9/6/17

Storm Runners: A Storm for the Future



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The idea  for Storm Runners was born during Super Storm Sande. With the hurricane seasons running much later and starting much earlier than they used to—sometimes we have tropical storms forming in Atlantic in January or February a—the potential for storms that are tropical in origins but developing into blizzards, or what some call snowicanes increases. In addition to the massive coastal damage Sande caused in New York and New Jersey, Sande dropped 3-5 feet of snow in locations on the western side of the storm.



In Storm Runners we get an early season hurricane moving up the coast and turning into a snow storm. That mad rush to get out of town is in full force because everyone waited until the last minute. Airports have shut down. Trains have stopped running and the first bands of snow are cranking up over Atlantic City. Trella has seven dollars in her pocket and a bus ticket on the last bus out of town.  The plot is in motion and this trailer sets it up for you:



But I wanted to do more with Storm Runners than just tell you the story. I wanted to experiment with new features from Amazon that let me put the book in motion. I talked about that quite a bit as I worked on making the characters and sets for these images and in the run-up to release.
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Which I did, including motion graphics and links to let you choose who Trella would fall in love with and where that path would lead her in the end. It works great—everywhere but on Amazon. When I upload the book to Amazon it strips out all the animation and replaces that with a static image that is a splotchy mess. The only solution, and I did try many alternatives, was to upload a text-only version there. While it is not the book I envisioned, you can still choose your path through the story and the links work fine. If you have a Kindle so bought the text version at Amazon and would like to try the animated version, simply send me proof of purchase and I will send you a desktop version of the book that will run on a Windows or Mac system.

Storm Runners at Amazon

Since the Kindle format does not support the story as I intended I will push forward with converting the story to game format and releasing it as an app. Watch for it. I’ll probably offer that as some sort of promotional giveaway in the future. Meanwhile, to keep up with my newest efforts to take romance into the next dimension,  please sign up for my newsletter (I’m giving away a copy of my novella, Snatch Me to all new subscribers) 


8/26/17

How to Visit Nara’s Nook Virtual Worlds


Nara’s Nook is a place where authors, readers and story characters interact in a virtual simulation.

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What you will find at Nara’s Nook:


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  • A community of folks who love books and storytelling: Writers, readers, musicians and artists join with us in exploring fiction and its future. 


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  • Reader adventures.


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  • Writer resources 


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  • Book centered activities: Book centered parties, events and community projects to participate in.


How do you get there?

I created a Virtual Writer's and Reader's Colony. It is designed for writers and readers new to virtual worlds. It's a safe place to learn how to get around. You can meet up with other folks who love books, find a quiet corner to write (lots of quiet corners), explore a virtual story, have adventures in author’s story worlds, interact with characters, and discover learning resources to build your virtual skills.

To get into Nara's Nook. Click here to create a user account. Sorry, I hate creating accounts too, but you'll need this account to store freebies, outfits, and various things you create or discover in your journeys. The form is simple: pick a name, enter email address, and choose a password. Be sure to select either male or female avatar--I don't have any neutral avatars in the system yet. Sign up as one of your favorite characters or under your author name.


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You should see a page like this. Click create account.


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The form is simple: pick a name, enter email address, and choose a password. Be sure to select either male or female avatar--I don't have any neutral avatars in the system.

And since your web browser is only powerful enough to get you to the front door of the colony, you'll need to click here to download a web viewer that lets you enter virtual worlds, walk around, and take pictures of all the cool things that happen.


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You should see a page like this. Click the symbol that corresponds to your operating system.

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You should see a page like this. You want one of the bottom two files I have circled. If you have absolutely no idea if your operating system is 32 or 64 bit, choose the first. Most people should be fine choosing the bottom 64 bit file as most modern computers use that.

This will be worth it, I promise. Where else can you go chat with a dragon?

Once you have your viewer downloaded and installed, launch it and you should see something like so.

It doesn't matter if the picture is a little different, we're interested in the tab labeled "viewer" in the top left corner. Click viewer, click preferences, and then down on the bottom left, select, Opensim. You see it highlighted in orange below.

Copy and paste this code:  world.narasnook.com:8900 into the empty box at the very top where it says "add new grid" and click apply on the right. Then click okay. You only have to supply this information once. The viewer will save these preferences for your future adventures. Now you're ready to go exploring.

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You should now see something like this. Enter your user name, just first and last name with a space between in the left box at bottom, the way you see mine entered. Then enter your password. Under "Log into Grid" click the down arrow and select NarasNook from the list. Then click the login button and wait for a whole new world to appear.

At first things will look white, including you.

But as the world paints itself on your screen, the colors fill in. It's okay to move around while you wait.

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That's you there in the picture--the avatar in the red pants. All those signs that look like portraits are boxes containing appearances that will let you customize how you look. This post is long enough, so I will leave you to explore and explain how to customize you avatar in a separate post. You worked hard to get here and now it's time to play. Use your computer's arrow keys to walk around--right, left, forward, back. Walk around the village square.


You can launch fly mode by holding the Pg Up key for a few seconds. Then arrow keys take you in different directions and the Pg Dn key takes you back toward the ground. Holding the Pg Dn until you smack into the ground stops the fly mode. It's all mine and you have my permission to go into any building and do what you like. You can't break anything. Have fun.Stay as long as you want.


Take lots of pictures. There's a little camera icon on the bottom bar of your browser, toward the right. Click it to snap a picture and save to your computer.

We’re having a beach party to introduce new users to the Nook and we’d love for you to come. I will be online starting at 10 AM ET on August 30th to help new visitors get the hang of things. If you get stuck and need help with something, message me on

Twitter: @nara_malone https://twitter.com/nara_malone?lang=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNaraMalone/ 

G+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/108655068126328651852

I’m always happy to help and you can probably find me online if you want to try before the day of the party. I’ll be in and out. Hope to see you soon!

~ Nara Malone.

7/17/17

Metaverse Muses: The Oracle

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A common meme passed from writer to writer is that you can’t wait on inspiration to write. Supposedly, you must plant your butt in the chair and bang out drivel until something useful shows up on the page.

I don’t see that either waiting for inspiration or pouring out pages of glop to find the good stuff is terribly efficient.  One is a static method of waiting on the muse and the other active. It's all waiting. Why can’t you just go out and hunt down the inspiration you need? Or, my preferred method, conjure inspiration from pixels.

Not all of my muses look the same. I think I have an army of them stashed away in the metaverse to call up as needed. There’s nothing like creating their home and appearance to catch  muse's attention. Once you have that, it’s not long before they start offering input.

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This is the Oracle. She loves learning. She can’t resist the lure of new knowledge. She digs into the past and applies those lessons to current trends in science and technology, predicting where those might lead in the future. She treasures her solitude and her books. I’m spending quite a bit of time with her as I work on my current project, The Wildlings Tale. The protagonist, Virginia, would be right at home in the oracle’s tower.

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Spending time with the Oracle in her retreat is like peering into the soul of my character. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 3D world must be at least 1000 cubed. When you can find your character there, that's where the magic lives. Where inspiration takes hold.  Words spill out faster than you can type.

If you'd like to visit Nara and her story worlds, go here to learn how to login. Follow Nara on Facebook, Twitter, or G+ to contact her directly for assistance.

Credits:
Setting is the Wizard’s Retreat by artist Avia Bonne
Oracle’s Hair and outfit by author  Shannan Albright
Photographs by Nara Malone