About Darlene

Hi there! To those who already know me, thanks for visiting! For those who don’t, I’m an eccentric original who has never been able to color within the lines. The black sheep of my family, who never could quite fit in, no matter how hard I tried.

A good friend I’ve known most my life recently said to me that I had the soul of an artist, and that is why I see things so differently than others. While I’ll never be confused with Picasso, I have been creative in many ways throughout my life; some sketching, clay modeling, and poetry when I was very young. I continued with poetry throughout most of my life, but lost the spark for it in my late 20’s. I then started to express my pain in a variety of different ways, mostly through graphic design.

While I never saw myself as an artist, I realize now that artistry comes in numerous flavors. My artistry has been not only in graphic design, but also in hair and make-up (I earned my Cosmetology degree before I graduated high school), in poetry, in essays and other writings, singing, and even now in writing my novel. While I love creative projects, there is so little time for “extras” between maintaining my blogs, my print marketing business, teaching, and constantly trying to improve my skills by consuming copious amount of advanced learning on a daily basis.

I love to learn.

If I could afford it, I would be a full-time student and earn a few doctorates. Since I can’t afford it, I read a lot, and learn in any way I can. Now I’m sharing my love for learning on Skillshare.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. I thought I could get into some type of cyber crime field, but that hasn’t been in the cards for me. Now I’m very happy for that though, because I absolutely love freelancing and working from home. Whether I’m blogging, working on my novel, or recording videos for Skillshare, I’m home with my lovely Boston, and free to make my own hours.

I love to write.

I’m a self-published author and I’ve written numerous papers on technology, computer science, programming, and criminal justice over the past 30 years. I’ve put some of these in my blog. Currently, I’m working on a novel which I’m self-publishing in Chapter installments on WattPad. It’s a romantic horror story (is that really a thing? If not, it is now)! My objective is for the reader to fall in love with the two main characters, and to then experience sadness, joy, and fear, as these characters experience a dark nightmare unique to them. My writing has been strongly influenced by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, J.A. Konrath, Sandra Brown, and many more.

I love all that is geeky!

I’m a big tech geek; I started building computers in the late 80’s under Office Systems of Tampa. I also provided PC repair, software installation/upgrades/repair, and hardware installation services.  It was lucrative at that time, as most users weren’t as savvy as they are today. Once, my geekiness and love for computers was rare, but most users seem to do this on their own these days (or just buy new computers every few years since they are so much more affordable).

My attraction to everything geek landed me in the arms of a man even geekier than me. I had never played a computer game (other than solitaire) in my life, but this man was into everything. His favorite at the time was EverQuest and that is all he would do. I tried to get him out of the house for dinner, a movie, or to take me dancing, but he was miserable unless in front of his computer playing EverQuest.

Finally, he agreed to take me dancing one night per week if I played with him for just one hour, 3 times per week. I agreed and ended up in love with the world of Norrath (although he never did take me dancing, the rat).

I love EverQuest II!

I was mesmerized by the beautifully detailed characters, the way I really felt like I was on the beach while watching a 3D-rendering of water flow and ebb against sand and rocks with wind and seagulls filling my speakers, the way my heart raced when I swam underwater and encountered a shark (terriefied of them!) I didn’t want to admit it at first, but as I learned more and more about this immense MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), I started to accept the rising levels of geek-juice in my blood. I met and became friends with new people from all over the world. In the beginning it was just other computer geeks like me, but that was nice because I was able to talk about computer hardware, software, and programming with brilliant, intelligent people (well, type anyway; there wasn’t voice chat in the game at this time). Over time I saw the player-base change. I still met computer geeks like me, but I also met teachers, lawyers, business men and women, and doctors. It seemed EverQuest was appealing to the masses.  To date, it is the most popular PC Game ever made in it’s genre.

The EverQuest franchise has become a world unto it’s own with loyal fans and gamers who have been part of the EverQuest phenomenon for over 15 years. . . like me. I now play EverQuest II (EQ2) when time permits, and it is my passion for entertainment and fun. In revamping this site, I thought that I should include one of my biggest passions in order to give back to the EQ2 community. I plan on having short stories, news about new releases and updates, as well as quest walk-through’s and checklists. Unlike other sites that just list the steps in the quest, I’ll be completing the quests on video with narration. I think those who never heard of EQ2 before will get as much value from this area of my site as the veterans will.

Finally . . .

You may have seen some of my work under Darlene Samuels or Darlene Brown (I’ve been married and divorced twice). I’m so thrilled to be back to my maiden name, Del Castillo, which incidentally means “of the castle” in Spanish. My father used to always argue with his best friend that our family used to be royalty, and hence the name. His friend would just laugh and shake his head saying, “if you were once royalty, you wouldn’t be this damn poor!” Finally, he did some ancestry digging and found out we definitely were of the castle! However, we were servants TO the servants of the castle! Oy vey.

After going from the flair of Del Castillo to Samuels, I felt I lost a bit of intrigue, but at least people could actually pronounce my name. Then from Samuels I became Brown. Truth be told, I almost didn’t marry him simply because I didn’t want my last name to be the color of toilet contents; what a generic name (no offense if you happen to be a Brown… but it wasn’t for me!) I will never get married again; if I do, I’ll probably wind up a Smith.

So, hey, thanks for getting to know me. I would love to get to know you, too. Email me or drop a line through the contact form. I’ll be happy to respond.