My Novel: The Temporal Expeditions

ANNOUNCING: My debut science fiction novel, The Temporal Expeditions, Escape from Extinction, has been distributed to booksellers. It’s a story about a young woman who is thrust into the role of leadership during an extinction crisis…but there’s more about the book in the blurb, or you can read sample chapters at U.S. and international booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Google Books, Apple Books (iPhone, iPad), the books publisher Lulu Bookstore and others.

(If you are searching for the book be sure to include both the book title and Yordie Sands.)

Yordie Sands novel

Book I is “Escape from Extinction” and is available now.

The Series: I intend to expand The Temporal Expeditions series to three books; however, there is a possibility of a fourth book. I have a complete second draft of Book II, but during the final edits the debut novel I found new ideas I want to expand on, so Book II is being planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2020. Then Book III will follow sometime in 2021 but that’s a long way away.

I hope you’ll give my book a read and if you like it, please leave a review at the store you buy it from. Also, you can leave comments on this post. TTFN!



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Fallout 76: Level 58 Again

I totally love this game and will have to slow down my play soon. Without question, one of my favorite aspects of the game is the Vendor capability that enables turning your C.A.M.P. into a camp/store. In Second Life I spent countless hours building Zen gardens and Asian cafes and Geisha houses (no, I’m not Asian).

Over a period of six years or so, I created seven distinctive SL gardens and spent countless hours building and shopping for resources for each. And I’m finding that FO76 is giving me a lot of that kind of satisfaction. Anyway, here’s my latest store, near the train station in Sutton.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

This is my CAMP/Store near Sutton RR Station.
I only have to Vendor machines but do good business.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

This is a view of the rear of my CAMP/Store.
The upper area is where I have my private room.

Yordie Sands in Fallout 76

This is the interior of my private room.
It has a great panoramic view of the lands.

Oh, that’s poster in my bedroom, that’s Mr. Peeples – The first kitty in space! Just one of the things about this game that makes me smile. I’m trying to find out if I can direct a pack of kitties back to my house to live. I’m reluctant because I’m afraid they’ll just become targets for the wannabe psychopaths that show up in Adventure mode from time to time.

Level 58 Again

This past week my Sandy Lombardia character achieved Level 58 again (Yordie reached 58 a couple months ago). Despite the inconvenience of starting over, I’m happier with Sandy’s development and I have a much better understanding of the Perk system. Here are a few Level/Perk tips for newbies:

  • FO76 vs FO4: There are unlimited levels to FO76 (e.g. I’ve seen players at levels above 500) but there are only 50 levels of SPECIAL attributes. A character is shaped more by the Perk cards it is using at any given time. In the early going in Fallout 4 I focus on building up my Intelligence as quickly as possible. However, in FO76 I haven’t found the need to max out my IQ and I think mainly that’s because I use ballistic weapons almost exclusively. If I used laser weapons it might be different. Also, many IQ Perks can be used on an as needed basis rather than keeping them persistent (e.g. I don’t need to equip my Hacker, Armorer, Gunsmith or other Perks equipped until I use them). This means I spend time swapping out Perk cards, but it enables great flexibility.
  • Melee & Strength: As many have observed, higher your Strength levels will increase the power of Melee weapons. This was a very difficult lesson for me to learn because my combat style is to avoid melee engagements if possible. I always preferred to fire a bullet into virtually any monster I encountered despite the cost of those bullets. When I discovered how nicely a Power fist will dispatch a Radrat, I was sold. And I could save those bullets for the bigger beasts there were certainly nearby. *smiles*
  • Reallocation: It is also important to understand that even though you may build up one SPECIAL attribute early in the game, you’ll be able to reallocate it later on as you adapt to new weapons and other needs. For example, as I evolved I increased my Agility perks (Action Girl, Thru-Hiker, Born Survivor) and was able to add Intelligence attributes to facility the change.

There are other nuances to the Level/Perk system, but I think it’s a genuine improvement to the Fallout 4 system. And by the way, there are many improvements in FO76 over FO4, in my humble opinion.

The Enclave

Wow! I’d heard about the Enclave early on after watching to an Oxhorn video, and I’ve been wondering about the whole Free State/Sam Blackwell/White Springs thing for months. I mean, there are portents and signs all around Appalachia but I’d never found my way into the Enclave until this past weekend. In fact, I had to dig up some spoiler information to find the path leading to Enclave membership. And even now, I am still working my way up the ranks.

For me, discovering the Enclave is the equivalent to finding The Institute in FO4. It is such a big deal and makes the game even more engaging. Now that I’m a member I’ve watched to Oxhorn and other videos about Enclave lore. The strange thing is, I just don’t recall anything about it in FO4; maybe I was just too preoccupied.

This game and the whole Fallout saga is so rich, I wish I’d been in on it all the way back to the original. I’ve tried to engage in FO3 but just couldn’t step back to the older tech, even though it was quite good (I use Xbox compatibility).

Bug Fixes

I’m aware of more and more bugs as I go deeper into the game, but Bethesda is releasing a steady stream of excellent bug fixes and enhancements. It is appreciated.

Purveyor: However, there is one gameplay feature that is so random and so bad I wish they’d just drop it though: The Legendary Item Purveyor. I’ve spent over 300 scripts on five separate useless items; like, a harpoon gun, a grotesque wooden chest piece, a stupid Assaultron head (TWICE). Last night I finally got something I’m at least willing to sell in my store, a piece of low level leather armor. All junk. I saw the recent ad saying that the Purveyor was slashing prices and this just makes me cringe: Lower prices for pure junk. Someone needs to rethink this. I’ll never try it again.

Collective Genius

Despite my irritation with features like the Purveyor, I believe this game is a work of art and genius. I’m a software developer with enough knowledge of the tech to have an opinion and I’m truly in awe of Fallout 76. When you consider all the different tools and skill sets needed to produce a game of this scale and scope, the people involved must number in the thousands; I mean, people from the physics engine all the way to the story writers (and there are great stories, btw). I’m certain that someday I’ll begin playing in a team and probably move on to Survival mode.


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Fallout 76: Sandy Lombardia Character

My new Fallout 76 character’s name is Sandy Lombardia. Sandy is also the protagonist in my sci-fi novel that was released for distribution today. It will be awhile before the book appears at the big online bookstores, but is currently available on my publisher’s site, Lulu Bookstore.

Sandy has been climbing back through the levels and last night she reached Level 38. I like this character much better because I’ve engineered my SPECIAL levels and associated Perk cards much more effectively.

Also last night, Sandy downed her first Scorch Beast (below). She can’t take all the credit though because there was a Chameleon Death Claw fighting the beast when I joined the fight. By the way, I have my own Chameleon armor now and was able to join the battle from afar before the Beast realized I was engaged. I move in on it as it weakened, but these monsters are tough to take down with lower level weapons. The same is true of those Billygoat Gruff creatures (aka Sheepsquatsh), very hard to take down. By the way, I really like the Light Machinegun, but it burns ammo like crazy; so, if you use it you better know how to make a lot of ammo.

Sandy Lombardia downs first Scorch Beast

That’s Sandy holding an awesome 308 Light Machinegun.

Yordie Sands author & photographer

This pic gives a better perspective of the size of a Scorch Beast.

I really like this game and have purchased a headset to at least open the door to joining a team, and maybe someday entering Survival Mode. I’m still learning the intricacies of this game though, so it may take a long time.

I’m increasingly aware of critical bugs in the game, but feel that some of the complaints I had read about or seen in videos were simply dissatisfaction with the gameplay, which I happen to like…mostly. Some bugs are of the childish prank variety; meaning, they are either examples of poor programming practices or just intended to irritate the player.

One bug that is particularly troubling to me is the Soldier ID quest. What happened is, I made it through the U.S. Army training and was given my soldier papers, but when I tried to get my ID the quest disappeared. I’ve tried several of the suggested remedies, but there seems to be a major screwup with this quest. For one thing, when I attempted the quest I was under Level 30. Since then, the door into the quest requires Level 30+. I’ve submitted a support ticket but didn’t receive any reply. Just saying.

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Fallout 76: Level 66 and Back

I got to Level 66 about two weeks ago and found that I was troubled by early quests where I felt I was swept into dangerous situations before I was ready. Plus, I realized that I had a poor understanding of the Perk cards and how to use them to build my character’s SPECIAL attributes. So, I dropped off my Yordie Sands character on the shelf and created Sandy Lombardia (she’s also the heroine of my upcoming novel–announce coming soon). My Xbox ID is still Yordie Sands though.

I got off to a roaring start with Sandy and reached level 12 the first weekend. I’m level 25 ATM and I’ve learned a lot by following main quest lines more carefully. I’ve also backed off and focused on easier Events and lesser quests when I advanced too quickly. Those easier quests offer opportunities to get a lot of loot and build up you currency, “caps”.¬†Tonight I used my stockpile of caps to build Sandy’s first store and it is very similar to Yordie’s big store highlighted in earlier posts.

My main focus has been on collecting and using Perk cards that support the type of play I’m comfortable with. And this is the advice I have for new players: Learn how the Perk cards work. If you play Fallout 4, like I do, you have a big advantage, but it is different enough to lead you into frittering away opportunities.

Another tip for newbies: Know the kind of weapons you want to build around. For example, if you like pistols and automatic rifles, try to stick with one type of ammo, like Fusion Cells, 45s, 38s, and so forth. I don’t particularly care for pistols, but love the 308 sniper rifle and screaming 308 machine gun! Unfortunately, the only 308 machine gun I have found is Level 30, so it will be a little longer. For now, I have a Level 25 – 50 cal machine gun as my beastie killer. There is a huge variety in weaponry that it can be overwhelming at first, even if you have experience with weapons.

Here’s a pics from me as Sandy Lombardia exploring Appalachia. I’m wearing a special Vault-Tec jumpsuit for now, but I also like the nurses dress and my sniper outfit.

Cats in Fallout 4

I came across this robot Veterinarian leading a pack of kitties. LUV

I love that there are kitties in Fallout 76, but they aren’t friendly. They don’t attack or anything,but you can’t heard them home to your C.A.M.P. Darn!

I really like Fallout 76 and continue to make occasional friends. I am starting to envision the day when I might join a team. I still doubt that I’ll try Survival Mode and I’m certain I’ll never play in the battle royals, currently Nuclear Winter. The games buggyness has improved a lot since I’ve started playing. And yes, I play way too often but that will change as soon as I launch begin writing the second book of my series. Stay tuned.


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Fallout 76: Level 60 and I’m Crazy!

Okay, I’ve been playing Fallout 76 WAY TOO MUCH, especially this past weekend when I’m sure I was identified as an addicted player. Fiddleedee. I enjoy the game a great deal and I’m making friends but haven’t joined a group or a team yet. I need to get a headset/mic so I can talk to people because text really sucks with Xbox. I’m seriously thinking about it though, but I’m also seriously writing Book II of my sci-fi series.

Anyway, I’ve made a lot of progress climbing the Levels since the last post. I had a back to back double leveling up days, primarily spurred on by the silly “Graham’s Meat Week”. The thing about the Meat week is there’s a chance to kill a lot of Legendary creatures in a very short window and this adds up when you’re climbing the levels. I did the whole thing, even searched Appalachia for carrots to make a non-meat specialty for Graham.

The achievement I’m most happy about is my solo takedown of a Scorch Beast. While I was out looking for carrots, one of those nasty fiends came after me. In the past I used my invisibility to help keep me out of its grasp, but this time I pulled out my power armor, snapped a 250 round magazine into my 50 caliber machine gun (with armor piercing and other good things) and went after that beast. It took about 500 rounds to bring the beast down and then I was attacked by an irradiated bear. I’m wearing Level 45 Excavator armor, even though I have Level 50 T-60 armor; there’s a reason but it would have been wiser for me to be wearing the T-60.

Yordie Sands & Scorch Beast

That’s me right after I killed the Scorch Beast and bear.

Yordie in Fallout 76

This pic will give you a better sense of the beast’s size.

Anyway, I also moved my CAMP/store back to where I was originally, on the safe side of the Savage Divide. It’s a short story, but suffice it to say I just wasn’t ready for that neighborhood. I’m glad to be back in safer terrain, but after my recent successes I might move back in another 10 or so levels. Below is my new store.

Yordie Sands Fallout 76 CAMP

That’s the new store in the identical spot of the old store.

If you are wondering, I’m really too old to be playing this kind of game; I suppose. And I’m concerned that the gaming is taking me away from my writing project. Geez, if I wrote every day for the next two years I might get all three books out in 2021, and that’s the goal. Book I is done and at the publisher, scheduled to be ready for the holidays. More on this later; I’ve got to get back to the game! HAHAHA.


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Fallout 76: My New C.A.M.P. Store

That’s it, the new store. It took me several hours to build it, but it’s in business again. It’s a beautiful location and I owe it to Oxhorn who had an entire video devoted to finding a place for his C.A.M.P. by the water. I’ve watched a lot of his videos lately and he’s a real joy with his cigar, scotch and suspenders set to maximum stun. Haha.

That’s me admiring my work.

Fallout 76 lets you place your camp wherever you can find space. A lot of people congregate closer to the massive market place called Whitesprings Resort. Unfortunately, almost every time I play the game, someone launches a nuclear missile into it and it wipes out the surrounding area. Anyway, this camp/vendor feature makes FO76 a very interesting game. It’s not like the beauty of creating Japanese and Zen gardens in Second Life, but when you find a great site it’s really lovely.

This is a photo of the area where my camp is located.
It’s quite lovely considering that this is a post-apocalyptic world.

I think I’ll have an ice cold Nuka Cola!


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Fallout 76 WOW! Over My Head!

Okay, I was playing it safe in my usual way. Building resources, exploring, figuring things out and all. Then today… HOLY MOLY! I began to narrow down on an important quest that I’m pretty sure everyone eventually comes to, but I pressed my luck because I have a lot of stealthy tech and figured I could slip in… and well. Yeah, stealth can get you in close but you may not make it out alive. Heh.

I made it to a bunker which I won’t disclose and was fighting off some pretty high level Scorched when two Scorch Beasts attacked. And that was before it got really bad!! FORTUNATELY, a team of very high level dudes (way over Level 100) rushed in to help me and that caused me to fight with renewed vigor, but those dudes had badass power armor and I had left mine back in my camp. So I was way under armored and even my best gun was no match for what was coming at me. There were giant Mierlurks, Deathclaws and I believe I saw the Scorch Beast Queen. Like I said, at level 46, I was way in over my head. But WOW, it was so exciting.

When I got killed, one of the big dudes hit me with a Stimpak and that kept me going for a few more minutes, but the second time I got killed I didn’t ask for help. Unfortunately, when you die, you RESPAWN and–oh, did I mention that during the battle someone dropped a nuclear missile right next to the bunker?–I respawned right at ground zero of the nuke strike. Heh. Long story short, I got out after burning through a dozen of my own Stimpacks and clearing out all my ammo for my best gun. Heh. I did make it to my camp, got my Power Armor and headed back with a Plasma Gatling and I gave a better account of myself and killed my first Scorch Beast. So a grand time was had by all, but I had to checkout later because I was so amped up. Still am!

Back at camp I took a last look at my old camp. It’s come quite a way since I started but I want a more central location, and I plan to make it a cooler and more fun place to visit. This Vendor thing is really a winner for Fallout 76. So here’s a big WAY TO GO!

That’s me checking out my store.
It’s time to move though, so more to come.

CRITICISMS: I totally understand the criticisms this game has received. Even now, after some very good patches, the servers still drop a couple times every four hours, and it can take a long time to get back in. And the lack of NPCs is only partially compensated for with live players.

BRAVOS: The lack of NPCs is compensated a lot by other players who are, for the most part great people. I play on “Pacifist Mode” and can’t be easily attacked by bad actors, but bad actors have their tricks. Nonetheless, today, when the big boys came to save me it was great. I wish I knew who they were but there wasn’t time for taking names, if you get my meaning.

I’m all in on Fallout 76! 13 Star Flag and all.


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