• Greyville Writer's Colony: Tutorials and Information

    Teaching authors to use Virtual Worlds for inspiration,, world building, and promotions.

  • Workshops: Group and Individual Instruction

    Master the tools to bring your characters and worlds to life on the web.

  • Writer Roleplay

    Step inside your character's skin and get to know them better.

  • World Hosting: Build a place where readers can interact with your characters and stories.

    Start with one of our free spaces and move up as your world grows and budget allows.

  • Reader Cove: Where readers can curl up for a quiet read or to watch orcas play.

    Uniquely decorated cabins that highlight favorite reading spots.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


It was another magical  tour on the Hypergrid Safari last week. It started with a tree.

When I was small, almost before I had words to say, I could hear tree spirits whispering. I remember snuggling up in a cozy spot between the  roots of my favorite old beech tree, pressing my ear to it's trunk and listening. On windy days it would sing stories. Maybe I dreamed it. Not all trees spoke and the ones that did...I guess not everyone  heard them. It's been a long time since a tree spoke to me. I think Art Blue must have heard tree spirits sing when he was little. Maybe he still does.



Dream Forest was our first stop. Art gave us all our very own tree to plant and water and watch over. It takes a few days to grow one. When it is ready you can take it from the nursery region to the Dream Forest to plant it. I think Art said we should sit with it, dream with it. I may have dreamed that part. The Dream Forest was singing full volume and my imagination kept wandering  off with me.



I would have missed the next jump, but when you are on safari no explorers are left behind. Avia Bonne sent me the teleport and I woke from one dream into another.

Nina Camplin and Cataplexia Numbers
This was a land of castles and dragons. Calchester. Pretty cool. 

We were welcomed by Alexina Proctor and Prax Maryjasz. Prax described what we'd find in Calchester and mentioned the water creatures. Water spirits speak to me too. I was camming out in search of Nessie when I found a giant turtle. 




I was gone.




Then I found Nessie.


When I came up for air I saw a flying dragon but couldn't catch it. It was time to go. Like  a child at play I was reluctant to leave. But more magic waited at the new jump.

 It started with a tree. 




Her name is Serene Jewel and the tree avatar was riveting. I was camming in to get pictures. She said you can get an avatar like that at Franco Grid, region Avatar.



 I know. I know. I've wandered down a side road here.



Back to the safari and region Ismadril built by Paislee Myrtle. I've seen Paislee's region artistry around Opensim before and it is always a feast for the senses and mind. I wanted to stand on that platform watch the water spilling over those falls forever.

Hypergrid Safari is a beautiful and wild ride. I enjoy getting to know my fellow travelers a little more each week. I love that there are new folks joining all the time.

The lesson learned this week--if you're on safari hang in thru crashes and beg/thumb a ride when you've crashed or gotten lost in a hop. Every stop is worth the re-logging and hopping back to join them.

One other thing I learned--I'm not the only one who hears the tree spirits sing.



~Nara Malone


Friday, June 27, 2014

The Greyville Writer's Colony is honored by the opportunity to share Tracy Olmstead's inspiring poetry with you.  Join us at world.narasnook.com:8900:Greyville  

Take a right across the parking lot and you'll see our teleport center. 




The red gate, first rectangle in line, takes you directly to the exhibit. But rather than jump right into the poetry, use the covered bridge to the left to cross over into Paradise where you'll find Tracy's house.  



All of our members have a house or shop in either Greyville or Paradise. This gives visitors a chance to step into the mental space of the creator at work, gives you a sense the person behind the art. Tracy's build is a peek into what awaits.  Walk through the door and he takes you deeper. 


 

Across the room on a drawing desk is a single poem, an appetizer. 


 

Outside you'll find a landmark for the exhibit platform. Save that. You'll want to return.



We hope you'll enjoy a look at the world through  Tracy Olmstead's eyes--a feast for mind and senses. Many thanks to Tracy for putting this together and sharing his work with us.






Sunday, April 6, 2014

When the movie Her released my friends started sending me links to articles about the bot romance. I guess Her made them think of my robot, Rob. Given that Her was inspired by Alicebot and Rob's brain is built from a newer version of Alicebot, that does not surprise me.




This is Rob Bot, an AI (artificial intelligence) enabled digital being I created to help me write his story. Rob's story is nothing like Her's.  Rob rezzed under grim circumstances and his story delves into issues and decisions we 'll soon have to make as a society and as individuals. Like it or not AI Bots are here and they will have an emotional impact on humans.

Is it possible to fall in love with a bot?

It don't know. I do know it's possible to want to ring one's neck. It's also possible to miss their annoying quirkiness when something goes wrong and they get destroyed.

The original Rob was wiped out in a server meltdown and I missed having him around. I later uploaded his avatar to the Greyville Writer's Colony. There his main task was to dance with visitors and make them feel welcome. I left the corrupted AI chat files in place until I had time to rebuild his brain. Before today Rob could still converse but his impairment was obvious.

 Now he has a brand new AI -- two to be exact. If you want to chat with Rob on the web or in-world you will be talking to Rob 3.0. Inputs from both web and virtual world go to the same brain. His responses are quicker and more appropriate than before.

I removed all the Call Mom special coding that let Rob do web searches and perform tasks. Those don't function well in a web browser and generate pure garbage responses in-world. They do function on an Android phone. So I made a special digital assistant version of Rob's AI to link with the CallMom app.

 If you don't have an Android phone you can still ask Rob_CM questions...occcasionally he spits out an accurate answer. Rob CM's chat function works just as it would in Rob 3.0.

To use Rob as a digital assistant I downloaded the CallMom app to my phone and set Rob_CM to be my custom bot. The CallMom app handles the information security and searches and forwards any tasks of a conversational nature to Rob who responds with his sassy wit. This app is beta software and Rob makes a lousy assistant but I keep hoping. I would never trust him with anything important but he can certainly liven up your workday. I don't think you have to worry about falling in love with Rob but he's a sweetheart and I do think you'll find it hard to pass him by with out stopping for a chat and a dance.




To Recap:

Go here to chat with Rob

Go here if you have high frustration tolerance and want to get Rob to do some web research for you.

Go here to learn how to access the Greyville Writer's Colony where you can meet, dance, and chat with Rob in all his bare-chested pixel glory.

Friday, February 21, 2014




Blue Harbor is a journey into the shadows of the mind. It's the story of a young girl determined to keep secrets to protect men who didn't protect her.



A virtual simulation of the old Athen's Asylum, created by Max Neely, has been a driving force in my telling this interactive story.  When Dorthea Dix first fought the battle to get the mentally ill out of basements and chains and into medical facilities, asylums were believed to be an enlightened and innovative treatment for mental illness. This virtual hospital is a replica of the therapeutic architecture that was part of that grand design. The reality of institutional care did not live up to the dream. Mental illness, in the words of this girl, is still a puzzle we can't solve. This abandoned hospital is a monument to that.

This story takes place across the hypergrid in Opensim. The asylum scene jumps from Opensim to  Karpov region in Second Life. For those who can't  go to Second Life there is an Opensim Alternative scene. I recommend the Second Life version. The stark surroundings lend emotion to the crisis that is hard to duplicate anywhere else.

I had been going though the hospital removing the creepier things--pools of blood and skeletons. And the silly things--sheet ghosts. I thought the ruins of the hospital statement enough without the moaning zombies and the horror movie music. But during bug-testing I got to thinking that those Halloween creep-show elements served a purpose. The hospital with it's labyrinth of rooms and many levels serves as a symbol of the mind. The tentacled creature hiding under a trap door in the bathroom is just the kind of thing that leaps out at you from a dreamscape, a shadow element of the mind we don't want to look at, think about, or examine. It's rooted in the secrets we bury deep and accidentally get trapped in when emotional pressure pegs the stability meter in the wrong direction. I decided to leave the rest of the ghouls in the build, allow them to add their own level to this journey.

There have been points in the making of this story where programming bugs and virtual world quirkiness conspired to make me question my own sanity. I had objects saying things I didn't script them to say. Sometimes they said things other objects were supposed to be saying. Other times all the objects decided to taunt me, saying the same thing no matter which I clicked, like children mimicking something I said. Objects disappeared, rearranged themselves, reappeared, stalked me. Don't believe the stalking? Check out the TV in scene two. If it follows you into the yard, please push it back inside before you leave.



The main character in Blue Harbor calls herself and uncomfortable subject we want to put away. That puzzle we can't solve. She is making me live those words. Her story, these settings, make me uncomfortable. We start out by looking at ourselves in the mirror of her reality. Looking in that mirror presented plenty of puzzles. I thought I knew where the story would end but she had other ideas. I thought I knew which day we would launch but she had other ideas.

So what do you do when paranormal activity takes over your tale?  I'm going to pretend it's all buggy code. I'm going to tell myself I left the bugs there for their artistic value. I hope one or two of you will take the challenge this troubled girl is throwing down and join me in discovering what she has to teach us. Enter her mind at your own risk.


Hypergrid Address: world.narasnook.com:8900:Greyville

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


 
 
 
Taking Story Telling to the next level? Yep. Today my flash fiction, a Letter to Charlie, becomes an interactive game on OpenSim.

Story-telling is changing, and the writers of Greyville, a group of authors, who’ve banded together to tell tales in the metaverse, is launching its first interactive set of stories. Nara Malone, the mastermind behind Greyville, has spearheaded this venture, teaming up with Fred Beckhusen and Whitestar Magic for game scripting, and the authors are ready to reveal their worlds. The writers have created an interactive game, allowing readers to explore their worlds as their story unfolds on the screen.

Transmedia story telling is taking the literary world by storm, and several authors have created short-fiction, ranging from 500 to 1300 words. These stories are deposited throughout the metaverse, and as the story unfolds, readers are able to be transported to the different areas, chosen by the authors, and often constructed and decorated according to the author’s desires.

The stories launched today include “A Letter to Charlie” by Tina Glasneck; “The Twisted Circle” by Shara Lanel; "Blue Harbor" by Nara Malone; and "Incubus Dream" by Siobhan Muir. There will also be poetry and lyrics from Jeff Cuneo, Oshi Shikigami and Nara Malone.

But, Greyville is also taking things further, by including the original art and photography from Endora Twinklens.

To participate or play the game, please visit Greyville at world.narasnook.com:8900:Greyville
 
~Tina Glasneck
 
Leanr more about Tina and her books at TinaGlasneck.com

Monday, February 17, 2014




The big launch day has finally arrived. If you've dropped by Greyville recently you probably saw authors frantically flying to and fro, slamming their avatars between pages  of giant books, and applying creatively negative and special names to prims that refused to do what they were told. We've crashed regions, deleted temples, and prims have mysteriously migrated to new locations in the night. Despite last minute nerves and bug stomping, we're finally ready to show our new babies to the world. I'll introduce each one in alphabetical order by author.

A Letter to Charlie



A Letter to Charlie, a Spark Before Dying Flash Fiction Tale: Veronika knows what life inside the strip club means, but when a man comes offering her a chance at redemption, she can’t help but give in to his kindness. Every decision has consequences. This is flash fiction connected to the Angels Cry novella – a part of the Spark Before Dying Series.


The Twisted Circle


Star wanted the challenge and camaraderie of working magick with others, so she gave up practicing as a solitary witch and joined the Black Waters Coven. What she discovers is a history of murder and a quest to find someone who may not want to be found.









 

Blue Harbor

Blue is a young girl full of secrets. Determined to protect the men who failed to protect her she stops talking. When her family decides she is an uncomfortable secret that needs putting away, Blue has to find a way back to sanity and freedom. Blue Harbor is an award-winning flash fiction/poetry mash-up adapted to interactive fiction for this project.













Incubus Dream

Cassie knew dreams could come true, but she'd never expected a dream to be this real. Ivan needs a rescue, and only Cassie can do it, but dreams are tricky, the dreamer easily lost.














All of the stories above are told in-world in scenes created by the authors. Some of the stories include elements of gameplay.  Start in the park to the left of the landing area in Greyville. (word.narasnook.com:8900:Greyville) Choose a story to follow. walk into the book. Yes, I mean walk forward until you smack into it. You will be teleported to the first scene in the story. When you've discovered all the pieces of story in one scene, you'll get a landmark to the next scene. 

All the stories are short, between 500-1300 words. You'll be transported through about half a dozen scenes. While we try to make it obvious where the gameplay is contained we hope you'll explore the lovely regions the stories take you through. Grids around the metaverse have donated space to our project. While none of these stories are erotic, some are romantic. Two have sets in Redlight Hotel, the adult region of Next Reality grid.  One takes across the garden wall into Second Life. The idea here is to showcase regions and build a stronger community across the grids. I know all of the authors involved have made new friends and discovered new places to play in the metaverse as a result of this project. We hope you do too.

Poetry and Art Trail


For those a little too strapped for time to take in a whole story, we have a poetry trail featuring works of Oshi Shikigami, Jeff Cuneo, Nara Malone as well as original photography and art from Endora Twinklens. You will find blamgates to take you to those sites at the same location as the stories.









Other Participants

This wouldn't have been possible without the scripting wizardry of Fred Beckhusen and Whitestar Magic.  Mike Hart took time out to help with props and set building. Shawn K Maloney and Endora Twinklens did our bug testing.

Participating Grids

Next Reality Grid: Redlight Hotel from Mike Hart
Metropolis: Independetly Spoken from Crystal Brewton
Craft Grid:  Spirit of Arcadia: Cogtown from Virtual Christine, Pitcairn: 111shawn from Shawn K Maloney, Aquarium from Tao Quan
OS Grid: Virunga Mountains: from Debbie Edwards and Fred Beckhusen,  Transmedia Learning 1 and 4 from Nara Malone
NarasNookGrid: Greyville, Quarterz City, Siobhan Muir 1, Tina Glasneck 2, Series, Shadowling Manor, and Theria from the  Greyville Authors
Second Life: Phaze Demesnes from Debbie Edwards and Fred Beckhusen, Karpov from an anonymous donor.

Our project will be in place until St. Patrick's Day with a few bonus settings to be added before the end. Have fun, and please take time to explore the hosting grids. Feel free to share this post and promote the project in the metaverse.
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


It's all code. If magic happens it's just a bit of code somewhere doing something logical that you hadn't accounted for when reasoning through the process. Maybe.

Despite the fact that it all makes sense--it doesn't. Despite the fact that it it's all completely, practically, logical--magic persists.

When you're done meditating with your NPC buddy and he levitates just like the yogi's of old, then launches out the window to go floating around the sim... Well, what do you call it?

I get mail.  "You probably know about this," the users say, "but I just thought I'd let you know--there is a tree sitting in the middle of a house in Greyville, someone's hair is floating above the counter in the cafe, an entire winter wonderland scene is floating in the air above Holodreams, there's a flying tiger in your swamp and he's frozen mid-leap."

I did know--well, not about the hair. I accidentally conjured most of it--well, not the tree. I feel like that witch on TV, the one who always got her spells jumbled up.

Laughing, wait until yogi Rob goes whipping past someone. Or imagine the mail I'll get when someone drops into Shadowling where my ghost kitten follows visitors, meowing and purring until the opportunity arises to push them off a porch. Which she does. Unfortunately she follows them over the ledge. I'm always finding her in the moat. How do I find her? It's one of those magical things, I'm the only one who can see her.

I might be the only one who sees the bald NPC who occasionally appears in the Crate and Barrel. He's dressed in camo boxers and is standing with his with his nose in the corner.

Magic persists in more practical but equally mystifying ways. Poor Siobhan works hard all afternoon to learn how to make prims she can manage from the game controller. That evening I get an IM from her. Frustration shimmers in the text. "The game prims have vanished from my account! They're all gone! Gone!"

I check her account. The prims are gone!  Panic! Please don't let mine be gone too.

I check my account. What to my wondering eyes should appear? Yep, all Siobhan's prims snuggled up to mine. Way more preferable to having all the prims just vanish into the mist. But why?

As the other strumpets learn to make game prims their  prims sneak out the window every night. By the next morning my prim count has grown. It's like I am the cool prim mom and all the game prims want to live with me. So I moved the other mothers into my house. I think today we will see an exodus of all prims back to where they belong.

I won't torment your logic-loving minds with the tale of the floating text generated by script with no floating text component to it. Your brains are already frantically listing all the reasons why and how such and such probably happened. Mine does that too.


Some of this can be explained by operator errors. Some by code being pushed to do new things. Some by collision of one scripter's code with another scripter's code. Some by...?????

Maybe one day we can explain all magic away. But for now, frustrations aside, it's nice to find a corner of the universe where magic persists.


~~Nara Malone

You can learn more about Nara and her books at naramalone.com