roleplaying, btw. Before now, I'd only ever experienced it for a few brief months back at RMIT. Not only are the games I'm involved with now fun, but the people playing/running them are totally awesomecool (I know some of them have found my website, so I have to say something nice ;) ).
Nearing the end of 2007: lots of life-changing choices ahead. I've been offered to apply for a permanent job where I currently am (aforementioned office stuff), and am seriously looking at buying an apartment. I may even own one by the end of this week, pending finance. Also getting up-to-date with the current job vacancies in the computer game industry. Two that have my attention are Blizzard and Bioware. I'd love to work for either, and Lazarus = big qualification! Of course, the hard part is getting the application past the doorkeepers...
The sequel to The Black Ankh has about 30,000 words or so are typed up, which isn't much considering I started tapping away at it near the start of the year. I haven't had as much free time as I'd like, though, between employment and RPing and house hunting.
Oh, I did get a graphics tablet from Dad for my birthday! I love it! :) I've drawn some character art for one of my RPGs. They are only black and white for the moment, but good practice.
Merry Christmas for December 2007!
Ok, I'm done.
Oh, yeah, thanks for visiting. :)