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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: April 2018

    This Month Featuring: This Year's Literary Festival at Fantasy Faire

    The Fantasy Faire Literary Festival ("LitFest") makes every effort to be a comprehensive literature event, and succeeds to a great degree.  A part of the mega-RFL fundraising event, Fantasy Faire, LitFest made its debut in 2015 and has celebrated the works of Terry Pratchett, William Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien along side of authors with unique Second Life connections.  The ten day event provides a broad array of opportunities for those who love stories and literature: writing, author talks, open mics, discussions, storytelling, and a special day to celebrate the impact that George R. R. Martin has had on the contemporary literary world.

    Summing up 49 individual events over ten days, and over 60 hours of programming is daunting. But the Halls of Story (the LitFest homebase region http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Halls%20of%20Story/121/117/87) will be brimming with them from April 19th to the 29th.  The entire Faire, including LitFest, benefits the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  You can get more detailed information on the Fantasy Faire Literary Festival Schedule page.  

    Interested in writing?  Before we review some of the things that you can attend at LitFest, let's talk about the one thing that you can be a direct part of: The Region Tours and Writing Challenge.  LitFest invites you to put your Fantasy Faire experience into words.  The Faire is brimming with stories: breathtaking builds and fantastical creations designed to touch your heart and soul.  What stories do they inspire in you: poetry? prose?

    Daily tours led by Saffia Widdershins leave from The Halls of Story at 5pm slt.  But you can explore and write anytime of the day.  Tips and hints notecards are available at the LitFest landing area, and enthusiastic wordsmiths are encouraged to not be limited by the notecards or the tour destinations.  The Worldlings on FaireLand Junction?  The bright shores of The Story Well or Astrid's Nemeton?  Or perhaps a chance encounter with other Fairelanders excites your muse.   All submitted works will be considered.  Be sure to review the "How to Submit" information at the LitFest landing area.

    Interested in Authors and their works?  In addition to an array of writing talent sourced from the SL grid, fantasy authors  Tom Lloyd (http://TomLloyd.co.uk) and Danie Ware (http://danieware.com) will be guests of the Faire, stopping to engage in conversations about their work and writing in general with David Abbott on Tuesday, April 24th and Thursday, April 26th respectively (see schedule for time).

    Tom Lloyd is the author of the Twilight Reign series of novels (The StormcallerThe Twilight HeraldThe Grave ThiefThe Ragged ManThDusk Watchman) and its companion collection of short stories, The God Tattoo; the Empire of a Hundred Houses novels 

    (Moon’s Artifice and Old Man’s Ghosts); and his latest series, The God Fragments (Stranger of TempestHonour Under MoonlightPrincess of Blood, The Man With One Name). Lloyd is also the author of the stand-alone novella Fear the Reaper, published by Kristell Ink.

    Self-affirmed child of the Seventies, author Danie Ware lead a diverse life that included a bit of writing when she went to work for London cult retailer Forbidden Planet in 2001. After a bout of "live intervening," she took up her pen again in 2008 when her Ecko series was published by Titan Books and available to buy from Amazon.  Publisher's Weekly said of her work Ecko Rising, "...Ware has a deep knowledge of science fiction and fantasy, and she hurls it all into this engrossing but sometimes derivative mix of high-tech street fighting and epic quest." Her new book, Children of Artifice, will be available from FoxSpirit Books later this year.

    If you are a fan of George R.R. Martin, you will not want to miss the conversation with Linda Antonsson and Elio M. García, owners of Westeros.org, the oldest "A Song of Ice and Fire" fansite. They are also the co-authors of "The World of Ice and Fire" together with George R.R. Martin himself. It is just one of the events on Wednesday, April 25th .on George R.R, Martin Day.

    Well known writer CeeJay Writer and storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson are just a few of the other anticipated presenters.

    Interested in readings and storytelling?  Seanchai Library will be bringing their entire week's programming over to the Faire, as will the equally long-lived Written Word group.  So from the X-Files to Sounds of Poems, open mics of prose and poetry, there's plenty of literary listening to be had at LitFest, including a special dramatic reading by myself (Caledonia Skytower) and Zander Greene from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and two (count'em TWO) Shakespeare productions by the Faire Lands Players.

    As a side note, this is also the first year for a secondary stage (more than LitFest, and less than the Big Dance Show Mainstage).  You can find out more about the offerings there by looking for "Arts & Entertainment" under the event tab on the website.

    I first encountered Fantasy Faire through Draxtor Despres' Worldmaker machinima series, where I was struck by this quote from the interview with Faire Executive Zander Greene, “We can put you into the story.  The medium isn’t real.  The experience it creates in me is what’s real.”  Step into a rich world overflowing with stories, when the faire lands open in the morning on April 19th, and enjoy ten days of fantastic celebration, in support of Relay for Life.

     More in depth information on all of these events can be found at https://fantasyfairesl.wordpress.com/literary-festival-2018/

     Visit the 2018 LitFest on Designer Elicio Ember's vibrant Halls of Story region (sponsored by his Cerridwen's Cauldron) http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Halls%20of%20Story/121/117/87

     ***

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

     This Month's Quote:  “Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” ~ Terry Pratchett

     

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: October 2017

    This Month Featuring: GOT GHOST STORY?

    In the last week or more of this month, the grid will be overflowing with opportunities to get your ghost story thrills from among the most talented storytellers in Second Life.  We'll cover some of those events farther down in this month's column so, rest assured, if you are having problems with your socks and need them scared off, we have you covered.

    There are also an abundance of narrative builds at this time of year.  What is that?  A "narrative" build is a commonly used term for regions or other created environments which are based on a story formed by their creator. "Back story" would be another commonly used term for using a story narrative to direct your building choices and visual design decisions.  Sometimes these narratives are clearly evident, and sometimes they are more covert. I have observed that there is a coherence and sense to narrative builds that don't always exist in less structured creations.

    There are artists, such as Cica Ghost, who always use strong narrative in their work. The Linden Endowment for the Arts regions are seeing installations with more and more evident stories attached.  Other artists such as Eleseren Brianna and Ceakay Ballyhoo have continued this approach by incorporating spoken word elements in their work and collaborating with writers.  MadPea, that purveyor of in-world gaming experiences, has been putting out the word lately for voice artists to audition for them, leading one to believe that voiced audio may become more of a part of their work.  

    This year's Octoberville build has a story-in-local-chat feature in it that is quite fun.  It is, in part, in support of their hunt, and in part just a further augmentation of the overall experience. Characters throughout the region will offer snippets of their own personal stories in local chat once you are in proximity to them.  "Much of the text that come from the characters, etc is directly related to the story (the hunt) and pushes it by giving you quests sometimes or just hints about secrets of the sim," shared Master Kaos, one of the co-creators of Octoberville. "In a way its kind of like a choose your own adventure book. It will unfold however you go about doing it. In my head, all of these characters have much longer stories that you only get snippets of in Octoberville," Kaos added.

    "The smell of dead leaves fill the air. You're not sure if it is the howling wind and trees or if you are really hearing voices… voices that beckon you to the campfire. As you approach the warm, crackling campfire, you hear the voices once again... they call to you. It appears to be coming from a statue of a tall man holding a book."

    Octoberville 2017http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Topaz/236/87/37

    This year's Designing Worlds Halloween Special (releasing October 30th) was also shot in Octoberville, so be sure and tune in to see the episode, this year's spooky story, plus interviews with the creators of Octoberville.  You can find Designing Worlds episodes right here on SLArtist.   

    Here are some special events above and beyond regularly scheduled story sessions between now and the day itself.  All times listed are SLT.

    THURSDAY, October 26th at 7pm: TRUE GHOST STORIES ~ Seanchai Library leader Shandon Loring brings his weekly Thursday story session to the great campfire at Octoberville, live on stream.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Topaz/236/87/37

    SATURDAY, October 28th at Noon: TALES OF THE HAUNTING SEASON at Innsmouth ~ Seanchai Library and friends bring Lovecraft and Lovecraftian tales to the Innsmouth Opera House, in the spirit of the season, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innsmouth/87/82/47

    SATURDAY, October 28th at 3:30pm: VICTORIAN GHOST STORIES at the Timeportal ~ Frankenstein, Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde - so many great works of gothic fiction written during the Victorian era.  Seanchai Library and Friends will share some selections in this 90 minute session, live in voice.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Time%20Portal/201/223/1927

    SUNDAY, October 29th from Noon - 2pm: The 2nd Annual GREAT BOO! ~ Seanchai Library presents its annual celebration of ghosts, ghouls, and things that shriek in the night at "Haunted Holly Kai," live in voice.  Following at 2pm, DJ Joy Canadeo will spin tunes for spooky frolics amidst the pumpkins and mists.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/169/111/2015

    SUNDAY, October 29th at 3pm: A NIGHT IN THE CASTLE ~ Spooky Tales by Moon Aerandir presented in voice by Siric Freenote at the Dungeon Fortress at Avilion Nexus.  Teleport from the main landing point available in the half hour before the event. Medieval dress required. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Avilion%20Nexus/128/128/251

    SUNDAY, October 29th at 6pm: Selections from THE GRAVEYARD BOOK ~ In a Magicland tradition, Caledionia Skytower presents selected adventures from Neil Gaiman's 2009 Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal-winning book.  Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him. Presented live in voice at the Golden Horseshoe in MagiclandPark.  http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bracket/180/56/31

    TUESDAY, October 31st at NOON - HALLOWE'EN at Graveyard Dungeon ~ The Poet Laureate of Ce Soir Arts RUSSELL EPONYM will present a darkly beautiful programme of readings from the more mysterious and sinister of classic poets like Poe, Burns, Donne, and Herrick as well as more contemporary works. Spooky music and a Thought for the Day that's perfect for Hallowe'en will fill the hour with magic, live in stream! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/72/188/17

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 1:30 pm - Selections from THE GRAVEYARD BOOK ~ "Rattle his bones, Over the stones, It’s only a pauper, Who Nobody owns"  – Traditional Nursery Rhyme. Caledonia Skytower shares more selections from Neil Gaiman's award-winning adventure, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/72/188/17

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 2:30 pm - I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM ~ ÆonWoodford follows Caledonia with a stunning post-apocalyptic tale by Harlan Ellison. This sci-fi treasure is one of the most frightening, spine-chilling stories ever written, live in voice. Come visit the crypts and be prepared to screech in horror...if you can! http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ce%20Soir/72/188/17

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 7 pm - HALLOWEEN AT HOGWARTS ~ What could be more normal than Halloween night at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?  Well, if you are Harry Potter and a fully grown mountain troll is involved, there might be a whole lot more than butter beer in the cards.  Caledonia Skytower, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/215/44/27

    TUESDAY, October 31st at 8:30pm: HALLOWEEN LATE NIGHT - Ghost Stories ~ Seanchai Library Chief Storyteller, Shandon Loring, brings masterful tales of haunts and spooks to Haunted Holly Kai, in a special late night session, live in voice. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Holly%20Kai%20Estates/169/111/2015

                           ("Haunted Holly Kai" high above Holly Kai Park on the Blake Sea)

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

    This Month's Quote:  “When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a knot of the sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat smoking at one end of the hall, gossiping over former times, and drawing out long stories.  Quite naturally these tales were succeeded by stories of ghosts and apparitions, the neighborhood being rich in legendary treasures of that kind."

    ― Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    All Images in this column shot at Octoberville in Second life, except as marked.  All shots by Caledonia Skytower

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  • A Storyteller's Notebook: August 2017

    This Month Featuring: LoveFest 2017 & Stories at Time Portal

    Back from a July vacation from the column with two great story experiences to recommend!

    A story well told, or a work of fiction well presented by a talented voice can be transporting.  When it takes place in surroundings that evoke and celebrate the literature itself, it adds a layer of engagement that sparks the imagination.  That's one of the strengths of presenting stories and literature in virtual worlds.  It seems as every month advances, I discover more and more people wanting to add significant, relevant spoken word content to their builds, be they historical or celebratory.

    August 17th saw the opening of the sixth annual LoveFest, benefitting Innsmouth in Second Life - the region which celebrates the work of influential 20th century author of horror fiction, H. P. Lovecraft.  Known best for his celebrated "The Call of Cthlulhu" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth", Lovecraft was not a success in his time; his work not achieving wide spread acceptance and popularity till after his death in 1937. Yet fans of his work are many, and its impact on its literary genre undeniable.

    Innsmouth in Second Life hosts weekly story sessions in their home region, reading from Lovecraft's significant canon of works.  At LoveFest they have carried that commitment over, adding to screenings of horror films, live music, DJ sets, dance shows, shopping (refresh your supply of tentacled merchandise!), gachas, and freebies - readings from Lovecraft and Lovecraftian works (yes, the man's work spawned a genre of its own!) and Lovecraft Open mics where fans can share their favorite bits.  What could be better than horror fiction live, surrounded by lurking menaces and hidden dangers?  Lovefest delivers these in abundance.

    The "Mysteries of the Deep" themed ten-day festival even includes an adventure.  Visitors may opt to sign onto the Miskatonic University Oceanic Expedition Team, and be transported to a remote area of the vast Pacific Ocean that has been charted for research and exploration, equipped to descend into the abyss to explore the wonders of the “Deep Blue” and investigate finds initially reported by an earlier “advance research” team. But as the festival's blog warns: "Beware, as while there are many beautiful, mesmerizing things in the Pacific Deep, there are also risks and dangers in this truly alien environment on Earth!"

     So if you are a fan of horror fiction in general, and Lovecraft specifically, this is a no-miss event.  Lucky you!  You have one week to check it out.  Be sure and give yourself plenty of time, and arrive early for any story events - the region is packed with detail and lots of traffic, so it can be a bit laggy and take a moment to fully rez. Schedule details can be found on the festival blog: https://lovefest.wordpress.com/events/full-schedule/

    Lovefest 2017

    Celebrating H.P. Lovecraft's 127th Birthday

    August 17 - 27

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Coral%20Moon/128/128/3001

    Frau Jo Yardley is well known for her creation and nurture of the detailed, historical, and highly popular 1920s Berlin in Second Life.  Last year she, and a group of like-minded historical enthusiasts, extended this concept to create the Time Portal project.  From Tudor England, to 18th Century France, to the 1950-60s the region is divided into zones that gives a taste of history, and connects to creators and performers that also celebrate that era.

    Sunday, August 27th at 11:30am slt, that celebration will extend to stories: Victorian Tales presented by a gifted line-up of spoken word talent in the Victorian London zone.  Seanchai Library has joined with the Time Portal to present stories from Victorian Literature at the Music Hall, live in voice.  Corwyn Allen, Fayleen Bellois, Cybele Moon, Dubhna Rhiadra, and VT Torvalar will present 90 minutes of scintillating adventures from penny dreadfuls to classic Victoriana.  Selections from Edgar Allan Poe, Kipling, and other icons of Victorian Literature are sure to be part of the program.

    Residents are encouraged to explore the Victorian London zone, which provides an amazingly rich depiction of both the highs, and lows of the era - the "haves" and the "have nots."  Like LoveFest the region is packed with detail, so it can be a bit laggy and take a moment to fully rez.  Arrive early, and plan on time to explore before or after the stories.

    Victorian Tales

    at Time Portal's Victorian London zone

    Sunday, August 27th at 11:30 am slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Time%20Portal/201/223/1927

    And check out the Time Portal blog:  https://timeportalsl.com/

     

    GOING ON THIS MONTH: Two events back from hiatus!

     

    ~ "BOUDICCA READS" Returning with more adventures from The Chronicles of Narnia

    Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could anyone ask for in one book?  The book that has it all is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

    CALE'S NOTE: These sessions are typically 30 minutes, so it is good for people who find an hour long story too much.  The location is different form that previously posted in this column.

    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:15pm slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Evanescent/221/218/22

     

    ~ READINGS FROM THE FOREST TRADITION - BUDDHISM:

    The Buddha Center offers, each Tue & Fri (exceptions announced), an enjoyable and informative presentation read, live in voice.  Swami Luminos draws presented texts from Ajahn Sumedho's transcribed oral teachings, which always prove enlightening & entertaining.

    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am slt

    http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Buddhism/132/129/22

    All listed times are "slt."

    Know of a cool spoken word venue or project? Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

    This Month's Quote:  “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”

    ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

    IMAGE CREDITS: Caledonia Skytower

     

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  • Transcending Borders: first art entries on display, audience prizes reviewed

     

    On Monday July 21st, 2014, the University of Western Australia (UWA) announced the opening of their new combined Art and Machinima challenge, Transcending Borders, which brings together their 7th MachinimUWA and their 5th UWA Grand Art Challenge into one event.

    I provided an overview of the challenge at the time, including the fact that there are prizes amounting to L$1,030,000 on offer to artists and machinima makers – and to members of the public who wish to participate in the voting process on entries.

     

    Submissions for the challenge have already started, and FeeWee Ling, curator of the UWA’s 3D OpenArt challenges, brings word that the first two 3D art entires are now on display in the Transcending Borders gallery area above the UWA’s home regions. Machinima entires will be listed on the SLArtist website as they are received.

    The entries are Transcending, by Xia Firethorn (shown above) and Union by Silva Khandr (below).

     

    As noted in my initial coverage, there are special prizes on offer in the audience participation part of the challenge (a total of L$135,000 for audience participation in the art category and a total of L$105,000 in the machinima section). All you have to do is list your personal Top Ten entries in either the art or the machinima sections of the challenge (or both!). Prizes will be awarded to audience members whose top 10 lists most closely align to the final juried top 10. Keep your eyes on the UWA blog for details on how to enter.

    For full details on the competition and prizes, please refer to the UWA blog post announcing the launch of Transcending Borders.

    The challenge is open to entries through until midnight on October 31st, 2014; judging will conclude in December 2014, when the winners will be announced.  I’ve always enjoyed following the UWA challenges, and with Transcending Borders, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing all of the entries, art and machinima, having been privileged with a request to join the judging panel. Hope you’ll also enjoy viewing the entries and drawing-up your own Top Ten lists.

    Related Links

     

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