Category Archives: VIRTUAL JINX

VIRTUAL VISIT TO WOODCREST UNIVERSITY

As part of my virtual explorations, I recently toured Woodcrest University—a non-accredited residential and roleplay region. Offering a full range of educational experiences, the classes are real and taught by knowledgeable professionals. During my visit, I sat in on Professor Daragan Cabeza·de·Vaca’s Art & Design class during a lecture about Art Nouveau through Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt. You can read all about my virtual experience in the story I did for the SL Enquirer here.

Looking for a degree you can pin on your real world wall? There are quite a few virtual accredited universities you can visit from your own desk including the Fashion Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University and the Geneva School of Business – University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland. In all, there are over 150 accredited educational institutions with a virtual presence. I’m working on a news story about them right now.

For now, here are a few photos of my trip to Woodlawn University so you can see what it’s like for yourself. Special thanks to Professor Dara and the faculty at Woodcrest for the hospitality!

HUNT FOR THE NECRONOMICON

Welcome to Virtual Geographic. Today we hunt for the infamous Necronomicon, otherwise known as The Book of the Dead and originally titled Kitab al-Azif. Eyewitnesses report a powerful grimoire full of arcane knowledge.

In History of the Necronomicon written by H. P. Lovecraft in 1927,  he says “the very act of studying the text is inherently dangerous, as those who attempt to master its arcane knowledge generally meet terrible ends.” My task as a virtual explorer is to find out. Is it horror or hoax?

My search begins at the Miskatonic University’s library where Wilbur Whateley reportedly consulted a “unabridged” version of the Necronomicon. Located in Arkham, Massachusetts, this library is only one in five known to hold a copy of this rare book. I’ve already searched for it in The British Museum, The Bibliothèque nationale de France, Widener Library of Harvard University and The University of Buenos Aires to no avail. Miskatonic University is my next best hope.

Due to unexpected delays, it was already dusk when I arrived in Arkham and the Miskatonic University was nearly closed. Luckily, it was across from the bus stop so I wasted no time getting inside. The town had an ominous feel to it I’d rather not experience after dark.

A quick search of the library’s rare book section, though quite an impressive collection, turned up nothing I needed. I studied a framed poster of Lovecraft on the wall and wondered what his connection to the library was—a founder perhaps? A copy of Qanoon-e-Islam caught my eye, but before I could reach it the librarian was shuffling me out the door. I would have to return in the morning. I looked for a place to stay.

The streets were empty and for all I could tell, the librarian might have been the only Arkham resident. I was relieved to find a relatively modern looking hotel just a block away until I found the doors locked. No one answered my knocks despite their being a light shining in the basement. With no place to shelter, I moved on in hopes I’d find a place to escape the dark streets.

A brightly lit radio studio was still open. Unlike the hotel, the doors were unlocked. I went inside and found the On Air sign lit up and ready for a broadcast. I sat and waited with anticipation. After some time passed I thought maybe I was in the wrong area, so I explored the building. It was empty except for me. A graphic show poster in the lobby made me nervous so I decided to move on. The solitude was wearing. I needed to find other people and a place to stay.

I explored to town to find plenty of places open, but like the radio station, all were devoid of life. I couldn’t buy a beer at the tavern because there was no barkeep. A magazine stand was open wide with no one to take my money for a magazine. I grabbed a couple of copies of Space & Time and left an IOU.

Even a curio shop was left empty, door wide open, waiting to be robbed. Perhaps the creepy handicrafts on display frightened thieves. I saw a coffee shop down the road and headed that way. Coffee houses are universal places of sanctuary…

…except in Arkham, Massachusetts. After waiting for the barista, I started to notice the curious art on the wall. Most of it had been smeared with red, a macabre vibe for a pleasant coffee house. Deciding no one would come take my order here either, I went behind the counter to make my own coffee. I would just spend the night here. Warm, safe and fresh coffee in abundance. Then I saw the cookie on the counter. I headed for the bus stop.

Of course, there was no one there and no schedule posted. I was cold and completely spooked by this point. I huddled against the old, crumbling wall shivering. The entire trip was hopeless, a mistake on my part. Risk is part of being an explorer, but risk in an empty town in the dead of night feels more like folly. And then I saw the sign: Feckhamsmith’s Antiquated Books. Maybe, just maybe. My hopes nudged upward.

Inside the shop I found plenty of books—books in all states of abuse and disrepair! Books propping up chairs, tumbled in dusty piles on the floor, covered in wax as candle holders… Disgusted I perused the stacks to find nothing I needed. Even if the Necronomicon were among these tortured tomes, it would most likely be too damaged to test.

I was about to trudge back to the bus stop in failure, when I heard a curious hum from upstairs. A dull thrum, like a hive of bees crying out in unison, vibrated through the plaster ceiling. Cautious but curious, I ascended the stairs as quietly as I could. There was only one room over the book shop. The rhythmic pulsing whir came from it. I entered to find…

…the Necronomicon, at last! My trip was not in vain. It appeared that I had interrupted some sort of ritual. Candles were half burnt, wax melting in rivulets through the thick dust on the table. A goblet of viscous red sat among black stones carved in runic symbols. The Necronomicon sat open on a pedestal, one page slightly creased as if in the midst of being turned. On the wall, a pentagram painted in what looked like blood began to glow, a swirling portal opening up at the center and spreading to fill the circle. The buzz increased dramatically, filling my head with the scream of an insect legion. Outside, the clock began chiming a deep, toneless count.

At risk to my life, I quickly documented my finds so that, should I survive, I will have added to our understanding of this book and its abilities. I reached out to secure the massive work. Suddenly, I remembered the words of H. P. Lovecraft: “those who attempt to master its arcane knowledge generally meet terrible ends.”

As the wall began to crack, plaster crumbling into the dun colored carpet, I chalked the mission up as a success. My task, as a virtual explorer, was to find out whether or not the Necronomicon was a hoax or horror. I decided it was definitely a horror. I flipped the weathered cover closed and watched the glowing portal twist in on itself with a shriek and wink out.

I spent the rest of my time in Arkham, Massachusetts shivering at the bus stop. I take my job seriously and an explorer must always make it out with the data alive or any discoveries are a waste. The first bus out arrived as the sun rose and I was on it, satisfied that I had witnessed the power of the Necronomicon and survived. One day I will return to Arkham to unravel it’s secrets, but for now, this intrepid explorer needs a hot coffee and a warm bed. ☕☕☕


Today on Virtual Geographic we explored the virtual town of Arkham, Massachusetts as written about by American horror author H. P. Lovecraft. The Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire appearing in stories by Lovecraft and his followers. It was first mentioned in Lovecraft’s 1924 short story “The Hound,” written in 1922. Among other things, the work is said to contain an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them.

The virtual town of Arkham is owned by the Innsmouth Preservation Society founded by Arik Metzger. You can read all about their events and this tribute to H.P. Lovecraft here. You can visit and explore this virtual Arkham yourself by visiting it here.

Creating Real Readers from Virtual Worlds pt. 4

SLE Interview PicNetworking as an author – where do you do it?

It helps a lot if you have a scrabble of scribblers* at your beck and call to bounce ideas off of, ask for advice and proofread. Some of us are lucky enough to have a writer’s group to hang out with or group up on Facebook. Another option, less explored, is to find virtual writers communities.

As I prepared to delve into virtual worlds as valuable options for networking, my friend Alexander (who I met on a virtual writers’ island) left a comment a few days ago with “Link to 62 articles about folks in Second Life.” Alexander is my poster child for virtual networking with other authors. Explore his links and get to know this valuable resource.

Thanks to my own networking, I’m going to be lazy tonight and go to bed early.

*A group of writers should be called a scrabble of scribblers. I wonder if I can get that coined?

Dusting Off SilverJinx

February is already upon us!  This month we’re focusing on organizing, streamlining our household and making extra money.  To that end, today we’re revamping our Second Life store.  For those that don’t know, Second Life is a virtual world where you can create and sell items.  You get paid in virtual currency that you trade in for real money.

Second Life, usually referred to as SL, is how I kept up with my Airstream payments the year I was in Australia and couldn’t get a job.  We made outfits and boots mostly.

I also use SL for marketing purposes and wrote my book, No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like on some of the tactics I used.  Since we came back to the US we haven’t done much with it and yet it’s managed to bring us around $50 USD a month.

This month we are dusting the old shop off and updating it.  To celebrate Valentine’s Day, and because he has infinite patience when working with tiny, complicated things, we created a line of wedding rings we called The Infinite Love Collection.  Each is for sale for $L 1299 or around $5 USD.  With no material costs and a potential market of millions of users this is serious playtime.

When I say “we” created a line I really do mean that we work together as a team.  There are two main parts of creation in SL: prims and textures.  Mr. Smith puts together all the tiny little beads and gems to create the jewelry.  I create colors and patterns of them.  My daughter Kyra also creates a line of clothing called Song’s Designs and we share materials and virtual shop space with each other.

I love creating but I’m not one for crafts because I never know what to do with the items I’ve made.  SL allows me to satisfy my creative urges, make some extra income from it and I don’t have to store anything.  As long as there is internet we have House of SilverJinx.

And now that I’ve shown off what we did today… back to work!

Listen To The Show

Today at 2:00 pm est I had the pleasure of being on Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein’s radio talk show, Authors & Technology.  You can listen to it below… I think I talked her ear off.  Sorry Dr. Barbara!

Listen to internet radio with DrX Barbara Holstein on Blog Talk Radio

FYI: Interview on BlogTalkRadio Tomorrow!

Heads up!  Tomorrow at 2:00 pm est I’ll be on Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein’s radio talk show, Authors & Technology.

During the interview we’ll be discussing ways to use Second Life and other free technology to promote your book as well as how Mr. Smith and I virtually dated for nearly two years before getting married.

Thank you Dr. Barbara for giving me this opportunity to share this information!

Related: Dr. Barbara at Book Island

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Announces New Blog Talk Interview With Angela
Yuriko Smith on ‘Authors Speaking’

Dr. Barbara at Book Island

Today I had the pleasure of bringing Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein from the Blog Talk radio show Authors & Technology in to experience Second Life’s potential for authors herself.

Dr. Barbara had never experienced anything close to a virtual world before today and her reaction was wonderful.  She was amazed by the potential she witnessed.

We started the tour at my shop on Book Island.  There I showed her how satisfying it is to page thru a virtual edition of a book and let her witness some of the amazing things you can do to promote your work for free.  Selina Greene, owner of Book Island and Alexander Zoltai, the Events Coordinator just happened to be on hand to meet and chat with us.  When Kira and Bruce popped in it was a full fledged writer extravaganza.

And this is why I love, and continue to love, Second Life.  I don’t have time in my daily life to go to all the writer’s meetings in town.  But here I was, sipping my sweet tea and having a chat with a publisher, another author, a poet, a producer and a radio talk show host all in the comfort of my own home.

Dr. Barbara is also an author and I hope you’ll check out some of her links.  I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share the message that Second Life isn’t a game but a useful marketing tool… you are limited only by your imagination.  Barbara came in to interview me for one show but found the whole thing so fascinating it looks like it will turn into a few shows with many of us.

Thank you Dr. Barbara for bravely coming in to witness the limitless potential of a virtual world.  Please visit her on the web at Enchanted Self or follow her on Twitter @truth4girls.

MWGA HOSTS MONTH-LONG ANNUAL MEDIA EXPO

Today I want to let you know about some of the exciting events happening in Second Life right now, particularly the MWGA Expo.

The top names in media are participating making it an invaluable opportunity for networking.  If you are trying to promote your book, art, blog, etc. I urge you to participate.

 

 

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE:

Norfolk Slim City – MWGA will be hosting the first in-world
Second Life media expo June 1 through July 8, bringing together Second Life’s
major media all under one roof.

“MWGA created an annual media expo to celebrate business as
a whole in Second Life,” MWGA owner Lyric Navarita said. “This is a way for
businesses, as well as the publishing industry, to get together and mingle with
guests on a more personable level. I hope this expo opens a new form of communication
and sparks interest to be more involved in what our platform has to offer – an
opportunity to learn more about the publishing industry through our workshops,
engage with those within the industry via social and networking activities and
celebrate the achievements of businesses in Second Life.”

Several workshops will be offered on site from professionals
in the media industry on a range of topics from their experiences in their
fields, production and publishing and distribution technologies. A final
workshop will also include applying guided imaginary to the SL experience from
Pura Vida Wellness Resort.

“The MWGA Expo is a unique event raising awareness of
the talent and diversity of media available in SL and will hopefully encourage
new people to participate in this constantly evolving industry,” MWGA
Media Expo participant MANIERA LLC’s COO Aphrodite Brianna said.

Performances will also be held by radio’s KHNY Honey 103
(June 16) and BoSL Radio (June 17) as well as dance troop Dazzlers (July 8). A
media panel will be held later in the month to discuss various industry topics,
and an awards banquet will finish off the expo July 8 and recognize elites in
their fields at The Rose Theatre. Banquet guest speakers include Avenue Staff
Writer Spruce Canning and MANIERA LLC CEO Topaz Joubert.

Media representatives will be available from some of the
most prominent media in their fields, including: Metaverse Broadcasting
Company/The Metaverse Tribune, Press Pass Media Group, SL Enquirer, Best of
Second Life Magazine/BOSL Radio, AvCON Magazine, Too Sexy Magazine, ICON
Magazine, MANIERA LLC, Zindra Expo, InWorld Magazine, Dandilyonfluff.com,
Friday Night Talk Show, PlsRadio, KHNY Honey 103 and media distribution
technology giant SasTech.

ABOUT MAGAZINE WRITER’S GUIDE ASSOCIATION (MWGA)

An international association catering to SECOND LIFE®
publishing industry. This association was founded September 2010 by Lyric
Navarita under the principals of “unifying the community for a greater
learning experience,” MWGA caters to the growth of this industry through
providing educational workshops, social and networking events.

This non-profit association allows Elites (magazine/blog
owners) to send members information about their latest magazine/blog issues,
job opportunities, magazine/blog related events including fund-raising and ad
rates. Members are encouraged to participate in social and networking events to
engage our elites on a more personable level.

Every year, we invite businesses and publishers to
participate in our Media Expo which allows guests to network and learn about
this industry. During the Expo events we have engaging activities, workshops, a
fashion show, awards ceremony to celebrate our elites and party.

MWGA’s mission is to establish an environment where
professionals can learn, grow and celebrate creativity at its best. We are here
to educate our guests and our elites selflessly participate to enhance the
experience. MWGA has been featured in Avenue Inc, Maniera LLC, InWorld Life
Style and Dope Magazines, and guest appearances on Ambrosia Live, Spotlight TV,
Plsradio Live. Our membership has expanded from the USA to overseas regions as
far as UK, Poland, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Italy to Australia. For
more information about MWGA contact Lyric Navarita or e-mail us at
mwgasl@gmail.com.

Second Life Late Night

Just a short and late post tonight as I’m off in Second Life setting some things up for Mae Awareness.    I haven’t been in there since we came back to the US so I was a little rusty trying to figure out basic things again.

One of the reasons I love Second Life still is that you can do so much without spending a dime or wasting a drop of gas.  Tonight is a perfect example:  I popped in to move some things in the Virtual Visitor Center and ran into an old friend named Natascha.  As we chatted I got invited to see another old friend’s new Gallery (It was gorgeous Al!)  so we popped over there to oggle the art.

While we were there I got the notice that another old friend, Dee Sweetwater, was preparing to start his show so we hopped over there and danced and listened to him play and sing to a packed club.  Natascha loved the music and convinced me to catch his next show as well, even tho it was getting late.   I agreed but first had to pop over to Book Island to do some things in my shop there and see where the Treasure Hunt was going to kick off.  We caught the next show and then we were all off to bed after a full night of fun.

That sums up my night.  I got a lot of work done while having fun.  I haven’t been writing about Second Life lately because I haven’t been in.  Some of the Mae Awareness events will be held virtually tho so it’s time to dust off the avis and get ready to play.

You won’t even have to get out of your jammies. ;p

 

New Review: All You Need Is Like

It’s been awhile since I mentioned either of my books.  They’ve taken a back seat to all the crazy things that have been going on since we came to America… but they haven’t been forgotten.

Both books have gone intensive professional editing from the capable and wonderful Amy Eye and have been waiting in my (hope) To Do list for over a month. 

There will be some fresh new chapters added for No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like and it will be released (finally) in paperback as well as digital.  I’ve also connected with the original graffiti artist that inspired the book cover so he will be getting credit and a bio.  End of Mae will include a sneak peek at the next book in the series.

As things calm down…and they are calming down…I hope to begin working on my writing again.  I’ve got the sequel to End of Mae (speculatively titled End of Joon) to work on and have been keeping notes on this whole crazy experience we’ve been going thru which I hope to turn into a nonfictional account on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and domestic violence.  For now, however, we are still putting things back together.  Some days I don’t think I can handle one more thing but if I keep moving forward it all has a way of working out.

I’d love to give a big thank you to Sheila Deeth for her surprise review of No Money Marketing.  It made my day to know that my book hasn’t been forgotten despite my lack of attention to it.  It’s still my baby, just off at the babysitters’ for awhile.  Thanks, Sheila, for being my babysitter.

You can read her very well written review over at Smashwords or visit Sheila’s blog.  Thank you Sheila!