12/3/11

Hero's Journey




This is what I wanted: a hero

Someone to help me put out the little fires that crop up around a life

I got: you

teaching me arson
fueling flames that licked my skin
singed my ideals
consumed and scattered them like glowing embers across a sooty sky.

This is what I wanted: a warrior

Someone on my side
Someone at my back through life's battles.

I got: you

teaching me to sow conflict
to beat the plowshare to sword
to embrace its glittering blade
as a woman sheathes her lover
turning submission to power

This is what I wanted: a savior

someone to pull me up
when life overwhelmed
someone to keep me afloat
when I was too tired to go on

I got: abandoned

dropped in the sea of your cast off dreams
left to sink or to claw my way back
from the shipwreck
of all I dreamed you'd be

This is what I wanted: you to be my hero

I got: the hero in me

~~~

This is posted as a contribution to dVerse Poetics. Go here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

12/1/11

Underwater Bailout



When I left off, my escape from a hunter had landed me at the bottom of a river with a horse stuck on my head. If you want to know what hunters have to do with all of this, look here. If you want to know why I'd run away from him, look here.
And if you just can't fathom how I'd get a horse stuck on my head, here's how that happened. If you're ready to see how this story ended, read on:


My captor rescued me from the river, detached the horse from my head, and supplied "vêtements appropriés".
His mistake was turning his back on me.
Mine was stealing his horse.



His pet eagle was trained to fetch.
There was just no escaping this guy.
Besides, he was starting to grow on me.



This is a good place to close the curtain on this little tale and submit it to G-Man's Friday Flash 55. To see what others wrote or join the fun yourself, click here.

*** I'd just like to add that the eagle you see here was crafted by the wonderful @Ferd_Fredrix and is one of many free creations you can find at Phaze Demesnes (239, 184, 26), his sim on Second Life. I hear he makes really cool dragons too. I learned to make an animated blue whale from the Blue Whale project at his website. Thanks Ferd for making props that inspire my stories.

11/27/11

Investigated and Analyzed


Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
I used to wonder what you are,
But up above this world so high,
Compositional data has been gathered from the sky.

Friday night's dream, on Saturday told,
I was sure would come true,
Until facts killed dreams cold.

Lavender's green, dilly, dilly, lavenders blue.
If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.
Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, let the doves coo.
I did my own experiments and I know that's not true.

Star light, star bright
Science and fact feed our minds right,
But I wish we may, I wish we might,
Have our magical thinking back,
If just for one night.

This post was written as a contribution to Sunday Scribblings. Go here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

11/25/11

Why I Shouldn't Write Poetry in the Park



My friend said please write poetry in the park,
On cardboard beside her art.
She wanted rhymes,
Which took a long time.
Free speech right ends
At 10 PM.
We got arrested.
She protested.
But Cop's right--
My rhymes should be illegal and not just at night.

~~
I was going to finish telling you the rest of that other story today. But I got sidetracked. Lucky for me G-Man has friends with friends who have friends in high places. I was sentenced to 55 words. Consider the sentences served, G. ;)

This flash fiction 55 is a contribution to G-Mans Friday Flash 55 and a response to his Thursday blog. Click here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

**The picture above was taken at Occupy SL sim on Second Life. Also, no "real" people were incarcerated in the execution of this 55.

11/17/11

Great Escape

The past couple of weeks I've been using Friday 55 to share the misadventures of a certain erotic romance writer researching the subject of her recent novel.We left off with our poor heroine hanging upside down by her ankles and wondering how you politely refuse an invitation to cherish a fellow's Popsicle. If you've missed the two prior episodes and are wondering why she's hanging by her ankles, look here. If you're wondering what Popsicles have to do with it, look here. If you're dying to know what happened next, see below.



As soon as the hunter cut me down, I dove through a hedge.

Bad move.

His horse was on the other side, and due to something called lag, I wound up attaching it to my head and stuck at the bottom of a river.



Wouldn't you think he'd walk away at that point?

He didn't!

~~~~~~~~~~~~
This post is written a s a contribution to G-mans Friday Flash 55. To see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself, click here.

11/4/11

Research Gone Wrong cont.

Last week I shared a little incident that occurred while I was doing research for Snatch Me at one of Second Life's capture roleplay sims. Virtual worlds are complex to navigate, Second Life especially, and let's keep in mind I was only six months out from my rez date--not sure how old that is in real years--which means I looked and acted like a complete dork most of the time. At risk of ruining my image as a glamorous, sophisticated writer of romance, I will bow to reader requests and tell you what happened next.

Your Popsicle's Melting

What would you do if a giant,
nearly-naked man hooked a leash around your neck?
I took a giant step back.
Yep, right into that same trap.
Once again I was upside down,
nose to nose with...
not his nose.

Could it get worse? Yes.
I think he said this: "So, vous voulez choyer mon popsicle."
???!


~~~
Oh darn, I'm at the word limit again. This little tidbit was posted as a contribution to G-man's Friday Flash 55. Click here to read what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

10/28/11

How Wrong Can Research Go?



I was hanging upside down by my ankles,
caught in a rookie trap, while three hunters dueled over me.
I explained when the winner cut me loose,
"I'm not here for sex submission.
I'm a writer researching virtual roleplay."
He nodded and smiled. A leash snapped out,
coiled around my neck.
"No Anglais," he said.

~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, this wasn't fiction, but it happened in virtual reality, which is sort of fictional, right? I'd tell you what happened next, but I don't want to break any more rules and I'm at the word limit. ;)

This post was written as a contribution to G-Man's Friday Flash 55. Click here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

10/9/11

Quarterz City World is Open

The last of the worlds for the contest is open. This one is bigger and more difficult to find things in than any of the others, so I'll give you some tips. The best way to find your way through a world this size is to hit the fly button and get up in the air above it all. Bird's eye view is your friend. Most of the buildings are not searchable so that will save you time. The ones that are searchable are all over by the lighthouse. The Quarterz City is a post apocalyptic world setting from my newest novel, Snatch Me. More pictures below.

10/1/11

The winner this week is:

I posted this over in Passionatereads.com comments, but im case you aren't checking coomments I put it here too. It is nearly impossible to blog on the phone, so without further chatter: Maria Korolov is this week's gift card winner. Maria I'll be in touch next week from a real computer.

~Bond

9/27/11

Snatched

snatch_me_lc


She loves those first moments after a catch,
when the air is incensed,
tastes of desire.
She’s caught in the twin spotlights
of his perusal,
time frozen but for skidding hearts,
the trickle of sweat down necks,
the rise and fall of breath coming in soft pants.

Chase was given and taken,
but the taking’s not done.
A damp promise,
fragrant with passion’s spice,
invites him to strip away the last layer,
spread his feast on lush meadow grass.

But he waits for it,
letting the moment draw out,
anticipating an age old sign:
a lift of chin,
a tilt of head exposing a slender neck,
the soft flutter of lashes lowering,
a silent surrender of prey to hunter.

~Nara Malone

~~~
This poem is a contribution to the open-mic night at dVerse poets. Go here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

Catch-Up Week

Touch
Jolie and Waster in the Swamp


Hey it's Jolie again. This is catch-up week in the contest. Thanks to all of those already here and working hard to find Nara. This week's feature world is the Quarterz Swamp. It may sound and look intimidating, but it's really quite beautiful. To encourage you all to give it a try, we're going to give anyone who logs into the world a thousand points. Yup, just log in and you'll be in the drawing for the Nook Color. Spend five or more minutes inworld and you'll be in this week's gift card drawing. If you've already made the points you need to get in this weeks drawing(Joder and Michelle), you don't have to do anything new to qualify. This week's prize is a card for $25.00 from your choice of either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Click the link below to get into the new world.

http://www.kitely.com/virtualworld/Nara-Malone/Quarterzswamp

It's not looking good for us finding Nara before she has to leave Thursday. We'll be doing what we can to fill in for Nara at Romanticon, so you all might be on your own for long stretches here on the blog front. The Cook Naked blog will be in place ahead of time and will hopefully post as scheduled. We'll check that when we can. The drawing can't be done in advance but we'll try and get the winner posted in comments from the road. Delivery of the prize will have to wait until Tuesday when we get back. Good Luck in the hunt.

9/25/11

Wastin' a Day with Waster



I talked a friend into letting me log into Kitely with their FB user ID so I could look for Nara myself. Waster, the man who owns my heart, had the same idea. We bumped into each other there.

The first time Waster and I bumped into each other in the swamp, things weren't quite so cozy between us, but that's all changed. We didn't get a lot of searching done. Here's a little video so those of you who can't get into the swamp can see what you're missing.

Go here to explore for yourself:
http://www.kitely.com/virtualworld/Nara-Malone/Quarterzswamp

Credits: Thanks to LindaKellie.com and OpenSim-Creations.com for some of the objects and animations used in the clip. Thanks to FreeplayMusic.com for the lovely instrumental, Ebb and Flow.

9/23/11

The Quarterz Swamp



This is the next world we've opened to search for Nara. Lilly tells me the clues in the last journal suggest the plot bunnies have moved her again.

I have to say, I have a special place in my heart for this spot. It's a setting from, Snatch Me, the book Nara wrote about me and Waster. While the Wasteland and Waster's castle are my favorite spots, the Quarterz Swamp is a mysteriously beautiful.

http://www.kitely.com/virtualworld/Nara-Malone/Quarterzswamp

Have fun searching!

~Jolie

9/18/11

My Baby Blue Whale: I'm in love



This is what I love about virtual worlds like Second Life and Kitely. I can't think of an easier way to put myself in a character's head when it comes to experiences I've never personally had.Now while it's true that the virtual experience isn't quite the same as actually standing on an ice floe getting sprayed by a baby whale I'm trying to teach to swim, it has that quality of wonder. It gets me close enough that my imagination can take me the rest of the way, and when I imagine scenes, the picture in my head doesn't come close depicting what this animation did.

Moving beyond putting an avatar on an ice floe and being able to interact with this scene, I spent several hours learning how to create the whale model and how to animate it. The sense of accomplishment that came with launching this little guy into the water and watching as it splashed and spouted the first time was something akin to giving birth. This was not easy and at a couple of points I thought I should just give it up, but there he is. And despite his imperfections, he's beautiful to me.

If I can get this winter world to load I'll put him on Kitely so you can drop in and play with him yourself, take a copy if you have a world to put him in. I'll make a list of my public Kitely worlds and post him there, so check back in a few days. For those who don't have bandwidth to watch the video, some pics:






***This is an animated baby blue whale I made and animated following the instructions from Ferd Frederix's Blue Whale Project @ http://metaverse.mitsi.com/Secondlife/Code/fish/sculpting-a-fish.htm. Mine is not a perfectly smooth animation, nor is it a perfect replica of a whale, but from the first spout and splash I was in love with this little critter.

Thanks to: Ferd Frederix for the wonderful tutorial, Linda Kellie for her beautiful winter oar, Sim-on-a-Stick, Opensim, Freesound for (http://www.freesound.org/people/schluppipuppie/sounds/7999/) and Freeplaymusic.com for Affair of the Heart

9/16/11

More Extra Credits and a Different World



Okay, for those of you having trouble making the Kitely worlds work, and for those just joining us, here's a big points challenge. Five hundred points. Yep, you read that right--500. Just log in to Nara's island on Second Life.

Now if you already installed Kitely software, or tried to, it would have downloaded a virtual world viewer called Imprudence. This is much easier to use than the Second Life software and you can use it to walk around inside Second Life.

The first thing you need to do is create a user name and password for Second Life. You don't need anything but the free account. Don't download any software.

Now if you click this link http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ascot%20Ridge/57/217/24/ , it should
take you to a page that looks like this:



Click the orange button that says "teleport" then it will ask you which application to use and show you a white box. Imprudence should be listed, select ok. When Imprudence launches, click the down arrow in the grid field and select Second Life.


Type in the user name and password that you set up for Second Life and log in. You should materialize near that horse you see. That's Allie with the horse. She's a character from a novel that hasn't been published yet. She might be around when you arrive, but maybe not in that spot.

Walk around, visit the buildings you see there. This is what Nara calls her mad scientist's lab. Wait until you see the holodeck, but that's another lesson. For now let's see if this works for you. As always, send me pictures :)

9/14/11

Point Standings

Here's the newest set of scores. Michelle and Jody are rocking it. Michelle has earned enough to make it all the way to the final drawing and Jody is darn close. But we're only worried about tomorrow. Bond will draw the winner for the $15.00 gift card tomorrow on the Passionate Reads blog. I hear he has another delicious recipe to share too, so check in and see what's cooking in the dungeon.

Check my math and let me know if I need to make a correction.

Michelle Bauer: 240 points 1713
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar-- 1428
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook-- 10
Follow Nara on Twitter-- 10
Follow blog-- 10
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 19x5=45
Extra Credits= 200
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Nay Moon: 76 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar-- 11
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5=5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit-- 50 pnts for first inworld

Jody Faltys: 768 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--498
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--10
Follow Nara on Twitter--10
Follow blog-- 10
Blog Comments (5pts each)--30
Extra credits-- 200
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Kettle Macauley: 30 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--10
Follow Nara on Twitter--10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Scott Walsh: 30 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world--20
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Daydrmzzz: 25 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5=5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Vanetta Q 15 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5=5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Cara Micheals: 20 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--10
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Charlotte Bell 10 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Lisa Renee Jones 10 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Point Standing in playing for fun(no prizes at all 4 these players) category:

Kelly Jamieson: 320 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook-- 10
Follow Nara on Twitter-- 10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 2x5=10
Getting in world -- 40
Rabbits found -- 5x40 =200
Journal pages found 1x50 = 50
Extra credit

Lilly Blue: 523 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar-- 58
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook-- 10
Follow Nara on Twitter-- 10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5
Getting in world -- 140
Rabbits found -- 6x40=240
Journal pages found -- 50
Extra credit

9/13/11

Extreme Makover Tutorial



Here's the shopping video I promised. It's a little hard to read these menus so, I'll talk you through what happens.

We start with Lilly in the hall outside the gift shop. Most of the items you all would be interested in are on the wall directly opposite the entrance. There are plenty of things you aren't ready to learn about yet. We'll stick to avatars and clothes. Avatars, for our purposes consist of a shape, hair, eyes, and skin.

Lilly wants you to see a noticeable makeover, so she left-clicks the picture of a male avatar. The card comes up asking if she wants to keep that object and she clicks keep. She clicks her inventory button and selects the recent tab (this is the easiest way to find something just added to your inventory). She opens the folder that says male avatar and looks through the contents, right-clicking on one of the skins, and then selecting wear. She does the same for one of the hair offerings, and for a shape and eyes.

Then she right clicks that circular posing platform on the floor because this will let her use the arrow keys to turn the avatar around to see him from the front. When she first clicks "pose", the screen goes gray. I didn't edit that out, because this is something that happens a lot. The avatar has moved and the wall of the room is blocking your view of him. She can use herr arrow keys to turn around until she can see, or use the scroll button on the mouse to zoom in. You'll see Lilly do that.

Now that you see the avatar again, you notice Lilly has transformed herself into a guy, but she's still wearing the clothes she had on before. She looks at the wall, left-clicks the picture of a man's t-shirt, hits keep when the card appears and finds the folder in her inventory under the recent tab. She right-clicks on the color shirt she wants, and selects wear. She repeats the entire process with a picture of jeans posted on the wall. And she is done. As extreme a makeover as you can get. Well there is the fairy avatar with interesting skin and hair colors and wings. That's the fun part of virtual life, you can be whatever you want.

Okay, go shopping. You don't have to turn yourself into a guy. Select a look you like. Stay away from items that say template. Stick with things that say avatar or are clearly clothing of some sort. Have fun. And please send me a picture of your transformation.

**video filmed using Fraps and the Linda Kellie V2 oar on Kitely.

Moving Around Virtual Worlds



Hey, there. Jolie here again. This a demo of how to get around in a virtual world. Now if you click the link here to the shopping world, it'll take you to the Kitely page and you'll have to log in with your Facebook ID. If it's the first time you tried to log in it'll ask you to download the plugin, which is completely safe and virus free. Once that is done you click the big blue button to the right that says enter world. It takes a minute or so for all the software to do its thing and launch the viewer. I want to reassure you that no one but players here in this game will be inworld. The link is not searchable in Google, so you won't run into anyone but players you see interacting here, and there are few enough of you that odds are you'll usually be inworld alone unless you ask someone to meet you there at a specific time.

Now, this video picks up at the point where you arrive inworld. It's just an orneriness of the Internet in that you always materialize facing in a direction opposite of where you want to go. Remember that(hint)when you visit the Wasteland. So you'll materialize in this village and if you turn around you'll see this big brown sign. Lilly opens the view menu and activates the movement control menu. You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to get around. Try them, forward, back, right, left. She's using the mouse with that movement menu so you can see which arrows she's pressing to make her avatar move. You can use the menu bar, like Lilly does, if you find that easier.

Lilly turns around and walks close to the sign so she can read it. Now, before she goes anywhere, she decides she wants to be able to find her way back here easily. So she'll create a landmark. She clicks the world menu and selects "create landmark here". The landmark is automatically saved in the landmark folder of her inventory, but it usually has a name that doesn't describe the location well and once you've saved a few of these you'll want to be able to tell what they were for, so Lilly shows you how to click the inventory button and rename a landmark.

Once the landmark is saved she left-clicks the first name on the signpost, "classroom", and like magic she materializes in a classroom. And of course, she's not looking at anything useful, but once she turns around she can see desks, chairs, and a door. At this point she could use her landmark to get back to the sign, but this is a great opportunity to show you how to deal with doors.

Walk close to them before you try to open them because most doors have a timer and they always close on me right about the time I'm walking through. Once you're close, left click the door with your mouse and then walk through it fast. When Lilly is outside she can see she's not all that far from the signpost, but rather than walk over there, she opens her inventory and clicks on that handy landmark she made and reappears right in front of the signpost.

Now it's your turn. Go to the signpost and make a landmark. Then click the gift shop sign. Kitely sets all new users up with one of two avatars and rather than everyone going around looking the same, it's about time we showed you how to make your avatar reflect your unique personality. I'll post another video on how to do that, but one lesson at a time. Lets work on finding the store first. Walk around, explore the village. See what you can figure out all by yourself and tell us about it in the comments. Fifty points for each new discovery you make on your own. Send me pictures! I want pictures to post.

I wanted to post this video for you last night, but after I did all the edits and hit save, I wound up with a blank reel. I hate when that happens. I'll try to get the next up this afternoon or evening.

***A note about scores: Michelle is doing fantastic. Congrats on working that Big Door toolbar, Michelle. Don't take the score you see there as your final score. It only counts how many times you log in at the bar or tweet or like posts. You get points for lots of things that I have to count manually. I'll try to get you a new point standing by tomorrow. Just off the top of my head, I know Michelle and Joder have earned the 200 points they need to get in this week's drawing. We're giving away a $15 gift card. If you're just joining in, getting in the shopping world will get you half the points you need. Getting a friend to do it will get you the rest. Follow the Passionatereads.com blog and comment there and that's fifty points. Log into that Big Door toolbar with your Facebook ID and click all those buttons. I think you get a bunch of points each time you log on and you can log on fresh once an hour. Joder, I know you were already following Preads, but I'm giving you the fifty points anyway for having such good taste ;).

There are lots of ways to build those point scores, so don't sweat it. Join in, have some fun and points will take care of themselves.

**video filmed using Fraps and the Linda Kellie V2 oar on Kitely. A scripted version of the navigation sign was supplied by Maria Korolov

9/12/11

What's the worst that can happen in a Kitely World?



You get all wet. I hate to admit it, but this happens to me a lot. I'm walking along and suddenly I'm under water. You can't die or drown in a virtual world, so don't be afraid to experiment and explore. If you do land under water, just hit your fly button and then page up. Once you're out of water use your arrow keys to point your avatar where you want to go. To stop flying, click the button that says stop flying. Make sure you're over land before you do :) All these strategic moves are demonstrated in the video.




There's a new world unlocked and it's purely for fun. You won't find clues or plot bunnies. But, you can fish, swim, shop for freebies, or stretch out on a blanket to read a book. Here's a video preview. I've got a how to shop and dress your avatar to suit your tastes. Where is all this leading? Extra credit points. You get a hundred for going shopping and another hundred if you get a friend to go shopping too. If you can, schedule it so you'll both be inworld together. It's so much more fun to explore with a friend. So you get free shopping and extra credit points for the contest.


Click here to check out the new ahopping world.


**video filmed using Fraps and the Linda Kellie V2 oar on Kitely. Music Lazy Beetle supplied by Freeplaymusic.com

9/11/11

Lickable

Pouring vanilla liqueur

Make me lickable
Flavor me with sensation
Finger stir an exotic blend
Find my boiling point
Distill love's liqueur

Measure me out
Two parts naughty
To one part dark
Then lick me up
One drop at a time

This post is in response to the Sunday Scribblings prompt. Click here to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.

9/9/11

Friday 55: Walk Through Me



Walk through me.
Visit my fantasies.
Find my hidden places.



Inside my head--
There's a land of tiger-people,
wolf-people, bear-people,
blogging bunnies, flying pigs.



Dance in a moonlit swamp.
Poke through ruins in a lost city.
Discover beauty hidden under my wastelands.



Sit at my table.
Take food from my thoughts.
Make them new in you.

****

The door to the next world is open and everyone who wants to have a look is welcome to walk through.

OPEN THE DOOR

********

This post is part of g-man''s Friday Flash 55. Click here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

9/8/11

We have our first winner

Bond and Kelly Jamieson are cooking up French toast Canadian style. And we have the first winner in the Nara's Nook contest. While you're over there seeing who won, leave a comment and subscribe to the blog for another 50 extra credit points.

Cook Naked: Oh Canada! French Toast! Ah, bonjour, mes amis, I want to thank all of you who are helping with the search for Nara. I know everyone is anxious to see the winner of today's drawing for their choice of a $10 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. But first, we need to feed the search parties and Kelly Jamieson, who is desperate to get her crit partner back, joins me today to help support your efforts. I don't know if you knew, Kelly is from Canada. She's a hockey fana … Read More

via Passionate Reads

9/7/11

Quick start and challenge for those just joining

The hunt and contest were designed so that anyone joing as late as the last week would find it easy enough to ear the points they need to make it to a thousand points to get into the drawing for the NookColor.

Just finding the rabbits and clues will get you to the two hundred pints you'll need each week from here on out. Then Toolbar is another way to accumulate a lot of points fast. Our front runner has really learned to work the toolbar.

Ad if all that weren't enough, I'm going to be posting Extra Credit tasks here on the blog that will let you get your score up quickly. Today the task is simple. Go to Siobahn Muir's blog, comment on the interview she did with Bond about Nara's contest, and follow her blog. You get fifty points for doing both. The big drawing for the first winner is tomorrow. Check for the winner and another great Cook Naked recipe from Bond and author Kelly Jamieson at Passionatereads.com

9/6/11

Point Standings (check your scores)

I think I've found every point each of you earned, but I'm fallible. If I made a mistake email me and I will correct your score. The two areas hardest to track are your blog comments and your Twitter follows. Make sure I have those numbers right for you. Also, keep in mind that to make it into this week's drawing (Thursday, Sept. 8th), you only have to be on the list of people competing for a prize. Points below are the tally at noon ET 9/6

Drums are rolling, cymbals clashing...

Point Standings for those competing for a prize:

Michelle Bauer: 240 points

Points earned with Big Door Toolbar-- 180
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook-- 10
Follow Nara on Twitter-- 10
Follow blog-- 10
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 4x5=20
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Nay Moon: 76 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar-- 11
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5=5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit-- 50 pnts for first inworld

Jody Faltys: 61 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--16
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--10
Follow Nara on Twitter--10
Follow blog-- 10
Blog Comments (5pts each)--5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Kettle Macauley: 30 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--10
Follow Nara on Twitter--10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Scott Walsh: 30 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world--20
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Daydrmzzz: 25 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5=5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Vanetta Q 15 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5=5
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Cara Micheals: 20 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--10
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Charlotte Bell 10 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Lisa Renee Jones 10 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook--10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook--
Follow Nara on Twitter--
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)
Getting in world
Rabbits found
Journal pages found
Extra credit

Point Standing in playing for fun(no prizes at all 4 these players) category:

Kelly Jamieson: 190 points
Points earned with Big Door Toolbar--
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook-- 10
Follow Nara on Twitter-- 10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 2x5=10
Getting in world -- 20
Rabbits found -- 2x40 =80
Journal pages found 1x50 = 50
Extra credit

Lilly Blue: 153 points

Points earned with Big Door Toolbar-- 58
Friend Nara on Facebook-- 10
Like Nara's Author Page Facebook-- 10
Follow Nara on Twitter-- 10
Follow blog--
Blog Comments (5pts each)-- 1x5
Getting in world -- 20
Rabbits found -- 40
Journal pages found
Extra credit

9/5/11

Point Values for tasks you complete

Hey! Jolie here. I've updated the Important Posts page, so look there for links to important information all in a handy linked list. I'll link this post there too.

I'm working on an update for where everyone is in the points. These are the values I'll be applying to the tasks you've completed.

50 points to the first person to get inworld

50 points for finding a journal page

40 points for each clue you get from a bunny (three clues hidden in each world)

20 points for the first time you check into a new world

10 points for liking Nara Malone Author page

10 points for following Naramalone.com blog

10 points for following nara_malone on Twitter

5 points for each comment on the Naramalone.com blog (must be relevant)

Plus all points the Big Door Toolbar tallies for you.

We're finding bunnies and pages

Great progress today.

Nay Moon was the first one into the virtual world so she gets the fifty points for being first. It looks like at least three others besides Nay have made it inworld. Two bunnies have been located and one person found a journal page. As soon as I post this video, I'll put up a list of the point standings.

There are three rabbits out there so keep looking. The bunny clues should lead you to the journal page. A couple of you have asked how to get the bunny to give you its secret when you find it. you right click on that little magic carpet the bunny is sitting on. and a pie menu will pop up. Click "Touch" in the menu. A message will pop up asking you if you want to keep or discard the item the bunny is giving you. Click "keep", then click the "keep" button on the clue card. You might want to write down what the clue says before you click keep. It'll be saved in your inventory, but I'm betting most of you don't know how to find things in your inventory yet. We'll get to that one day, but let's stick with learning one thing at a time.

Here is a video demonstration Lilly made. Note that the first time she right clicks here, she makes a mistake and clicks on the grass so the "Touch" button is grayed out. The next time she clicks the magic carpet and you can see it is highlighted in yellow. Then you can click the "touch" button. After Lilly saves the card. She uses the mouse cursor to show you the location bar at the top of your viewer. Those are a clue to where you are in the virtual world. If you watch that bar as you walk around you'll see those numbers change. I don't know if you can make out the numbers in the video, but if you can, you should be able to find your first rabbit.

9/4/11

You're getting in the first world!

You all are awesome. I've seen on the admin log that players are getting into the first world and searching for Nara. I even had a question from a player about how you pry a secret from a bunny, so I think someone may have found something.

This is fabulous. I know we're asking a lot of people who are not familiar with virtual worlds to take the plunge. It can sound intimidating but the Kitely crew has done an excellent job of making virtual space accessible to average users.

It's great to see so many of you taking the challenge. I may have the winner for first in a virtual world points. I'm waiting for a confirmation from the player.

As always I'm available to answer any questions. Feel free to email me if something has you baffled, or even if you just want to say hey: snatchme.jolie on gmail.com



9/3/11

Update: Happy Labor Day Weekend

I have to say I have a whole new respect for working mothers. We now have three people filling in for Nara and we're all struggling to keep up with the pace. Nara's sister, Dorianna, took Nara's place to run a four mile race this morning.
Poor woman, sisterly love is amazing.

Now Dorianna and Bond are in the kitchen making homemade ice cream and birthday cake for the boy with a birthday this weekend. I'm going nuts trying to manage Facebook posts (almost everyone has the letter I was trying to send).

Thinking about how many women juggle all these tasks on a daily basis--maybe not the same things Nara does, but I'll bet you it's just as many things, or more. I'm thinking maybe we should let the plot bunnies keep Nara for awhile so she can get some rest. All you working moms out there, don't you ever wish you could run away, or at least be carried off by a handsome rogue for awhile?

Was it Anne Tyler who wrote a book about a woman taken hostage in a robbery and every time the robber tried to let her go she said he shouldn't do that just yet? I get that. I guess those of us who like capture fantasies all have unique reasons. I can see why a woman might want to be carried off, kept in a little hideaway with no big decisions to make and no To Do list to keep up with. Toss in a handsome rogue, determined to keep you with him for your own well being....er...

I know, I'm getting way off the subject.


You're all doing great so far. I see those numbers in the toolbar ticking up. I do not have any pictures of anyone from inworld yet, so if you sent one, I didn't get it. Let me know if I should have yours. Lilly was in, but she's not officially participating. She's trying to make a video tutorial on how to pry secrets from a rabbit. Now that sounds like a movie worth watching.

I'm going to get back to tallying that list of who has earned which extra points.

9/2/11

Nara's Nook Contest UPDATE

Hey,

Jolie here. It's great to see you all finding the login toolbar and starting to total up points. Thanks to all of you joining the search for Nara.

We'd like to send each of you a message on your Facebook account, so you'll have a note with useful tips to help you along as we go forward. We sent the friend requests and we're waiting on approvals. One ID we couldn't get to work, so if you don't have a request from us, friend Nara so we can find you.

For now, all of you who signed up are in the first drawing for the gift card.

As a special bonus, we'll award 20 points to everyone who logs into Nara's Nook World on Kitely. We'll give 50 points to the first one to get in. Remember to click that snapshot button in the tool bar, save the picture to your computer and send it to me, snatchme.joliemack on gmail. I'll award the extra points to the picture that gets to me with the earliest timestamp.

Good Luck!


Updates on finding Nara

Bonjour, mes amis. I'm sorry there is no good news to share about finding Nara yet. We're still recruiting helpers in the search. I want to thank some of our friends for helping.

Siobhan Muir did an interview with me about Nara and the hunt for her. Swing by her blog and give her a big thanks.

Lilly Blue has been helping with putting posts on Facebook for Jolie and figuring out how the BigDoor bar works. Thanks, Lilly. You see her name on the leader board but she is playing along for fun, not points.

Jolie says I can now log-in as Nara on her Facebook page. I still don't dare to risk logging in with her ID to the virtual worlds. If she is already there and I log in as her, what would happen? I don't want to do anything that might lead to us losing her forever.

We have new people continuing to sign up. We're planning to get an email out to them today on their Facebook accounts and let everyone know how they can help in the search for Nara. When Jolie gets the letter done, I will try sending it from Nara's account.

Once again, thank you so much for helping us find Nara.

9/1/11

Nara's Nook Contest: Nara Missing?

From September 1, 2011

Hey there, Bond and soon-to-be virtual-world explorers. Just checking in to let you know I'm on the job. Nara is not the most organized person, so I'm having to untangle this web of connectivity she left behind.

For those of you who are just joining us, Nara has gone missing. Nara's sexy chef from The Dungeon Gourmet, Bond, gives the details here. Personally, I think the plot bunnies have her, but we'll get to all that as soon as I have a chance to post the journal pages Bond found.

Don't worry. We will find her and get her back here to take charge. I managed to find the first world she had planned for you to visit. It's amazing, a perfect beginner training ground. But you've seen the video she posted so you know that.

To get into the world click here. Login with your Facebook ID. You'll see a big blue button on the right that says something like Enter World. Click that and follow the instructions they give you. It'll install plugins and a viewer that will enable you to walk around in the worlds Nara created. Don't worry, it's all virus and spam free. I see email on Nara's laptop from editor Grace Bradley and author Kelly Jamieson, that indicates both of them tried it with no problems. I'll put their pictures up on Nara's Facebook page. When you get inworld, look down at the bottom bar of your viewer window. Clicking on that fly button is the easiest way to get around--pageup takes you higher and pagedown takes you lower. Pick a nice spot and click that snapshot button in the bottom toolbar. Save the picture to your hard drive and send it to me SnatchMe.JolieMack on gmail. I'll put your pictures up on Facebook too.

You can go give that a try and if you have problems or questions put them in the comments for this post. If you see Nara, please give us a shout. I'll be here for awhile getting these journal pages up. After I'm done here, I'm headed for Nara's Facebook page to make a folder for the pictures of our players so Nara can see them when she's back.

8/30/11

River Junkie

2009-07-26_19-42-37

Where adjectives cling like thorned vines
along weed-choked banks
Where adverbs form rock gardens,
sinking prose in their hollows
Where commas gather in the bends,
claw-like strainers snaring the untrained
Where stretches of boiling pontification,
or fancy turns of phrase, swamp minds
Where plump poetic pillows,
or thoughtless critique, splinter fine craft
Where I fell in love with tones resonating
underneath the surface
Where the play of light
around recursive lines seduced me
Where the flow of words is my addiction,
a bad-boy lover I can't give up

This post was written in response to this week's Carry On Tuesday prompt and in response to dVerse Poets Open Mic Night. Click the links to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.


***I'm holding a contest on the blog, sort of a blog warming party for my new digs. Over the next six weeks visitors here will have the opportunity to win various gift cards or the grand prize of a NookColor. Keep checking that contest page tab. I'll be adding more info daily. We've got a serial story, clues to find, and a mystery to solve. All are welcome to play along. Contest launches September 1st.

8/29/11

Getting Ready for the big Nara's Nook Contest



I was out in Nara's Nook (the first virtual world we'll visit in the contest) today hiding the objects you'll be looking for. I had a great time and learned a ton about building and scripting and at the end of it all I flew over to the cabin, sat down on a old crate at the end of the boat dock and watched the sun set. What you see here is the movie clip I recorded sitting there. That's just what the world looks like. The sun rises in the morning and sets at night. You hear birds singing and water lapping at the shore. I like watching the horses graze. Sometimes I go out there and sit while I write. It's the perfect place to unwind and catch up with yourself at the end of a busy day. You'll see for yourself on Thursday.

If you're not signed up for the contest, click here and sign on. We're going to have so much fun.

8/28/11

Missing Muse

From August 28, 2011

I don't sleep much. Lately, I don't sleep. Have you ever felt like something was creeping up on you? I don't mean a physical thing, but a change, something that will turn your life inside out.

That's how I feel now. I wish I had a magic mirror or crystal ball that would give me a glimpse of what's coming. I feel like I have this countdown clock ticking away in the background of my life and I don't know if it's counting down to something bright and beautiful or if it will blow this rickety built little world of mine into so much straw.

The ticking drives me. For some reason I can't explain, it drives me to build digital worlds in the cloud. I guess I do it because it feels like progress even if it isn't.

I haven't been able to write a thing worth keeping. Sometimes I manage to bang out a few lines of a flash story or a poem. They puddle on the page, formless globs refusing to take a shape that will make them shine.

The muse I need is out there. I feel it. It's as if there is a wall I just have to get past to reach it. I know there is a way. There's some rope or ladder or magic beanstalk growing seed to get me there. I think that's the change that is stalking me. I hope it is.

When I try to lay down, I hear it scurrying and scratching, just at the edge of my awareness. Just out of reach.

*************
This post was written in response to this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt. Click here to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.

***I'm holding a contest on the blog, sort of a blog warming party. Over the next six weeks visitors here will have the opportunity to win various gift cards or the grand prize of a ColorNook. Keep checking that contest page tab. I'll be adding more info daily. We've got a serial story, clues to find, and a mystery to solve. All are welcome to play along. Contest launches September 1st.

S.S. Petunia, listing hard to port!

8/27/11

The Rulz: Nara's Nook Contest

OnTopOfTheWorld_001

Above is another preview of where you'll be going in my Nara's Nook contest. The grand prize is a NookColor and the first place we'll be playing to win prizes is at my Nara's Nook world at Kitely. More on how to get there later. First we have to get the game details out of the way.

Rules

I hate rules. As an author I'm either bending them or breaking them.  Now, I find myself in the unusual circumstance of having to make a few. I'm going to be asking all of you to try stepping outside your comfort zones, so I guess it's only fair that I should have to step outside mine.

What we have here is an interactive story/game. Since this is both a story and a game, I'll explain each separately. 

Story
On the launch date (September 1, 2011) you'll be shown the first chapter of a six part mini-mystery. To unlock the next chapter you'll have to search for objects containing clues hidden in a virtual world. There are six worlds and six chapters--one for each week of the game.

Game
The game aspect allows you to earn points to be entered in the drawing for the weekly prizes. Week one--all you have to do is sign up to participate in the contest to be entered in the drawing. For each succeeding week you'll have to have earned enough points to reach the next level of the game, roughly 200 points a week, to be entered in the drawing for that week's prize. 

Earning Points
Now how do you earn points? Some points are very easy to earn. If you look at the bottom of my blog you'll see a BigDoor toolbar. That will be the easiest way to earn points. You log in there with your Facebook account (this is one of the reasons you need a Facebook account to play). The more times you log in there during a day, the more points you get. Interacting with my author page on Facebook gets you points, sharing through Twitter or Facebook earns points. If you share a link to my blog on Facebook or Twitter and someone clicks it to visit, you get influence points.

It may be possible to get to the next level with the toolbar alone, but you'll get big points if you log into the virtual world and find clues. Forty points for each clue and another fifty when unlock a chapter. It's more challenging to acquire points in the virtual worlds, but more rewarding, so hopefully you'll give that a try. You need a Facebook ID to log in to the  world too. 

Sorry about tying this to Facebook. That condition was set by the makers of the tools we'll be using to play. I have tested all of these tools and plugins. Nothing bad has happened to me, my account info, or my computers as I tried out the tools. I've tested on three versions of Windows and two versions of MAC OS.

How To Get Started:


Do not log into the BigDoor toolbar yet!!

Save that for launch day. I can't reset the point count and I don't want to have to do the math to figure out what points were accumulated before launch day and have to be disqualified. 

All you need to do to be part of the contest is to read the legal stuff on the contest page and if you decide you're eligible and want to play, leave a comment at the bottom of that page telling me the Facebook name you'll be playing under.

Prizes

Week One
Drawing for a $10 gift card*

Week Two
Drawing for a $15 gift card*

Week Three
Drawing for a $20 gift card*

Week Four
Drawing for a $25 gift card*

Week Five
Drawing for a $10 gift card*

Week Six
Drawing for the Grand Prize -- NookColor

As my special thank you for participation the highest point scorer will be awarded a special surprise gift.

*Gift card will be winners choice of either an Amazon or Barnes and Noble 
e-gift card.

If you have any questions post them in the comments for this post.

8/26/11

Nook Contest: Preview of First World



Here's a preview of the first world we be exploring in the contest. I made this with Frapps (a program I never used before) and edited it in Openshot Video Editor for Linux (first time for this too) so you're not getting blow your brains out video art here, but you'll get an idea.

Check back tomorrow for more on how we'll play the game.


Credits: A preview of my world at Kitely. This world has a minimum of trees and buildings. Rooms are lightly furnished. This provides new virtual world explorers a simple environment where they can learn to navigate in an avatar body. Credits: Music-- Free to Fly by David Flavin and Roland Rudzitis. This simulation is a modified world based on the Maya Pyramid Oar by Dave Pentecost and populated with items from Open Sim Creations and KatiJack Studios.



Housewarming

hobo_001_use

All moved in.
Used to be I forwarded mail.
Remember mail?
Now I forward domain names.

The curtains are hung, fresh paint on the walls.
Had an earthquake while I was hanging pictures.
I think one's still crooked.

Stay awhile. Put your feet up.
Be it ever so humble,
This blog is my cyber home.

Home_use

This post was written as part of G-man's Friday Flash 55. Click here to join the fun or see what others wrote.

***I'm holding a contest on the blog, sort of a blog warming party. Over the next six weeks visitors here will have the opportunity to win various gift cards or the grand prize of a ColorNook. Keep checking that contest page tab. I'll be adding more info daily. We've got a serial story, clues to find, and a mystery to solve. All are welcome to play along. Contest launches September 1st.

8/23/11

The Never-ending Story

Witch's brew made with dry ice



Was there a beginning--
a time when that scratching,
papery scurrying wasn't?
A time before ideas
feeding in the shadows
were lured in with scattered crumbs
and incantations,
spun onto a page,
then shredded.

Ceramic clinking--
mortar and pestle
grinding frail symbols to dust.
Blended with sweat and tears,
forming the paste,
binding the thousand bones
that frame a tale.

Bubbling black broth
consumes:
one eye of critic,
six toads and a frog.
A pair of princes
and a rogue plot bunny
tossed in for spice.

Watching the plot thicken.
Chanting.
Stirring.
A mist rises,
glittering metaphors
clinging to bones like dew.

Alchemy
adds flesh,
breathes life into form.

Dragons are slain.
Damsels rescue princes.
Princes find the magic amulet.
Spells broken.
Kingdoms  freed.
People rejoice.
The fire goes out.
The gate clangs shut.
The drawbridge drawn.
Tale Told.

Time to say goodbye.

No!
It needs a touch more something...
Hair of dragon?
Rose petals plucked by the light of a moonbow?

Was there a time when this tale wasn't?
Will there be an end?

This post was written in response to this week's Carry On Tuesday Prompt. Click here to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.

8/19/11

What He Wants

CHAIN CHAIN CHAIN

What he wants is the first whisper in my ear
before my eyes have opened
What he wants peels back the covers
pries me from the bed
chains me to my desk

Time to serve
I count out my sentence
I need three more
I need five less
his want owns me for 55 words

This post was written as part of G-Man's Friday Flash 55. Click here to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.

8/18/11

What You Should Know About Shadows

Black white

Shadow Facts:
A shadow is a void, an impenetrable absence.
There are the dark puddles cast by forms light can't penetrate.
Mountains cast the rain shadows we call desserts.
Vacuums cast sound shadows, pure pockets of silence.
Death is a shadow the living can't penetrate.

Shadow Being Aliases:
Old Hag
Crushing Demon
Umbra (darkest part of any kind of shadow)
Pressing Ghost
Depression
Orgun Oru (nocturnal warfare)
Common theme here--malevolence

Shadow Being Facts:
They slink into the world from the earth's umbra,
from the umbra of the night (that still, silent time before dawn),
from the umbra of the room where their intended sleeps.
The source, or void, that casts a shadow being remains a mystery.

Shadow Attack Facts:
By the time the intended is aware,
it's too late.
Fang-like cold pierces bones,
immobilizing the body,
sucking warmth,
sucking light,
sucking sound,
muting screams.
Weight, like a mountain on the chest,
crushes breath.

Shadow Survival Guide:
Focus.
Petrification turns wood to stone;
Shadows do the same to victims.
Movement equals survival.
Moving mountains would be easier.
Start small.
Move a pinky. Bat an eye. Win you.
Movement fractures the ice-lock,
sends the beast scurrying
back to the pit that spawned it.

Shadow Defense Strategies:
Keep watch.
Keep a light on.
Sleep in the day.
Know how to tell good shadows from bad--
bad ones have an eye.

8/16/11

Good Girls Will

Nov 30 - women drive in Saudi!

Everyone knows good girls will

 go blind
*looking at that
*reading that
*touching that

 go insane
*learning too much
*thinking too hard
*touching that

 get a reputation by
*befriending too many boys
*testing traditions
*letting him touch that

So if I'm
*not blind
*not insane
*don't have a reputation
I must be a very bad girl

This post was written in response to this week's Carry On Tuesday prompt. Click here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself. 
This poem is also part of Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub

8/7/11

A Writer's Dream: Getting to Pleasure

Dragon and moon / Dragon y Luna

Once I found a secret story hidden behind a rabbit's picture on a web page. Clicking the link revealed a journal kept by a writer. It's been a while now, but the part I remember most was that she found a magic mirror. I don't recall why she was drawn to put it on her desk and stare into it before she started writing. She said it was as if all her internal resistance to getting down to work vanished when she did that. Writing wasn't hard when she looked in that mirror. Telling stories turned from struggle to pleasure. She could write for hours, forgetting who she was, where she was. She became a part of her story. I don't recall what happened to the writer, or even where I found her story. I do remember she raved about that mirror and how hard writing was before she found it.

I want a mirror like that. I want a pill. I want a magic purple crayon. I want a way out of the war that rages every day around this story I'm trying to finish. Too often I feel like I am locked outside my story. I have to slay dragons, cross a moat, scale castle walls, and search a dark dungeon to find the words I'm after. I want a magic spell to chant, or a mystical ritual to perform. I need a tool to make words flow. I want writing to be a pleasure. And it would be, if I could only find the key that will fit the lock that would set my words free to have their adventure and bring home a happy ending.

It's not that I can't ever get lost in a story. It's not that I don't know the pure pleasure of forgetting who and where I am so completely that it feels like I traveled to another world. It's just that it takes an awful long time to slay the dragons that stand between me and what I want to say. With this particular story there's a legion of dragons between me and the end. There has to be an easier way. There has to be some way to make writing pure pleasure.


~Nara

S.S. Petunia, listing hard to port!
 What's with the rabbit?.

This post was written in response to the Sunday Scribblings prompt: pleasure. Click here to see what others have contributed here.

8/5/11

The Plot Bunny's Tale


Before Nara ever heard the term plot bunny,
bunnies showed up in her stories.
One taught a tiger how to teleport -- The Tiger's Tale.
One taught  the hero how to use Google -- The Mesmerist's Tale.
Now they've turned up on her blog -- Plot Bunny's Tale:
An internet adventure to feed your head.
Watch for rabbits.

~~This Is Not Nara
***

Apparently this post is a contribution to the Friday 55. I just want to say, Nara (me)is not responsible for what stray rabbits post on her blog. Apparently this adventure can't start until I follow that plot bunny down the rabbit hole. Not gonna happen. No way that's happening. I've never heard of The Plot Bunny's Tale! I've got enough stories to write and I'm already stuck in a plot hole. I'm headed over to G-Man's Friday 55 to get my head fed on some great flash fiction.

***
Pssst...If you don't get this (technique stolen from G-man) click What's with the rabbit?.
S.S. Petunia, listing hard to port!

7/31/11

Tides

Returning tide

I don’t know how things were back then, but I like believing when they lifted me from the warm sea of my mother’s body, they tucked me right into your arms. I like thinking there was a small window of happiness for you and mother, before the tide turned and she slipped away.

I was born in Houston, a city tucked between two rivers and Galveston Bay. My earliest memories are of running to keep up with you in the foaming surf and you swinging me up high to ride in the crook of your arm when the big waves came.

I learned the art of storytelling listening to tall Texas tales while you shaved each morning. I smeared shaving cream on your face, molding it into peaks and valleys, a whitecap ocean for your razor to ride. Your stories always ended on a hook as you splashed after shave, the scent of citrus and cedar riding currents of moist air. We were both too young to envision a day when you couldn't shave yourself.

Galveston was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar, not because I liked it. I practiced for weeks as a birthday present to you, because you said it brought back memories of walking that beach with Mother. I didn't know then that a song could unreel memories like a movie on a screen, breathe life into the past, make it vivid enough to burn -- like a stitch in your side.

My memories unwind: you buckling me into an orange Mae West, me clinging tight to the splintery sides of a rowboat, watching you lean into the weight of wooden oars, the creak of metal oar locks, the chop and slap of the bay against the hull, the wind ruffling your hair like water, the first silver glistening like whitecaps on your curls. You loved watching birds in the wetlands, whispering their names, your voice reverent as if each was a prayer.

Losing you was a punch I saw coming from a long way off and it still knocked me flat. When grief shriveled me, I took to the water. I whispered the names of the birds when they took to the sky: blue heron, egret, osprey, eagle, king fisher. It wasn't the same without you.

The shoreline changes with every turn of the tide. One heartbeat fades into silence and a new heart picks up the tick of life. One winter carried you away and the next brought a new baby.

I don’t know what it’s like where you are. If you are. But I like to believe you watched when I first held your namesake, when I pressed my nose to downy hair, nuzzled a small cheek soft as breath. I like to think you were with us when, for just a moment, time turned back like the tide--the scent of citrus and cedar rode the air, and I heard waves kissing the shore in Galveston.

~~~
Happy birthday, Daddy.

~~~~

The theme for this week's poetry potluck is: love and it's not being there. While this isn't so much about lovers, it's about finding healing and peace after losing someone important. It's still a work in progress. You can see what others have contributed to Poetry Potluck here.

7/29/11

Auto Draft

Night Watch

watching and waiting


Night makes love to me from its darkest heart.
Solitude scalding retro innocence.
Twinkling eyes, a turquoise universe
send chill bumps up my arms.

Owl flute, cricket violin,
spilling seed
haunting notes running over my skin.
Micro alchemy.

Cold breath against the toe
peeking from under cover.
Intrastimulation eating thoughts,
dissolving reality with onyx tears.

~Nara

This post was written as a contribution to G-man's Friday Flash 55. Click here to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

7/26/11

Lost

Kristen - hands

I get lost
Somewhere between coffee and breakfast
I got lost
I tumbled through cream rendered clouds
into the black caffeinated depths of an all-night diner
And there I was ensnared by the couple making love with their eyes
over juice and toast

I get lost
Somewhere between ordering hash-browns and dousing them in ketchup
I got lost
Before the first forkful found my mouth
A woman extracted herself from a cup of coffee
with a notebook and pen
Inky blue lines curled up from coffee-stained pages to ensnare me

I get lost
Somewhere between the gleam in your eye and the promise in your smile
I got lost
I tumbled into possibilities
Where I might go
Who I might be
If I don't let you take me home.

~Nara

I got lost too. Somewhere on the way to doing what I was supposed to do, my hand wandered to my pen, and the pen wandered to the page. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm trying to tell myself.

This poem shared on dVerse poets Open Link Night. See what others shared.

The Picture In My Head

Alone with the great sky of water

I write to pictures. Sometimes I browse Flickr for ideas. Sometimes it's a picture I see with my eyes shut. This is what I see right now:

A perfect blend of shadow and light rendered the snow leopard invisible as he crept sleek and silent through frosted woods. Where woods broke away to a ball field, he broke into a run, sending powdery snow up in plumes, his lean belly skimming just a feather’s breadth above the ground. Wind ruffled his fur, sang in his ears.

The forest thickened on the other side, but it was like welcoming arms closing around him, inviting a companion. He craved the comfort of a mate’s body, feminine heat and a welcoming purr. He had to settle for the feathery fingers of a fir tree sliding over his back, the cold kiss of snow on his nose and lashes.

There could never be a mate for him, no female to race under the stars at his side. He ran from his solitude, from the unique combination of gifts that set him above and apart from his own kind. Even among the males, ritual protocols of respect kept him isolated, friendless.

Closer to the water he burst through the skeletons of blackberry vines weaving themselves like an impenetrable fence. Thorns raked his fur and pricked his skin—sent the thought of a female’s claws and teeth, the feral abandon of mating, skimming through his mind. He ran faster, as if he could outrun fate.

Solitude was a life sentence no one could change.

He splashed into the ice fringed creek and ran downstream, letting nature’s version of a cold shower numb his hunger. As the stream bed curved sharply and opened on a woodland pool, he slowed. Something faint, desperate, nudged his attention away from himself and opened his mind to the soft stirrings and secretive rustles of life around him.

At the edge of the pool he paused, drawing cold air deep into his lungs, savoring the rush of energy that came with anticipation, using it like a drug to shove cravings that threatened to shred him into the background. His keen hearing tuned to the sound of thousands of tiny flakes touching the earth, the combined voices amplified, shifting pitch to impart a whispered warning--loud enough to prick his awareness, too soft to interpret.

From my WIP, sequel to the Tiger's Tale by Nara Malone

I'm deep in this shapeshifter project getting it ready for submission and I can't get my mind to go anywhere else. I'm even dreaming in revisions. This post was written in response to this week's Carry On Tuesday prompt. Click here to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.

7/22/11

Stardust

Falling Star

You were around before I was
I never thought you'd be gone before I was
I watched your stars reaching for the heavens
And I mourned with you when they fell
Maybe I took you for granted
Maybe you'll find a way to rise again
Today I mourn again
Watching Atlantis descend
Goodbye NASA

This post was written as part of G-Man's Friday Flash 55. Click here to see what others have written or join the fun yourself.

7/19/11

DNA

cheetah face woman
Cheetah Face Woman by dreamglowpumpkincat210 on Flickr photosharing

She was patchwork
She was
counterfeit
plagiarized
poly cotton
implanted id
She was volatility merged with chaos
She's why
neither borrower nor lender should humans be

She was gourmet blended DNA
She was
germinated
grafted
harvested
discarded
She was manufactured mammal no one had a taste for
She's why
neither borrower nor lender should humans be

She was hope in a hopeless form
She was
too animal to be human
too busy clawing her way into her humanity to care
too human to let our disapproval matter
too full of life to die
She will test our humanity through her existence
She's why
neither borrower nor lender should humans be

~Nara

This post was written in response to this week's Carry On Tuesday prompt. Go here to see what others have written or to join in the fun yourself.

7/17/11

Captivatingly Creative Marketing

Butterflies from side

I had no idea what to write for today's Sunday Scribblings prompt--captivating. I decided to sleep on it last night. I decided to let it keep simmering this morning while I got down to work on my WIP. I still didn't have an idea when it was time to take a break for the morning run. It wasn't until I was posting my word count for #amwriting on Twitter that my attention was captivated by a brilliantly creative marketing tool--a little game.

Now I get paid to solve people's computer problems, so I guess I was a prime target for an invitation to test my problem solving skills. I clicked the tweet link to the game. It looked so easy--guess the password and type it in the box. I nailed the first few pretty fast. So could you. There were fifty levels and I was at level five in under five minutes. Each time I guessed a password the page would reload and display a new image or block of text that served as a hint. The ways in which the hint was delivered were clever and fun. I was stuck for a while at level 8 but made it to 17 before I forced myself to stop and save the play for later.

The most brilliant part of this little game is that it teaches you a bit about computer security, entertains you, and delivers a marketing message in a palatable way. I mean, let's be honest, reading about botnets, scalability, data centers, insert buzz word, insert buzz word, insert buzz word, is about as much fun as having your toenails extracted. The message they deliver about their project is pretty much the same message all their competitors deliver. Here's a sample:

"No matter what TIME it is, Qwest's national network with built-in security ensures that your data is both accessible and protected."

But--and I'm sure you'll see this before I point it out--there's a clue hidden in the text that tells you where to look for the password to the next level. They do that all the way through their game. I scrutinized each line of marketing message, each picture, watched YouTube video worth double yawns and watched it all the way through. I bet you would too. And that's why this is brilliant. If it works to get people interacting with a message this dry, think of how well something similar could work for your message--which, of course, is way more exciting. And I don't think you have to be a programmer to come up with creative marketing that is educational, intriguing, and fun. If you do whip up something let me know and I'll blab about your creativity with as much enthusiasm as I have about Qwest's. BTW, I don't know anyone who works there and have no personal interest in the company.

I haven't figured out how to apply this yet. But I love a good problem to solve, so I will.

You can test your problem solving abilities at Ultimate Problem Solver. See if you have what it takes to earn a place on the Ultimate Problem Solver Wall of Fame. Let me know how far you go in the comments. If anyone makes it past level 17, leave me a hint.


This post was written in response to this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt. See what others wrote or join the fun yourself here.

7/15/11

Friday 55: One-Eyed Wonderings

Kurt Shadow 3
Kurt Shadow 3 by Lil Shepherd on Flickr photo sharing

One house with two waifish cats in the yard.
One named Trouble and he wears the name well.
One one-eyed cat who wears my love well.
One day she was here. And the next, not.
Wondering if my phone's ghost hunter app could find her.
Wondering if it doesn't would that be a good sign.

~Nara

This post is part of G-Man's Friday Flash 55 party. Click here to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.